If you go to Sweetwater High, chances are good you are into hip-hop.
“That’s just what all the kids from National City are into,” says Andy Saldana, singer/guitarist of Los Shadows. “Our area is gangster rap. That and oldies from [fellow National City band] Rosie and the Originals is what I grew up listening to.”
That was until he met guitarist Pepe Gonzalez. “He ended up showing me riffs from Nirvana. I was, like, ‘What the fuck is this?’ It grows on you.”
...by Los Shadows
That original, grungy version of Los Shadows did not look, sound, or act like it belonged in “Nasty City.”
“We liked the ’90s grunge look,” says Gonzalez. “People didn’t know if we were trying to look like skaters or homeless people. Hip-hop has a clean, macho look. Punk is dirty. To everyone else we were like hobos from the ’90s.”
In some ways they were like hobos.
“We weren’t from the richest economic reality. When we started playing gigs in high school we didn’t have rides so we’d go down the street and steal shopping carts from Food For Less, load them up with our gear, and go to the gig. We’d have to go on the side streets to avoid the cops. You had to be careful.”
The band was put on hold for a while. “When I turned 18 I gave up music and went to work in Florida. My mom wasn’t legal so I went to work to raise $5000 so she could get her papers to get legal.”
- Saturday, May 7, 2016, 6:30 p.m.
3350 Sports Arena Boulevard,
Gonzalez returned a year ago and with Saldana re-launched the band with more of a surf-pop feel. Meshing with other local reverb-drenched surf-punk bands, Los Shadows have tapped into Tijuana’s thriving rock scene: “We’ve played the Moustache Bar, like, six times,” says Gonzalez. “People are a lot looser down there. We’ve met people from Europe, Canada, and Japan who just want to have a good time.”
And the upstart Chuck Records agreed to release their first album.
“We just made a video for our first single, ‘Chugger,’” says Gonzalez. “It was really low budget, so we just put on luchador masks. It has nothing to do with ‘Chugger,’ which is a love song, but if you don’t have money for actors, you go lucha libre.”
Los Shadows, the Art Dealers, Fake Tides, and Noble War appear Saturday, May 7, at Soma.