From the Puerto Rican Underground with Love

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Recently, we went out on a weekend bender with Puerto Rican garage-punk band, Davila 666, a relatively new band that has been capturing the attention of the underground (and not so underground) music scene in the island, and now the U.S. Comprised of Sir Charles Davila on Vox, AJ Davila on bass, Johnny Otis Davila on guitar, San Pablo Davila on drums, Panda Davila on vocals and tambourine, and Gigi Davila on guitar and overall ruckus, los Davila like to dress up with matching outfits for their shows: anything from jean vests and sunglasses to loincloths and face paint.

Formed in San Juan in 2005, Davila 666 began playing in the underground punk scene of the city. Having more in common with Iggy & The Stooges than with La Polla Records (popular Spanish punk band, which many bands in Puerto Rico try to emulate,) their tight, distinct sound and irreverent attitude have quickly set them apart and have garnered them a loyal following.

In early 2007, the band released a compilation called Puñales, Píldoras y Otras Formas de Entretenerse, on their own label, EZ Kill Records. Last year, los Davila traveled extensively throughout California, where they caught the attention of LA-based label In the Red Records, home to some of the best known garage, punk and soul acts of today such as: Jay Reatard, and King Kahn & The BBQ and formerly, Black Lips. The California tour was filmed in all its degenerate glory by San Juan filmmaking collective Puro Vicio (currently in its last editing stages), and now, the group is finally releasing their self-titled formal debut with In The Red, which will bring them international exposure and distribution and surely, many more tours to come.

Davila recently played three shows in New York and one in Connecticut (!?!), all of which were filled with energy and, as all of us there could agree, were insanely fun.  We chatted with bassist AJ Davila about their recent visit to the Big Apple, their new album and why food in the Bronx tastes so damn good.  We don’t know if to believe everything he said, but here it goes:

Name: AJ Davila

Age: 28

Roots: Puertorro!

Occupation: Kite vendor and bike mechanic.

Remezcla: Was this your first time performing in New York City?

AJ Davila: Nah…Two years ago we played at CBGBs Gallery on its last day…I think.

RE: You can’t remember?

AJ: hahahaha …..

RE: So what surprised you this time around?

AJ: New York is a fun city…we always have a great time here. It’s like an extension of Puerto Rico.

RE: En serio, like Puerto Rico? How so?

AJ: It’s not that it’s like PR…just an extension…the people, the crowd, the family, el caldero (pot) of rice and beans.

RE: [Laughs] Did you eat comida criolla around here?

AJ: I stayed in the Bronx…and I ate as if I was at home; I ate bistec with arroz y habichuelas and amarillos every day for 5 bucks; what’s better than that!?

RE: Sooo, of all the places you played (Sputnik, Don Pedros, Fontana’s)….which one did you like the most?

AJ: We liked them all…but the energy and the jangueo of Fontana’s was the best.

RE: You played there at Nacotheque, how did the hosts of this infamous party treat you?

AJ: Super a fuego…like we were at home…Marcelo and Amy are great.

RE: How about the crowd; what impression do you think you left here with the Newyorkinos?

AJ: The crowd had fun…they probably thought we were a bunch of sick degenerates…but we all danced and had tons of fun.

RE: What was one of the most memorable moments of the three nights (that can be publicly mentioned, of course)?

AJ: There were a couple…one of the better ones was the night we stayed in Connecticut at our friends Mickey’s house; he plays for Medications.

RE: Can you tell us the story or should we leave it to our imagination?

AJ: Sure! We had an orgy with buff ladies!!! Hahahaha. Na, we just had fun amongst good friends…new and old.

RE: Did you wear the hot pants you had at Fontana’s?

AJ: Na, they were all sweaty.

RE: In the Red is known as one of the major labels within the new garage-punk scene; how do you feel about signing on to this label?

AJ: Yeah! honestly all the best bands of this genre are with In the Red… The Black Lips, Jay Reatard, King Kahn, The Gories, Sparks, The Ponys, etc…Everything In the Red puts out esta cabrón. For us it’s a dream to be in this label, more so when this label was and is a big influence for the band.

RE: What surprises can we expect from this, your first album?

AJ: Every CD and LP will come with used underwear, compliments of Jonny Davila, what more can you ask?! Hehehe.

RE: A sweaty one?

AJ: Yeah, it comes in a special bag to preserve all the natural juices and smells.

RE: [Shocked] Back to the interview…do you have a tour planned around the release?

AJ: Yeah, we have a tour all around Mexico, the U.S. and Europe.

RE: Which places are you looking forward to, que lugar te llama la atención?

AJ: We really want to play Germany and France, Argentina would be amazing, but there’s nothing set at the moment.

RE: Do you know anyone from the German or French scene?

AJ: Our pal Loui Loui ,who is un caballote (“da man”), and a booker in the French rock n’ roll-garage scene; also, King Kahn who lives in Germany and the guys from Hazelwood Records.

RE: Would you like to play a show with the Kahn?

AJ: Of course! Spics and Hindus united for love!

RE: What are the plans for the future, what else are you guys bringing?

AJ: We want to record another album by the end of the year… and play, play and play.

RE: Being a group that plays so much, how do you get the energy to play and play?

AJ: I think it’s the energy from all the hamburgers we eat at Pepo’s Pizza. Hahaha, na seriously, I don’t know, it’s simply por que nos gusta, and if we could do it 5 times a day, 365 shows a year, we wouldn’t complain. It’s what we like to do the most! …And theeeen we eat the hamburgers.

RE: Ok, our standard question: What, to you, es un cosmopolatino?

AJ: A what??? Isn’t that a little rich girls’ drink? Haha.

RE: Any thing else you want to share with our readers…any fetishes or vices that we should know about? After all, you want them to know you better.

AJ: Sure…but it’s not a fetish or vice. It’s that Johnny is a Boy Scout leader, a community role model.

RE: Do they have a pet name for him?

AJ: El cachorro (The pup.)

RE: [Laughs] Has he been investigated by the authorities?

AJ: Why would he? He’s an honorable man.

RE: Oh nothing…just asking.

For more info on Davila 666, go to their web page (which has been “under construction” forever) or check them out on MySpace.

Photos by Miguel Peña