Charlie Monttana, Legendary Mexican Rock Urbano Singer Has Died

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
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Iconic rock urbano pioneer Charlie Monttana reportedly died on Thursday at the age of 58. His death was announced via Facebook by his partner Cherie Monttana. An official cause of death has not been determined although some reports suggest a cardiac arrest as said cause.

Born Carlos César Sánchez Hernández, Monttana got his start on the marginalized rock scene of the 1970s. In the early ‘80s he joined Vago helping establish rock urbano; a blues rock genre about the struggles of low-income youths from Mexico City and its outskirts. After Vago he joined Mara before embarking on a solo career that lasted for the rest of his life. Although he was most associated with rock urbano, he also dabbled in other styles like glam metal, hard rock, R&B, rockabilly, and bolero.

Monttana cut an iconic figure thanks to his look of teased and bleached blonde hair, cowboy boots, leather pants and a Jack Daniels t-shirt that he sported for most of his life. Coupled with his raspy voice and tongue-in-cheek persona (calling himself “el novio de México” and constantly addresing his “five fans”), Monttana became one of the biggest stars of rock urbano, transcending the genre. In 2009 he stared on his own reality show and was the subject of the 2020 documentary Soy Yo Charlie Monttana. He also founded a non-profit organization to help homeless children and senior citizens.

He will be remembered by songs like “Tu Mamá No Me Quiere,” “De Que El Amor Apesta,” “Sí Se Acuerda La Banda” and “No Sabes Chupar,” among many others. He was a pioneer and a true original who dedicated himself to his audiences to have as much fun as possible. His signature song “Vaquero Rockanrolero” opens with the lyrics “dices que eres la bandota” before tearing the subject of the song apart. Monttana could arrange a song about a closeted ranchero-loving rocker with an accordion and make it an anthem. Charlie, eras la verdadera bandota.