'Three out of four band members live in TJ," says Fabian Tamayo, rhythm guitarist in MinusOne. The only stateside resident is the band's drummer, Pierre Moreno, who lives in Imperial Beach. He fabricates custom motorcycle parts at a shop called Racing 905. "We like to play all types of metal," says Moreno, 24. "We do death, we do thrash, we do grind, we do speed, we do power, we pretty much do all that."
MinusOne has been a part of Tijuana's metal scene since 2002. They also perform in Mexicali and, more and more, in the U.S. "We try to play more on this side, if we can get gigs," says Tamayo, 27, who works a day job in Kearny Mesa. "Since we got the word out and got a reputation for ourselves on the other side [the band frequently refers to the U.S. as "the other side"], we've got a pretty good following, [as well as] in TJ and in Mexicali."
Is there really much of a club scene for metalheads in Mexicali? "Over there," he says, "we play pretty much anywhere they let us play." MinusOne rehearses in a rented studio in downtown Tijuana.
I meet Moreno and Tamayo at a Starbucks in the Chula Vista mall. Christian Nieto, 23, the band's lead guitarist, later shows up with a singer named "G" well after the interview is finished, victims of a lengthy border crossing. G, as it turns out, will quit MinusOne weeks later.
Moreno tells me, "We've played Scolari's Office...they don't have specifically a metal night there, but they put on a variety of styles of music...we played the Zombie Lounge...we played Chaser's once, and we've done two or three house parties here in Chula Vista."
What is the heavy metal scene in Tijuana? "There's a lot of good bands out there," says Tamayo. "There's a couple of places that are doing shows right now." He mentions Sotano de Rita and the all-age cultural center Instituto Cultural Baja California, known as ICBC.
"But we're pretty much over the whole Mexico audience," says Moreno. "With our new album [the self-released record The Rise and Fall], the American audience is gonna adapt to it a little more. Over here [in the U.S.]," he says, "there's more metalheads."
Moreno owns an iPod, a Nano, received as a gift from his mother a few months ago. He says he has about 300 songs downloaded onto it and that he listens mostly to "death metal and hip-hop. I use it for personal use and for [learning] my drum skills, tempos on the double-kick and stuff. The best way for me to learn new drum skills," he says, "to get songs in my head, is to listen to songs over and over."
Pierre Moreno's Mostly Metal Top Ten:
1. Bloodbath, "Eaten"
2. Behemoth, "Horns Ov Baphomet"
3. Decapitated, "Spheres of Madness"
4. Danzig, "1000 Devils Reign"
5. Marvin Gaye, "Got to Give It Up, Pt. 1"
6. Vital Remains, "Dechristianize"
7. The Psycho Realm, "The First Day of Freedom"
8. Opeth, "The Leper Affinity"
9. Marduk, "Bleached Bones"
10. Brujeria, "Cristo de la Roca"