THE SUGAR RAY WATCH
The downward spiral continues: the band's next local date will be at A Taste of Newport on Sept. 20, appearing between a Neil Diamond tribute act the day before and whatever's left of the Beach Boys the day after. And they're being "presented by" far-from-hip radio station KBIG, which—format changes or not—was infamously known for spinning what us kids on the playground used to call "dentist's office music." Meanwhile, through their website, you can purchase a pair of baby blue Sugar Ray panties for $15. No word if, like Mark McGrath's finger, they too smell like Madonna . . . (Rich Kane)
EL PIPORRO, THE
Mexico lost one of its most influential rockero voices on September 1 with the death of Eulalio González—better known as "El Piporro"—at the age of 82. He was never a grimy rockero himself: originally gaining fame as a film and radio actor during the early 1950s in musicals alongside Época de Oro icons Pedro Infante and Rosa del Castillo, El Piporro remained faithful to the strummed structures of Mexican regional music. But El Piporro nevertheless influenced the entirety of Mexico's rockero movement with this apparently inoffensive formula: He would add his own stanzas to classic Mexican corridos like "Ojo de Vidrio" and "Rosita Alvírez" so that the staid standards transformed into wickedly bawdy sagas ripe with innuendo. Such an irreverent attitude toward sacrosanct Mexican song forever endeared the Nuevo León to the Mexican underground, and El Piporro's compositions during the '60s—focusing on the then-novel concept of Mexicans migrating to the United States—were pioneers in introducing politics into Mexican entertainment. One of the best, "Chulas Fronteras del Norte" ("Beautiful Northern Borders") found El Piporro escaping la migra by getting an INS officer plastered on tequila. El Piporro's anarchistic humor and whiplash delivery still resonate in the musical styling of Mexican rockeros such as Elfego Buendía of Café Tacuba, all the El Gran Silencio members, and Roco of Maldita Vecindad: the latter, in fact, praised El Piporro in a 1989 LA Weekly article—one of the first pieces on the movement published in the United States—as one of the architects of rock en español. (Gustavo Arellano)
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