Today, Latino USA is devoting an episode to influential Latino figures in rock ‘n’ roll history, featuring interviews with icons as well as experts in the field.
Hosted by Nadia Reiman and Marlon Bishop, “Latino Heroes of Rock & Roll” explores the genre across the decades, and even shines a light on Mexico’s greatest contribution to the genre: the introduction of the guitar to the 19th century West. Beginning with a discussion of the iconic song “Louie Louie,” which has roots in “El Loco Cha” by Cuban musician Rosendo Ruíz (as noted in our own feature on the unsung Latino forefathers of rock ‘n’ roll), it goes on to explore rock music over the ages, concluding with one of the biggest bands in the world: Metallica.
Latino USA goes deep with Chan Romero, who’s behind “Hippy Hippy Shake,” an iconic 60s staple that produced dozens of covers, including one by the Beatles. They also explore the history of Question Mark & The Mysterians, the only all-Latino group to hit no. 1 on the charts. They even go as far as tracking down the band’s elusive and out-of-this-world singer Question Mark, which is not an easy feat to achieve.
Latino USA also spends some quality time with punk pioneer Alice Bag, who talks about her roots and her role as a feminist musician in a male-dominated genre. Carlos Alomar sits down to talk about his time playing with David Bowie (and writing “Fame” with him and John Lennon) as well as his link with James Brown, first as a fan and then playing in his band. Finally, Robert Trujillo talks about the Latino heritage of hardcore crossover legends Suicidal Tendencies and being able to represent his culture within the ranks of Metallica.
The episode features plenty of interesting stories that will have fans of the genre wanting to listen to this podcast on repeat. When it comes down to it, rock is far more nuanced and complex than its critics may suggest. Check out “Latino Heroes of Rock & Roll” here:
Photo of Robert Trujillo by Marc Broussely/Redferns/Getty.