Graham Reid | | 3 min read
Back in 2002, Chuck Klosterman wrote an article in Spin magazine about a Smiths/Morrissey convention where tribute bands (These Charming Men among them, of course) played and people discussed Morrissey's lyrics at length.
The odd thing about this convention – you can read the piece in Da Capo's Best Music Writing 2003 edited by The Simpson's Matt Groening – was that it took place in Los Angeles and of the 1400 tickets sold, at least 75 percent were snapped up by Latinos, most under 20.
There were East LA gangbangers alongside construction workers and greasers with pomped up hair.
As Klosterman wrote, “Young Latinos worship an aging Brit who aspires to live at the YWCA and get hit by a double-decker bus, and that's pretty crazy”.
But the cult of Morrissey is widespread so it's no surprise that a tribute/covers band should come from Mexico and call themselves Mexrrissey.
The six-piece were pulled together by DJ/producer Camilo Lara (founder of Mexican Institute of Sound) and they mix ranchera, mariachi, danzón, mambo, norteño and cha cha cha rhythms and sound to reinvent the melodrama, sarcasm and dark humour of Morrissey’s anthems.
The band’s debut album, No Manchester, released in March 2016, was recorded in Mexico and Tucson, and was mixed by Jack Lahana, winner of multiple Grammys for his work with Phoenix and Daft Punk.
Mexrrissey appear at the Spiegeltent in Aotea Square March 16, 9.3opm and March 17, 7pm in the Auckland Arts Festival.
There is a light that never goes out, it seems. Over to Camilo to answer a few questions . . .
The first musician whose music really affected you was . . .
The Smiths. Surprise! We are Mexrrissey
Your first appearance on stage before an audience was . . . (And you were how old?)
In Mexico City. Dressed as monkey, playing with my band Mexican Institute of Sound.
If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .
Writer. I have my novel ready to be published!
The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear because they are so emotionally moving are . . .
I would say “Entre mas me ignoras” from Mexrrissey. Beautiful Mariachi track
Sunday Morning from Velvet Undergound and Day Baby Dream by Suicide.
The most unusual place you have performed would be . . .?
In a moving car at Carnival. Crazy!
The most important book you have read is . . .? And why?
I would say Roberto Bolaño 2666. If you have not read it, run and do it
If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)
The three films you'd like anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .
Karate Kid 2…its just great
Santa Sangre from Alejandro Jodorowsky (Mexrrissey Adan´s dad)
Y Tu Mama Tambien - My first work on the movie biz
The last CD, vinyl album or download you bought was . . .
Ceci Bastida’s new album. She just released an album and its truly amazing.
When you travel, what is it you most miss about your home country?
Chili. You can really have a dependance to spiceyness … some people do heroin; some others do crack. I do habanero.
The artist you most admire would be . . .
Morrissey. Isn’t that clear?
Your favourite meal to share with friends would be . . .? (Care to share a simple recipe?)
Taco al pastor. The main taco from Mexico City. Pork Kebhabh with pineapple and lime. A masterpiece.
Do you practice every day, and if so for how long?
I wish I could. But performing is practicing right? Then I’m in shape.
David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” If that were true, you would spend them where, doing . . .?
Well…sadly it was true. I will spend it singing that song non stop.
And finally, do you have any unrealised goals in music?
I want to be the first Mexican to send music to space. Pointless goal. But…the sky is the limit
For details on Womad artists and booking information go here.