What would happen to a young Mexican American musician, who decades ago, was brought up with traditional Mariachi music, but in his teens discovered bands like Black Sabbath and the heroes of hard rock and heavy metal?
This is where the concept for Metalachi was born, in the in the 1990s. Struggling with opposing musical genres, the band gave birth to an innovative new sound: the fusion of traditional Mexican Mariachi folk music, and the loud, wild, sleazy and decadent vibes of heavy metal.
Metalachi had been blowing minds and bursting ear drums, all with a high level of musicianship, showmanship, creativity, and tongue-in-cheek humor. With heavy roots in Mexican culture, the band spends most of its time on the road, breaking down musical and cultural barriers one concert at a time. Lead singer Vega De La Rocka took time to speak with the Weekly ahead of their upcoming shows at House of Blues Anaheim.
OC Weekly: How did you come up with the concept to mix Mariachi music and Heavy Metal?
Vega De La Rocka: Growing up in East LA, I was always around both genres, especially Mariachi music, from a young age, because of the Mexican background in my family. We were always exposed to this music, it was always around us. Later on, the same thing with metal. We loved both styles. So we decided to do something different. By starting a band with our own sound, and our own instruments, which is all we could afford at the time.
Does any other band out their do what you do, or sound like you guys?
As far as we know, we are the only ones. There are no other bands with Mariachi and metal music. Some bands coming out might mix some in Rock en Espanol, or others types, and might have something a bit similar, but no one else out there does what we do.
How do you pick what songs to play?
We usually play songs that everyone knows. Songs that are hard rock, and heavy metal anthems, where people can sing along too. People almost always love our songs, and receive them pretty well. We get good feedback. Some of the artists we chose to play songs from include Judas Priest, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, Guns n Roses, Metallica, Ozzy, Pantera, and we even started doing KISS.
Ever have any legal trouble, or have any artists gone after you for playing their songs?
We try to cover our asses and our management does a good job of helping us out with that. Beforehand, we have to take care of all that stuff. Ahead of time, there are different things we need, like permission to perform and record these songs. So far we haven't gotten into any legal problems. And, we've had the drummers from Slayer, Dave Lombardo and Pantera, Vinnie Paul come to our shows, and tell us they support what we do with our musical concept.
How important is Mariachi music to the Mexican culture?
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
It's extremely important. It is the soul and heart of Mexico. But not only in Mexico, it goes beyond borders now, to Columbia, Peru and other parts of South America. The music is traditional for Mexicans and really defines who we are.
Was Heavy Metal music always been big in the Mexican culture?
I think it might be bigger today than it ever was. It's always been huge down there from the late '70s. You can go see Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth, the Big 4, and in places like Mexico City, there are tens of thousands of fans, if no more. Mexicans have always loved bands like Ozzy, Queen, Iron Maiden, KISS, Rush, Metallica, and many more. The metal scene all over the country is amazing. It's woven into the culture.
Metalachi performs in the Parish Room at House of Blues Anaheim, 400 Disney Way #337, Anaheim, www.houseofblues.com/anaheim, Fri. Nov. 24, 8 p.m. $15. All ages.