Rhythm and Bruises
We were really relieved when San Juan’s Los Vigilantes won our Artist of the Week competition. Not only does this hardworking band of garage punks deserve all the love they get, but now we can be reasonably certain that no one is going to get hurt. But, seriously though, they’re a great band, with aggressive garage rock chops in the vein of Davila 666, another group from Puerto Rico that once borrowed member Jorge Mundo to play guitar on their album and one European tour.
To celebrate their win Javier, Jorge, Pepe and Rafa chopped it with us in this interview. We learned about their diverse musical tastes, their Japanese single and some other stuff we hope they’re joking about! Congrats, guys!
You beat out some tough competition from around the world to be our artist of the week. How does it feel to see that kind of support from your fans?
Javier: Yeah we better have their support after all those death threats we sent. Their family members will be returned to them shortly.
What’s the latest on Puerto Rico’s garage rock scene? We know Jorge has played with Davila 666. Are there more bands we should know about?
Jorge: Yeah there are more bands you should know about Ardillas, Carie, Fantasmes, Lopo Drido, Diente Perro and Napolnariz which is Javier’s first band. They’re not “garage” or whatever but they’re good and you should know about ‘em.
Your live show can be pretty intense. How do you get amped to play like that?
Javier: We have a ritual consisting of dead chickens (usually a bucket of fried chicken) and Play-Doh we must must perform before the shows.
We love rockabilly and doo-wop vibes on your debut album. Are you all into super old stuff like that or do you have really different tastes from each other?
Jorge: We have extremely different tastes from each other. Rafa loves hardcore (duh) along with old funk, cumbia, hip-hop and old Brazil bossa among other things. Pepe loves Madonna, Hall & Oates, Michael Jackson, all in all he loves pop. Javier loves La Nueva Ola Española Eskorbuto, Ana Curra, Alsaka pretty much the ’80s rock and punk movement in Spain.
And I love Slayer, Venom, Howlin’ Wolf, Son House, John Lee Hooker, Rev. Gary Davis and pretty much anything by Phil Spector. Our common grounds are probably the Beach Boys, The Stones, The Beatles, Eskorbuto and the Ramones.
Do you draw on any older music from Puerto Rico that we might not be hip to?
Javier: Julio Angel y Tammy, Lucesita Benitez, The Final Solution, The MD’s, Wiso G y el filosofo del rap Vico C. Obviously Ismael Rivera, Hector Lavoe, Frankie Ruiz etc. Chayanne’s song “Tu Pirata Soy Yo” was a huge influence on us.
What has it been like touring Europe and the US?
Jorge: It’s been great, we’ve met a lot of amazing people on the way. That’s the best part of touring really, getting to know all these great people along the way. Not to mention all the weird shit we see on the way to places.
What is the best thing about life in San Juan?
Javier: Tranny’s in la 15, cheap anything, and by anything we mean anything! Our friends.
How does Rafa play drums in both Los Vigilantes and the Colombian hardcore band Exigencia? How often does Exigencia play?
Rafa: Exigencia doesn’t play anymore. We did a reunion show a few months back, but that’s it for now.
You sing in Spanish but we heard you are releasing a 7 inch with lyrics in Japanese. Would you like to tell us a little bit more about that?
Pepe: Yeah, Ricardo Vilaro AKA Ricky Tony, who is an integral part of Los Vigilantes moved to Japan about a year and a half ago, speaks fluent Japanese so, he took one of his songs from the record “Me Imagino” and made a Japanese version of it. The other side of the 7 inch is an unreleased Vigilantes song by Ricky also in Japanese.
While we’re on the subject of lyrics, what Los Vigilantes song has your favorite lyrics and what is it about?
Javier: What kind of a question is that? That’s like asking a parent what their favorite kid is. But if I had to choose it would be one of the ooooh wah wah wah oooohs
Now that you’ve conquered MTV Iggy, what is your next big move?
Jorge: We’ve already started to work on our second LP, which will be out sometime late in the year. Other than, that Total World Domination would be the next thing in the agenda. Maybe conquer VH-1.