'Something Fresh'

'Something Fresh'

Los FabuLocos play for dancers at ABC Saturday

By Bliss Bowen 03/01/2012

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Funny how trying to move forward sometimes takes you back..
As drummer Mike Molina tells it, he and his bandmates in Los FabuLocos were trying to satisfy audience interest in “something fresh here in Los Angeles” when they started the band in 2005. What they found themselves playing was music their parents would have loved.
“We bring all our influences, our oldies but goodies — the cumbias, our rock ‘n’ roll, our rockabilly or even honky-tonk,” Molina says. “All the stuff we heard that our fathers would listen to, the Johnny Cashes, the Hank Williams. Our parents would listen to that. And then they would turn around and, you know how it goes, they’d start boozing it up and the mariachi comes out. Natural progression. People relate to it on those terms: fiesta, their parents. 
“It kind of reminds me of when Linda Ronstadt came out with that mariachi album [1987’s “Canciones de Mi Padre”]. Who would have figured that our generation would be listening to a mariachi album? We discovered a whole new side of music. But it’s always been part of us. Now we introduce it to our children. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel.”
Part of an East LA heritage of bands that also includes Los Lobos, Quetzal and the Delgado Brothers, Los FabuLocos are currently working on new material for an album to follow their self-titled debut and last year’s “Dos.” Key to their rollicking sound is the flavorful interplay between accordionist Jesus “Jesse” Cuevas, who came to the band with Molina after leaving the Blazers, and guitarist/banjo player Al Martinez, who handily stepped in after Kid Ramos returned to the blues. (The lineup is rounded out by bassist James Barrios.) Some contemporaries experiment with hip-hop and deejays, but Los FabuLocos prefer to keep their sound more traditional, augmenting Cuevas’ originals with covers of Doug Sahm, Los Lobos, Freddy Fender and the Blasters. Lively and rhythmic, it’s a magnet for dancers of various generations.
“People hear [the accordion] a lot in San Antonio and other parts of Texas, and it does work its magic,” Molina acknowledges with a laugh. “It strikes a chord with our DNA here.”
While they have some shows scheduled for “spectating” audiences at amphitheaters and festivals, Molina says they get a particular charge from performing for dancers.
“There’s nothing like seeing music move people,” he explains. “It’s like seeing the wind. The wind can blow, but you don’t see it until you see the trees moving or the flag waving or somebody’s hair moving. You can actually see how music moves people.” n

Los FabuLocos return to Arcadia Blues Club, 16 E. Huntington Drive, 9 p.m. Saturday; $12. Bobby Bluehouse opens at 8 p.m. For information, call (626) 447-9349. facebook.com/losfabulocos

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