Manic Hispanic: ¡Pinche Punks!

Two decades of the greatest cult band (and Mexicans) in Orange County history

A fan passes by. "You guys don't dress like that every day?" he asks. The guys just laugh.

Everything is back to normal since Gaborno's stroke—back to the parenting, back to the jobs, back to this sweet release. Manic are writing songs again, preparing to record another album. They have eased into the role of veteranos of the OC punk scene. "When we started this band, we were kids," Rivera says. "Now, I have teens. My daughter is in the front row of the show. There are kids who know only our version and not the originals."

"Showing up to practices is like salvation for us," says Soto. "In the early days, we were all in bands. Now, everyone has families and careers. But maybe that's why we've stuck around for so long and still like one another."

Back row (left to right): Lujan, Soto, Renfrow; front row: Torres, Rivera, Gaborno, Schultz
John Gilhooley
Back row (left to right): Lujan, Soto, Renfrow; front row: Torres, Rivera, Gaborno, Schultz
“When other people try to write social commentary about us, I just laugh,” says Torres. “Everyone tries to be so political and righteous for the cause. it's just a funny song.”
John Gilhooley
“When other people try to write social commentary about us, I just laugh,” says Torres. “Everyone tries to be so political and righteous for the cause. it's just a funny song.”

Location Info

Map

The Observatory

3503 S. Harbor Blvd.
Santa Ana, CA 92704

Category: Music Venues

Region: Santa Ana

Details

Manic Hispanic perform with CJ Ramone, CH3 and the Henchmen at the Observatory, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600; www.observatoryoc.com. Sun., 8 p.m. $17. All ages.

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Cars stop to gape. Actual cholos literally rub their eyes in admiration. Gaborno is two hours late ("Gabby has a new drug," Torres says proudly. "Burritos"), prompting the photographer to wonder if maybe they should reschedule. "Two union guys, taking the day off for a photo shoot?" Lujan snaps. "NAH!"

Finally, Gaborno shows up, as impish as ever. He was at Leisure World Seal Beach, listening to a roots band, and forgot about the shoot. Now, everyone leans like a cholo, glowers like punks. And then, just five minutes into it, with no prompting whatsoever, they all hum in unison "El Jarabe Tapatio," the legendary Mexican song better known stateside as "The Mexican Hat Dance." Simple, effortless, natural. Mexican. American. Orange County to the core, ese.

"I would like to give you some righteous explanation of what we mean, but ultimately, it's so much fun," says Gaborno, trying to explain Manic's ultimate legacy.

Renfrow is more prosaic. "Some guys golf on the weekends; some guys sit around and watch sports," he says. "Me? I play music with my friends."

 

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23 comments
kartik.bharadwa
kartik.bharadwa

Saw the Cadillac Tramps in Calgary, Alberta Canada many years ago, maybe 1994?  Then I saw them in Lethbridge, Alberta at the University and met Gabby as well as Johnny Two Bags who plays in Social D now.  Great band and I was heartbroken when they broke up until I heard Gabby singing away in Manic.  Manic is one of the greatest bands of all time and Gabby is arguably the greatest front man of all time.  They really should make a movie about him.  Thanks for the great write-up and I can't help but think that there might be a new MH record soon....  

Roger Maxim
Roger Maxim

Been to a few of their shows .. not bad for a Gringo!

gallo_negro
gallo_negro

I love these guys.  Reminds me of being one of the only white kids in my elementary school and having my friends teach me all the Spanish curse words.  Oh, and A Flock of Goo Goo is pretty damn awesome as well.

powergroup
powergroup

Fantastic article man - great detail of OC mexpunk scene and more.  You can go Chavez, or you can go Cheech haha.  I'm looking forward to reading more of your stuff, you clearly get inside, connect and write it well.  Best read I've had in weeks.

char0110
char0110

D.I. was and still is better but it's too bad that Casey Royer kept getting in trouble with the law. But we all hate the laws that weren't written for us anyway and they say that ignorance of the laws is no excuse, if that ain't a bunch of BS I don't know what is. If you don't know about it then how can you follow it?

punxloser
punxloser

Great article!!! Manic Hispanic is a great band, and a pride for the  punk rock scene!! Felicidades a Gustavo Arellano, un saludo desde Tenochtitlán (Mexico City)

Minerva Magdalena
Minerva Magdalena

Gustavo? Y Estoy es que? If anything I'll give the band an A+ for Really Catchy Titles but, an F- for Sucky Music/Lame Lyrics. If their was Intelligence behind the Titles it would be worth Listening.

Jerry Vazquez
Jerry Vazquez

Never heard of them I grew up listening to El Tri! just listened to I want to be a culero ooops i mean a cholo. Cool orale like it.

C-Zar Jaime
C-Zar Jaime

I want to be a cholo! A cholo?....simoooon!

Anne Bagasao
Anne Bagasao

I would love to see them play The Vex in ELA. Bring it home!

David Gallardo
David Gallardo

My ringtone is "Creeper Is A Lowrider". I love it!

Damion Ramirez
Damion Ramirez

"if the vatos are united, they will never be divided!" orale!!!

jmcguinness
jmcguinness

My favorite OC Band live (back when I went out). Love that they rework songs by bands like The Damned that are ignored in some circles. My students request Rudy Cholo often. Thanks for the great article.

 

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