Amoeba Records sponsored the Concerts On The Pier
in Santa Monica that happened every Thursday during the months of July & August. Included in the series were Patti Smith, Plena Libre, Arrested Development
and Junior Murvin
, just to name a few. The series ended last Thursday with East L.A. heroes Los Lobos
. Many of us that work at Amoeba volunteered to work at the Amoeba Booth that was to the left of the stage. We sold CD’s and T-Shirts and gave away discount coupons and various Amoeba swag. It was a great way to get away from the heat of Hollywood and work outdoors in the cool ocean breeze. Plus, there was the music! Los Lobos is one of my favorite bands, dating back to 1983 when I first heard "…And a Time to Dance
." That night Los Lobos played many of my favorites, including "La Pistola y la Corazon," "Saint Behind The Glass," "Mas Y Mas," "Cumbia de la Raza," "Don’t Worry, Baby" and a volley of cover tunes such as "Cinnamon Girl," "Let’s Go," "Volver, Volver" and of course, "La Bamba."
The influence Los Lobos had on me when I was a kid was phenomenal. Back then to hear a band play Mexican music and rock on the same album was foreign to me. The Latin Rock artists at the time sounded more like bands from England then from their own country and it was understandable. When Rock music was still rebellious in America, it was even more so everywhere else. Most bands that sounded like their Anglo counter parts did it because they were tired of their parent’s culture being forced on them. Why would they want to play Mariachi, Corridos or Baladas? That was their parents' music. In the eighties, to sound like The Police was rebellious and for the young Latin Rock bands it was their own culture. With Los Lobos, both rock music and Mexican music was their culture. It was the first time I realized you could like both and not feel embarrassed by the other.
Side note: Los Lobos went to #1 on the Billboard charts with their version of “La Bamba.” Can you name two other Chicano artists to score #1 hit singles?