ONE OF THE MOST RESPECTED bands in the Rock en Español music genre is the group Jaguares. They are respected because of their groundbreaking rock rhythms and deeply poetic lyrics. Currently, this super group is in the middle of a red hot North American tour to promote their latest critically acclaimed album entitled, Cuando La Sangre Galopa. qvMagazine spoke with the bands drummer Alfonso Andre about the groups music, the challenges of touring, and how they reacted to the events of September 11.
Jaguares lineup consists of founder and vocalist Saul Hernandez, guitarist Cesar El Vampiro Lopez, and drummer/vocalist Alfonso Andre.
The Mexican rock band was born out of the group Caifanes, one of the pioneers of Mexican rock during the 80s. After Caifanes broke up in 1995, Saul and Alfonso began a new project that, as their official biography explains, Proposes to be more like a musical workshop than a group, where musicians can come and go, where no one is under contract, so it is a freer proposition.
Hence, over the years, Jaguares has had a number of members go in and out of the group with Saul and Alfonso being the constant factors.
To date, they have recorded three spectacular albums under the Jaguares name: 1995s El Equilibrio de los Jaguares, 1999s Grammy-nominated double-CD Bajo El Azúl de tu Misterio, and their current album, Cuando La Sangre Galopa.
With every album the group has produced, new ground has been broken. In fact, the group has described the creation of their current album as if it were the very first in their career, but with 15 years of experience they noticed that they were able to throw in a lot of freshness.
Their musical experience shows on such dramatic tracks as La Vida No Es Igual, the hard rocking title track, Cuando La Sangre Galopa, and the tender first single, Como Tú.
In addition to their music, the group has also begun making music videos that are quite innovative. For example, the video for Como Tú, depicts the scene of an urban area in Mexico and shows the diverse type of people who go into a particular Pulquería (a bar-like place that specializes in serving the alcoholic beverage of pulque). Alfonso describes the various characters in the video: They range from transvestites to the average Joe. We wanted to be diverse and inclusive.
He then adds, The next couple of singles will be El Secreto, and then La Vida No es Igual, which will also have a very interesting videobut I wont give it away because its a surprise.
What isnt a surprise is the groups live showits simply spectacular. Their current U.S. tour includes a playlist that mixes both old and new music. Eight of the 14 tracks on the new album are played along with many old Caifanes and old Jaguares tunessome of which the group has never played live before.
Alfonso explains, We try to change it around to keep ourselves interested. We try to find some old buried treasures in our songs as well.
Alfonso continues, This tour in the U.S. is important to us because its the largest one weve ever done here.
One of the new challenges the group faces on the tour is the question of how to manage career and family at the same time. Alfonso explains, All three of us are parents, so sometimes, we bring our kids along. My son and the son of El Vampiro are both 5. Sauls daughter is about to turn 12. It has been tough on our women (girlfriends and wives) because were always away from them! Fortunately, in my case, my lady is also a musician so she understands my busy schedule. But we have very high phone bills. (laughs)
Another challenge to touring is keeping active. Alfonso explains, When were on tour, we try to stay healthy by playing tennis, going to the gym, or swimming. I really dont like to exercise, but I try to.
He adds, We try to get along as a group, and playing sports has helped a lot as far as interaction, and learning to live around each other. Also, although Im not really the jokester type, all the other members are very much so, and every now and then Saul comes up with some really good jokes. Im really bad at remembering jokes.
Alfonso continues, We also listen to a lot of musicall typesfrom the 40s through the present. Music enriches you, the more variety and quantity you listen to the better.
Of course, the events of September 11 have also affected the groups tour. Alfonso says, We do have that little fear of travel, now. Obviously, now it may be a little safer, but who knows. Some of those crazy people who are willing to die to commit a terrorist act, thats scary.
Alfonso then becomes emotional and says, Those images we saw on TV...gosh I dont think Ive ever seen anything like that. I just hope that this war stops. We dont need to lose any more lives. When it happened, it was like a huge shadow that was cast over the world that day. Now you live with the terror of whats going to happen next.
He continues, For everyone out there who is dealing with this, especially in the US, lets work towards peace. I know it sounds cliché, but if we all do our part, we can achieve it someday. I think violence generates more violence.
In spite of Alfonso talking about the tragedy, we ended this interview by asking him to say something to our qvReaders.He concluded the interview by saying, For the Quo Vadis fans, I want to thank you for supporting us all these years as Jaguares and Caifanesand allowing us to record and do the career weve done. We owe you a lot!
To learn more about Jaguares, visit their official website at http://www.jaguaresmx.com