Don't bother calling out for a Sublime cover at a Corre Diablo gig.
While the San Diego/L.A. band artist migration usually goes south to north, for Xavier Delgado it was the other way around. He moved here two years ago from East L.A. to get his master’s in education from USD.
“I did my undergraduate work at UCLA, which was a lot bigger, more diverse. When I got [to USD] I remember thinking that this place was staggeringly Caucasian. I wear T-shirts and black jeans. Everyone [at USD] looked like they came straight from the beach. I stood out a bit.”
Last year the singer/songwriter/guitarist, who has been in bands since he was 15, launched Corre Diablo, a punk trio that’s been sonically compared to Jawbreaker but has the lefty leanings of Rage Against the Machine.
He notes the differences between cities. “I remember going out for drinks with some friends to a bar in P.B. This band played a Sublime song, followed by a 311 song, followed by a Red Hot Chili Peppers song. Then they went into another Sublime song…. I looked at my wife and said, ‘Where the hell are we?’
“Everything is a lot more lighthearted in San Diego. Even the names of bands. We played with this one band down here called Fishing for Chips. You just wouldn’t see that in L.A., not that it’s a bad or good name…. Maybe because the [music] industry is based there, everybody takes everything so seriously. I remember when my old band the Remedies got some notice, someone in the industry said, ‘Maybe you guys should consider getting a white guy to sing lead for you.’” Delgado was the Latino frontman.
“Needing to be white to be in a band was something I struggled with growing up.” He says except for maybe Rage Against the Machine, “The bands I looked up to didn’t have a lot of people with last names that ended in a vowel. Except maybe El Hefe from NOFX, who was more of a caricature, you just didn’t see many Latinos.”
Delgado is perplexed as to why, in this Trump era, there aren’t more national bands spitting truth-to-power as Rage Against the Machine did 20 years ago.
“That voice in music is not as present as it should be. I’m Latino and my wife is half-Iranian, half-Mexican. I felt I had to do something.”
While not all of Delgado’s songs are overtly political, “‘Mother Tongue’ is about people of Latino heritage who voted Republican. I wrote ‘Fears Reborn’ the day after Trump got elected, thinking I did not want to get out of bed.”
Corre Diablo (Spanish for “get out, devil,” also the name of a spiritual candle that dashes evil spirits) appears Friday, February 9, 8 p.m. with World War (L.A.) at Red Brontosaurus Records in North Park.