If you asked me back in the early ’90s what my favorite band was, I would’ve probably answered Los Brujos. Although they never fully transcended the cultural and geographical limits of Argentina, Los Brujos have been widely considered one of the most important bands of their era and enjoyed cult status along contemporaries like Babasónicos. Besides being pioneers in the then-burgeoning alternative rock underground of Buenos Aires, Los Brujos stood out because of their combination between theatrical performance and well-crafted mythology reminiscent of Kiss (the members never revealed their real identities to the public, nor did they allow photos without their costumes). More importantly, they gave the most mind-blowing live shows ever.
So, you can imagine that when I read the recent news—that 17 years after their breakup the prayers of thousands of fans had been answered and the band was getting back together and recording a highly anticipated fourth album—I got extremely excited. However…enter the controversy: the original Brujos were six. They’ve always been six and the new line-up has only five members. Missing is their bass player, Lee-Chi, who to many fans (myself included) was an indispensable part of the band. To add to the controversy, the first track they released as a single from their upcoming album was, according to the press release, recorded as a demo in 1998 with the late Gabo Manelli of Babasónicos on bass. As Lee-Chi pointed out in a heated, ongoing Twitter-based debate, Gabo was his personal friend (they used to share the same bass guitar, back when they were both poor, struggling musicians) and since he’s dead he could neither grant permission for the release of this song, nor benefit from it. So there’re some unresolved ethical issues there. When asked about his absence in Los Brujos’ return, Lee-Chi said he was never contacted or invited to participate and the current line-up does not include any bass player replacing him, so far.
Listen to Los Brujos’ comeback and decide for yourself if it was worth the wait or not.