Wars We Can Live With...And Dance To

The SATISFACTION Band keeps the spirit of musical competition alive

By Frankie Firme
Published on LatinoLA: April 4, 2006

Wars We Can Live With...And Dance To

?Orale! I thought this title might get your attention. We've been hearing so much about protests, fights, violence, inequalities, racism, etc, etc,....but that's not all what we're about here at LatinoLA, although we do serve up the word to the people, regardless of the taste it might leave in some people's mouth..

I decided to serve up some other words today. Something more flavorful than some of the negative reality we are destined to endure, swallow, and digest.

If you were looking for more political chisme in this piece...log off now! This one isn't going there today...but stick around if you wish to be enlightened about a different kind of "war"...

The wars I'm talking about here focus on the musical talent of my people de Aztlan, and brings back to mind the tradition of song and dance that unites our people, bonds us through good times and bad, and instills a sense of pride in our uniqueness as a people as portrayed by our artists...and keeps us from feeding on each other like other tribes on the planet.

The wars for peace...the wars for good times...the wars for laughter and love...the wars for popular audience participation...the wars we can all safely survive and talk about about...the wars we want to return to again and again...the battles that are a sheer exibition of talent, energy, and artistic expression among our people...the battles where the only casualty is when they end...and no politicall objectives matter!

...I'm talking West Coast style, Chicano music inspired, "Battles of the Bands".

A tradition that officially began in Los Angeles in the mid 1960's, when English language West Coast Chicano music virtually exploded into national attention. Talented groups trying to imitate the popularity of early girl-attracting groups like The Beatles performed in tandem for the benefit of the audience, with the "winners" being determined by virtue of who filled the dance floor more, who drew a bigger crowd, and who's crowd made the most noise.(My criteria was who attracted the prettiest girls!)

The early Battles of the Bands were exciting events to go to, as the advances in Rock & Roll music, accompanied by the advances in electric guitars, basses, keyboards, and P.A. systems that could amplify horns, voices and percussion, made the sounds of music blossum to accomodate large audiences that didn't have to crowd stages to hear good sound. From this early phenomena probably grew the concept of stadium size concerts, which have become the norm in almost every major U.S. city since the early 1970's.

The Battles of the Bands also served to introduce different "tribes" to each other, in a social exercise unbeknowest to the tribes at the time. Usually supported by fans from their local high school, car club, or neighborhood, every town had their local music group. The local group was almost always expected to represent their town when introduced on stage. Everybody dressed up, and everybody looked good!

At venues like the El Monte Legion Stadium, The Big & Little Union Halls, The Hollywood Paladium Teen Age Fairs, The Montebello Inn, The Pasta House, The Montebello Ballroom, The Shrine Auditorium, The Rainbow Gardens, the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, the Riverside Civic Auditorium, East L.A. College, and T.V. music shows like American Bandstand, Hullabaloo, Shindig, 9th Street West, and Huggie Boy, was where the groups and their followings hoped to show up and be noticed, and was where they met their counterparts from other towns, in situations that their otherwise everyday lives would not have provided for. Traveling to other towns "for the music" was just a great excuse to travel when you were young.....remember?

Cruising had more than one purpose back then, homie...I can attest to that!

The "Battles" consisted of 2 or more groups being on the same bill, on the same night, at the same venue, with plenty of advance notice, so everybody had time to pass the word, and prepare for a great night of entertainment, dancing, and merry making...and possibly meeting new people. People dressed up and looked good. Each group being aware that the other had brought a supportive audience of their own, the object of the "battle" was to outperform the other, and win over the other group's audience, while representing and retaining their own. This lead to sometimes outrageous, always exciting, and memorable performances, all for the sheer enjoyment of the audiences, who always got more than their money's worth. The most popular of the night was called back on stage for a closing encore, or all perfomers combined for a finale. It was something to see back then. Everybody won.

There were no losers....just one winner bigger than the others.

Keeping that spirit and tradition alive today is one of L.A.'s most popular Chicano groups, that, in the spirit of truly performing, love "to battle", the SATISFACTION Band.

Taking a cue from the earlier times that brought Gente out of the woodwork for some good times, SATISFACTION has performed alongside (or should we say gone to battle with) such L.A. heavies as THE EAST L.A. REVUE ALL STAR BAND, SANGRIA, THE COMPANY BAND, ROSE ROYCE, and most recently, the #1 Chicano Music group of Los Angeles, TIERRA, who have brought back Steve Salas. The "battles" have all resulted in packed houses, and audiences have all scored on high energy, dynamic performances.

Having survived these L.A. skirmishes with the benefits of love from the Gente, the SATISFACTION Band now turn their battlesights north...to the #1 Chicano Music group from the San Francisco Bay Area...MALO... and they have accepted the challenge...

Talk about a HEAVY!! Talk about a BATTLE!! MALO vs SATISFACTION !!

Having determined nuetral territory to be Original Mike's in Santa Ana, California, the musical combat action starts at 8:oopm, Saturday, April 15, 2006.

Both groups cordially invite you to bring your best date, your sturdiest dancing chanclas, and to put on your finest steppin' out ropa, because IT'S ON!!!!!!!

...and LatinoLA will be there to bring you the full story...after the dust settles, of course!

Note: for tickets & information: (323)440-9973 www.satisfactionband.com or www.originalmikes.com

(There's a rumor SATISFACTION may take on the Susie Hansen Band after this....a ver!)

And tell 'em you heard it from Frankie Firme & LatinoLA.com !!

About Frankie Firme:
Frankie Firme's website: www.frankiefirme.50megs.com

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