Bands often leave their hometown for greener pastures, but Tristeza left town because of their lack of green.

"It's sad when a practice room costs the same as an apartment," says Tristeza drummer James Lehner. "We couldn't do it anymore. It was too hard. Plus, being on tour a lot, you have to worry about your own rent and then worry about your practice-space rent."

So, the three core members -- Lehner, Christopher Sprague, and Luis Hermosillo -- scattered: Lehner moved to Michigan, Sprague lives in Oakland, and Hermosillo moved to Tijuana's Las Playas neighborhood. Hermosillo was the first to go, so while Lehner and Sprague were still in San Diego, the band used a spare bedroom in Hermosillo's Tijuana house to practice and record tracks for their latest disc, En Nuestro Desafio.

"We would go down there maybe four or five nights a week," says Lehner. "It was always the same deal: drive from San Diego all the way down to Luis's house, down by the beach. It would take an hour. Then, coming back, depending on the night, there would be a long wait at the border. It got kind of tiring, but it was nice because we could play when we wanted to and not have to worry about neighbors complaining.... In Mexico, they wouldn't let you know [if the music bothered them]. Maybe it bothers them, but it's noisy in general. You're woken up every morning at 7 a.m. from trucks delivering propane. Down there they're not so worried about things."

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