Los Fabulosos Cadillacs Never Really Left

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Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, one of  the greatest rock bands in the history of Latin music, are coming back full circle as they kick off their reunion tour in Chicago this week . Over 2 decades ago, the legendary Argentinean rock ska outfit jump-started their career outside their native Argentina right here in the US…. from a motel in L.A’s Chinatown. “We are very excited to come back to the States, ironically this was the first country where we tried to gain an audience in. Long before Mexico, Paraguay, Peru or Chile – we worked from the motel for almost two months fitting six into two-person rooms  just so we could start playing in this country”, confessed Los Fabulosos’ saxophone player Sergio Rotman, during a recent interview with Remezcla.com

After calling it quits seven years ago, Los Cadillacs have decided to get back together for a 54-show reunion tour and the recently released hit, La Luz del Ritmo, which includes new recordings of their greatest hits plus some all new tracks. Why the come back? Rotman tells us there was not much production or big thoughts about it but but rather old friends coming back to their music and letting the sounds evolve. “We started jamming and…carajo! the same vibe was there” says Sergio. “In 2002, when we split, we were already Cadillacs with children. So our whole life was there, but at that time, we need a bit of perspective on our own career.”  Of course, the fact that long-time fans remain hungry for their music didn’t hurt.

Sergio spoke to Remezcla.com about having his wife Mimi Maura fill in for Celia Cruz’s part in Vasos Vacios” song on this tour, what music they’re listening to when on the road, and the genius of cumbia master Pablo Lescano.

Remezcla.com: Since your split in 2002, what have you guys been up to?

Sergio Rotman: Well, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs never had a good bye concert like many other bands had, so there was always the possibility to record again. We probably did that knowing we would want to play again some day.

Let make it clear that while we were gone we were still making music just not as a group. Half of Los Fabulosos have been working with Mimi Maura for the past 7 years.  [Puerto Rican singer Mimi Maura is Sergio’s wife and is currently touring with the band as a backup vocalist].

Flavio, the bassist, and myself have also collaborated with Vicentico in his solo albums, which were produced in his own studio.

RE:  What is it like touring in the US for you?

SR: We did a great deal of crossover in the mid 90s, we recorded with Mick Jones from The Clash, Debbie Harry from Blondie, Talking Heads and many more. So to be back and being able to play this big tour is really “son luchas que nosotros apreciamos mucho”. We started really from the bottom in all these cities and now we’re coming back as renowned artists.

RE: What new styles or influences have you incorporated into your latest record,  La luz del Ritmo?

SR: Change and mixing of new influences has always been a part of Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. This album was not the exemption. We actually invited our friend and musical genius, Pablo Lescano leader of cumbia group Damas Gratis, to create a cumbia [for “Padre Nuestro” ] because that is a style that been “”bastardized” around the world but it’s not just  musiquita people play at parties because they’re drunk. For us, cumbia is a very strong style in itself, and we love it. In this album you will find a little bit of everything from English pop, to reggae and ska. In it, you will also hear remakes of hits from the past.

We gave “Mal Bicho” a touch of soul. We decided to give some old songs from our early period, from ’84, 85, another chance because they were recorded poorly then (“Muy muy temprano”, “Basta de llamarme así.”)

The only song we decided not to remake was “Matador.” Maybe because its original version is just insuperable, hard to beat. In the upcoming volume we will incorporate many of the new songs we produced.

RE:You guys are on a long tour, what do Los Fabulosos listen to on their Ipods?

SR: What don’t the Cadillacs listen to on their Ipods, would be the better question! You might not find mainstream pop, no Back Street Boys, I highly doubt you’ll find Madonna, Britney Spears, Tokyo Hotel or any emo artist.

But you will find,  Héctor Lavoe, Dead Kennedys, Morrissey, Andrés Landero, blues music from Chicago…. Actually we love all of the creators of Blues from Chicago…Bill Halley, wow!

RE: What should fans expect from your tour?

SR: We are doing this thing on You Tube were fans can watch past shows from the tour.  We feel people love to do this and we’re going to share the vibes of Los Fabulosos in a venue like the River Plate with much smaller venues like Chicago or New York are going to be.

RE: You’re of course playing the classics, right?

SR: We have enough material to change show after show but we feel that since people pay to come hear the music they love, they expect their favorites and no matter how many times we have played, them they will still get  their “Matador” and  “Vasos Vacios.”