Thee Commons Are an East LA Rarity With Their Psychedelic Cumbia-Rock Sound

Thee Commons and thee cactus!
Thee Commons and thee cactus!

Thee Commons are living proof that the creative musical soil of East Los Angeles is still richly fertile. Bands have emerged from its epicenter for decades reshaping the sounds of each coming generation. Brothers David and Rene Pacheco are making sure that new groups can still catch a buzz by offering up an energetic blend of cumbia, pysch and rock. Inspired by a tireless work ethic, Thee Commons are making their mark on the scene in the short time they've been together.

"What makes us a little different is that we are a three-piece," vocalist/guitarist David Pacheco tells the Weekly. "We've learned to embrace it because antes we were trying really hard to fit in to that traditional cumbia sound."

The sonic experiment started when the brothers formed the group in 2012 after Pacheco had an epiphany courtesy of "Mi Cucu" by legendary group La Sonora Dinamita. "There's a breakdown where it goes into a 12-part blues, very rock 'n' roll style, with a horn section," he says. "It's like the clouds parted and the gods said 'let there be cumbia-punk!'"

Thee Commons, with Rene on the drums and rotating bassists, also took notice of what up-and-coming bands from around their neighborhood were doing. "We began around the same time we started listening to bands coming out of Boyle Heights," says Pacheco. "They embraced the cumbia sound."

La Santa Cecilia rode the wave all the way to Grammy success. Viento Callejero mixes it up with the psychedelic licks of Gloria Estrada's guitar. Buyepongo and La Chamba all revel in rhythm. Thee Commons wanted to be rooted in that, too, but knew they could do things differently when the brothers caught an impromptu show by the Kumbia Queers in Boyle Heights. The Mexican-Argentinian band blew them away with their embrace of both cumbia and punk.

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The Pacheco brothers share a love the Doors and Pink Floyd and decided to infuse psychedelia into the mix, too. They even put in some surf rock influences to complete the diverse but complimentary sounds that get the dance floor moving. The only thing left to do? Spread the sonic gospel.

Like the hard working Mexicans they are, Thee Commons cranked out the EPs, eight to be exact...since 2014! "It was a way for us to stay creative," Pacheco says. They mixed originals, cover songs and even a radio novela throughout. Earlier this year, they took the best songs from each and compiled Rock is Dead: Long Live Paper and Scissors, the band's first full-length album that Burger Records is going to put out on tape.

The dedication and innovation is paying off with Thee Commons creating a little buzz for themselves. Infectious live shows, like the one they'll be offering up Saturday at Música en Movimiento in downtown SanTana, are definitely part of the equation.

"We're very energetic on stage having spasm attacks," Pacheco says. "We embrace that youthful angst!"

Thee Commons perform with Reverie and more as part of Música en Movimiento at El Centro Cultural de Mexico, 313 N. Birch St., Santa Ana, Sat., 12 p.m. - 9 p.m. $5 suggested donation. All ages! See also 10 Punk Albums to Listen to Before You Die 10 Goriest Album Covers 10 Most Satanic Metal Bands

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