When it comes to making us all laugh through stand-up, Carlos Mencia has clearly mastered the art. All of the “ha-ha's” aside, Mencia also happens to be well versed in the world of knowing his “shit” when it comes to music. Since over here at the Weekly we happen to be big fans of music (duh) and we're also big fans of Carlos, we used his upcoming weekend gig at the Irvine Improv (Oct 10th through 13th) to find out what exactly inspired him musically when he was coming up. Turns out, his taste is as eclectic as it comes. Well done sir!
5- Earth Wind and Fire- September
Earth Wind and Fire sang a song called “September” and for some reason, I used to listen to this song over and over again. It was on the B-side of a 45 record, and I don't even remember what was on the A-side! I just love the song “September.” The B-side of 45's back in the day is basically what Pandora is now. You'd listen to the A-side and flip it over in hopes that you'd like the B-side. It just so happened that “September” was one song that I remember just listening to over and over and over again. I even remember the way the paper's artwork looked on the sleeve that held the 45. It was a bright yellow and a faded red with a sun kind of half way coming out of the back. Wow. I still remember that.
4- The Beatles- 1
One of my biggest influences growing up was The Beatles, and it really wasn't any specific song with them. If I was asked to only have one album, and not a playlist or a bunch of songs mixed together, it would be The Beatles “1.” It is all of their number one songs. What I love about “1” is that it goes through so many different genres of music, even for them. It's just astounding to me. So whether it was “Yesterday,” “She Love You,” or “Yellow Submarine,” I really couldn't pick one. The Beatles throughout my childhood were just so influential.
3- Los Pobres Niño's/ La Sirena
The Honduran song that I remember from when I was a kid was “Los Pobres Niño's.” It has lyrics like, “Why would you let a kid be born into sickness and poverty? Please God listen to me. Don't just give them bread but give them love because nobody looks out for these kids. These kids don't have a mother or father. Why would you let them be born without a mother and father?” [Laughs.] I was a little kid and I'd be crying! It was such a sad song! That's the song you listen to while you're cutting yourself! [Laughs.] It was so, so bad. But then, this was this other song that was called, “La Sirena” which they would always play back to back with this song. And La Sirena, or The Mermaid, was literally a song about a man that was in love with a mermaid! It was happy, singy-songy, there was no negativity to it, and it was just awesome! But they would always play it right after the other one. I guess just to curse you and then make you feel happy. Like, there's a guy who loves a mermaid and they have little mer-children! It was a really bad mix. [Laughs.]
2- The Tokens- The Lion Sleeps Tonight
I loved this song when I was a kid…I know, I know. [Laughs.] That was the A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh song. For me, I really liked it because back in the day it was a very different type of song. They didn't have songs like this that were very acapella-ish. I remember hating this song at first and then somehow, I knew all of the words to it. It's like pop music because you begin hating it because the song is so annoying and then, you end up liking it.
1- The Archies- Sugar Sugar
Growing up I would say that the first song that I ever remember was Sugar Sugar. It's the one that goes, “Sugar, ahhhhh honey honey.” My mom says that I used to sing this song as a kid and they would play it on a 45 record. That's how old I am! They would play it over and over for me and I would just sing and dance. I don't ever remember wanting to be an attention whore but my mom said that was the first time she saw me and was like, you enjoy the attention as long as you are doing something that you enjoy. I think it was that if what I was doing got me some attention, it would make me better at it. When I started singing Sugar Sugar, she noticed that.
Catch Carlos Mencia at the Irvine Improv October 10th through 13th, 71 Fortune Drive Irvine, CA 92618, (949) 854-5455. For tickets go to www.Improv.com. For upcoming dates check out his website www.CarlosMencia.com and follow him on Twitter @CarlosMencia.