CLEARWATER — Los Lobos will perform Thursday, Feb. 20, 2021, at 8 p.m. at the Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater.
Tickets start at $35. Visit www.rutheckerdhall.com.
No longer just another band from East Los Angeles, the Grammy Award-winners are one of America’s finest rock bands and have been for more than 40 years. They gained international stardom in 1987 when their version of Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” reached No. 1 on the U.S. and U.K. singles charts.
Current Los Lobos members include David Hidalgo, Louie Perez, Cesar Rosas, Conrad Lozano and Steve Berlin.
After celebrating their 40th anniversary with the 2013 live album “Disconnected In New York City,” the band launched its fifth decade by releasing “Gates of Gold” in 2015, their first full-length studio album since 2010’s “Tin Can Trust.” “Tin Can Trust” earned a Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album. “Gates of Gold” is the band’s second release with Savoy/429 Records.
“We’re a Mexican-American band, and no word describes America like immigrant,” said Perez, the primary wordsmith of Los Lobos, when describing the songs on the band’s 2015 album. “Most of us are children of immigrants, so it’s perhaps natural that the songs we create celebrate America in this way.”
The stories on “Gates of Gold” are snapshots of experiences that Perez and his band mates have had, based on where they are emotionally and how they respond to evolving life circumstances.
“We live out loud most of the time and share our life this way, but then there are more intrinsic things that happen, and our songs are part of the way we react to them,” Perez explained. “We sit down and basically tell people what has happened. We certainly didn’t start this project with aspirations to create the musical equivalent to great American literary works.”
Perez once called their powerhouse mix of rock, Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B, blues and traditional Spanish and Mexican music “the soundtrack of the barrio.” Four decades, three Grammys, the global success of “La Bamba” and thousands of rollicking performances across the globe later, Los Lobos is still jamming with the same raw intensity as they had when they began in a garage back in 1973.
They don’t get in the studio as often as they did a few decades ago, but when they do, the results are every bit as culturally rich, musically rocking and lyrically provocative as they were back in the day.
“It’s not always the easiest thing finding time away from our touring schedule and families to find time to make an album,” said Berlin, who plays keyboards and woodwinds. “But recording ‘Gates of Gold,’ I have to say, it’s great to be back in the proverbial saddle again. It reminds us of the fun we have had making new music over the years, and it’s nice to have the opportunity to create something of value.”
Whether playing straight-ahead roots rock, traditional Mexican cumbias or pushing into psychedelia, the band has remained consistently soulful, authentic and compelling. Whatever their stylistic forays, it is the live experience that is the true essence of Los Lobos.