Vecindad: Bridging Mexican and Chicano Rock
by Mark Guerrero
Vecindad is a rock en Español band from Mexico whose music
is a mixture of punk, rap, ska, funk, and Latin. Their
presentation is high energy and relentless. They were
formed in Mexico City in 1985 and describe themselves as a
mambo punk combo. According to their bio, their songs
are about "the poor neighborhoods of the city, and about
urban characters, such as the marginalized people resulting
from the modernizing image of Mexican identity."
They are of great importance to Chicano music because they
were among the first Mexican rock musicians to express a kindred
spirit with the Chicano movement. On their early recordings,
Maldita Vecindad y Los Hijos del Quinto Patio (BMG Ariola
1989) and Circo (BMG Ariola 1991), Maldita's music delved
into Chicano culture with songs such as "Mojado,"
"Pachuco," and "Pata de Perro."
In addition to the two albums above, Maldita Vecindad released
"Baile de Máscaras" (1996), "Mostros"
(1998), and "Greatest Hits + Rarities 1989-1999"
In 1989, Maldita Vecindad toured the United States for the
first time. The tour was in support of their first album,
the aforementioned "Maldita Vecindad y Los Hijos del
Quinto Patio." Their 1992-93 "Pato de Perro"
tour included, Mexico, the U.S. and a six months in Europe.
In Europe, they started by playing some small venues but were
soon invited to play some major festivals with audiences of
as large as hundreds of thousands. These shows also
featured such artists as Bob Dylan, Faith No More, Sonic Youth,
Hole, Leonard Cohen, INXS, and Madness. The Malditos,
as they are also known, played in Portugal, Italy, Spain,
Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Belguim, The Netherlands, France,
Sweden, Norway, Denmark, England, and Ireland. A live
album from this tour was released in 1993, entitled "Pato
de Perro." They've toured the United States and
Latin America extensive throughout the 90s to the present
and played to sold out shows everywhere. They are a
very politically conscious and active band, playing for peace
in Chiapas and other causes and cultural events. The
"12 Serpiente" concert, which took place at the
National University of Mexico in May 1995 drew more than 30,000
people in support of peace in Chiapas, Mexico. It featured
16 rock bands, dancers, and dramatic artists. In October
1996, Maldita Vecindad recorded an MTV Unplugged. The
program was broadcast in the U.S., Mexico, Central, and South
America. Their video for their song Don Palabras was
nominated by MTV in the "Best Latin Videw" category
for the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards. In 1998, they played
the Greek Theater in Los Angeles for an audience of 7200.
In addition, they've contributed music to many compilation
CDs, including "Reconquista, The Best of Latin Rock in
the United States" (Rhino Records), "Juntos por
Chiapas" (Polygram), "The Best of Latin Rock"
(compilation by David Byrne), "Tributo a Jose Jose"
(BMG), and "Homenaje a Los Tigres del Norte" (Fonovisa).
They also had a song, "Morenaza," on the "Reality
In October of 2003, Hector Calderon, an academic (who teaches
at U.C.L.A.) and a friend of Maldita Vecindad, wrote a long
letter to my dad, Lalo Guerrero, on behalf of the band.
It mentioned, among other things, that Maldita admired my
dad as a pioneer of Chicano music. He suggested possibly
doing a live show with my dad and Maldita Vecindad at some
point. At 87 years of age, my dad was not aware of the
rock en Español movement, so he asked me to read the letter
and advise him on it. I told him they were an important
band and that we should reply. I e mailed Hector, who
told me Maldita was in Southern California and were going
to play at a large night club in Rialto in a couple of days.
Since it was about an hour from my home in Palm Springs, I
went to check them out. I met Hector there and caught
their show. I was impressed with the enthusiasm of their
fans, who chant the word "Maldita" over and over
again until they appear on stage. Many of them jumped
up and down for the whole one hour plus show, which is extremely
high energy. After the performance, I met the band and
had a great conversation back stage with Roco, their lead
singer. He was very politically aware and very enthusiastic
about Chicano music and culture. Afterwards Hector and
I had dinner with Aldo (the bass player) and their new drummer,
Javier Sosa. I found Aldo to be very interesting and
also politically aware. The other members of the band
are Pato (guitar) and Sax (sax), and Daniel Infanzón (percussion).
It so happened that my dad and I were scheduled to perform
a few days later at the John Anson Ford amphitheater in Hollywood.
The concert was to be a tribute to my dad that included my
band, Mark Guerrero & Radio Aztlán, Trio Los Panchos,
my dad, and others. I invited Maldita Vecindad to come
to the concert. It so happened they had a concert out
of state, but they would be back in the L.A. area the morning
of the Lalo tribute event because they were scheduled to play
in the area the next night. They all came to the concert
and enjoyed it very much. They came backstage and I
introduced them to my dad. Afterwards, Hector, Aldo,
and I started to talk about doing a concert with Maldita,
my band, my dad, and Don Tosti, possibly at U.C.L.A. in 2004.
Everyone is in agreement and enthusiastic to do it, but were
now working out the details and logistics. The event
would also include a seminar on Chicano/Mexican music to be
held perhaps the day before. Hopefully, it will all
happen in December. Maldita Vecindad's website is
(left to right- Roco, Aldo, Sax, Mark Guerrero,
Lalo Guerrero, Javier Sosa, Daniel Infanzon, Jesus
Mendez, and Pato)
at the John Anson Ford Amphitheater, October 4,