Gustavo note: Back in 2008, I interviewed Louie Perez of Los Lobos for a gig he was doing alongside fellow wolf David Hidalgo. We struck up a friendship since then that mostly consists of me taking him to hole-in-the-wall restaurants in OC, given he's a big foodie and has lived in OC now for almost 20 years.
Louie proved such a great quote-maker that I had a bunch of leftover quotes that didn't make it into the story. So here they are, for your perusal, as Los Lobos prepare to storm the Observatory this Saturday alongside X, Buzzcocks, the Blasters and more at the Bang Festival. Enjoy!
On the first time he ate in Anaheim Hills: "I went to Esperanza Burgers, and I saw a photo of white guys on horses with baseball bats. I started getting freaked out until realizing it was the Esperanza High baseball team and that Yorba Linda and Anaheim Hills has a lot of people who own horses. I had to tell myself, 'Louie don't get so fucking paranoid about things.'" About living in Laguna Niguel during the early 1990s: "One time, I was in the front lawn pulling weeds, and a lady pulled up in a BMW. She looked at me and asked, 'Is the lady of the house here?' 'Yea, go right in,' I said. 20 minutes later, she left and almost ran past me because she was so embarrassed."
More Laguna Nigue: "We moved into a tract community. I bought an old car and left it in the driveway. It drove the neighbors crazy. Meanwhile, the Ralph's nearby had a valet. It drove us crazy."
About the Orange County audiences at Los Lobos shows: The reception is a little bit more reserved. It's the only way I can define it--it's not a bad thing. We do the House of Blues in Hollywood, and you get that urban ardiente. Here, it's more laid back, it's subdued. They're more relaxed about things." Learning about Orange County's geographic zones: "I went from Whittier to South County to North County. I didn't know nothing about North County. When you live in South County, you can completely disassociate with North County. I didn't know nothing where anything was when moving to Yorba Linda--I'm still learning.
About discovering SanTana: "When i ended up in Santa Ana one time, I had never been to the mexicanada--it was a trip. Someone from the Orange County Register told me to try El Gallo Giro. I came to the red light on Bristol just before El Gallo Giro, and i just about expected chickens to come crossing the street. It was great. And then if you hang on bristol, you go from Mexico to South Coast Plaza in a couple of miles--it's just amazing! Later on, I read that that Santa Ana is the largest population of mexicanos in the us. I was aware of Santa Ana because when I was in Laguna Beach, everyone that worked in Laguna Beach--mezeros, cooks, cleaning ladies--Santa Ana.
On meeting Mexicans in Laguna Beach: I lived just before Emerald Bay. Right across was a Circle K. One day, I went in the middle of the day, and there was a group of mexicanas sitting on a planter and eating their lunch. I went up to them and asked '¿Porque estan comiendo su lonche aquí? Why not at the beach?' and I pointed to the ocean. 'Es porqué la playa es por los ricos,' she replied. I looked at her and said, The beach belongs to everybody.' That reaffirmed that there is some divisions between the mexicanos and whites in Orange County."
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About living in Orange County: "I always lived in places where I'm not supposed to live. All the neighbors wherever I've lived tend to look and say, 'Hey, who is this guy?' My job is to educate them that Mexicans don't carry bandannas and switchblades all the time--just some of the time."
Los Lobos perform at the Bang Festival this Saturday, Sep. 20 at the Observatory. Starts at 12 p.m. All ages, $35. For full lineup and info, click here.