Many songs have been written about brothels, from “House of the Rising Sun” and “La Grange” to the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Add to that list “Adelita’s Song,” by Vegas-based Adelitas Way; both the band and song are named after a brothel in Tijuana’s Zona Norte. Bandleader Rick Dejesus says a trip south of the border with friends in 2005 spawned both names.
“I fell asleep in the back of the truck,” he says, “and four hours later we were getting arrested in Tijuana and extorted by the cops. They robbed us for all our money. We were so bummed out, [but] I hid my $20 in my sock.”
Dejesus says they ended up at Adelita in search of beer.
“There were, like, 50 young, beautiful women in there, talking to old men. One of the prettiest women I ever saw comes up to me and starts talking to me. She looks at me and says, ‘Fifty bucks and I’m yours.’ It made me sad. She was so pretty, and anyone could sleep with her for 50 bucks.
“So I said, ‘Why do you do this?’ She broke down crying and said, ‘It’s the only way I can live and support my family here in Mexico. You can’t make money [easily in Mexico], and I can’t get into the USA.’ It broke my heart.”
After writing “Adelita’s Song” (“about a girl with no chance”), Dejesus liked the brothel’s name so much that he decided to use it for his band, as a constant reminder of the lesson learned.
– Jay Allen Sanford