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"You can't base a career out of making money," says González. "It's important, of course, and we're still in the middle of figuring out how to balance our vision with that reality. But our culture reduces artists to a dollar bill, and that's not fair. The reality is, we were making ourselves unhappy trying to please others on the tour."
Instead of touring nationally for the moment, then, González and Flores are stressing the importance of helping local musicians and groups first. "How many millions live in LA?" adds González. "Have we played for all of them? No! So we have a lot of work to do."
And this is what Quetzal considers success: being the Greek chorus of Southern California, helping the helpless, creating and living music that mollifies the harshness of the world for others.
"We don't get much publicity from labels and radio—not because our music is too difficult; it's our adamant refusal to lick the floor and dance like monkeys for millions," Flores smiles. "If we wanted to, we can totally do that. But we're not going to knock on any doors, because we don't believe in that. We're going to build our own doors, and let everybody in."
Quetzal perform with Mono Blanco at Casa Santa Fe, 1000 E. Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 953-9305. Sat., 7 p.m. $20. All ages.