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Viva Phx Q & A: Chicano Batman

Chicano Batman, Interview, Viva Phx

Psych rockers Chicano Batman released Cycles of Existential Rhyme in February 2014. The Los Angeles-based four piece will perform on March 7 at 11 P.M. at FilmBar.

Read The Spec‘s Q&A with guitarist Carlos Arevalo…

Very first concert you attended and a memory from it.
The first concert I attended was Korn and Rob Zombie at the Blockbuster Pavilion in San Bernardino, Calif. in 1998. I was in ninth grade and I went with my sister. I loved Korn at the time and I remember feeling apathetic about seeing Rob Zombie, but after witnessing his live performance that night, I was won over. I remember sitting in class the next day with my ears still ringing from the concert!

If you could have any musician (dead or alive) as a mentor, who would it be?
Frank Zappa. It would be great to have a conversation with him or get a guitar lesson.

Very first concert you played and a memory from it.
I was in band in high school and we played this punk club called Showcase Theater in Corona, Calif. I remember playing to a packed house because it was a battle of the bands. It was unforgettable the rush I felt playing and expressing myself musically in front of an audience. It was unparalleled to anything in my teenage life at that point. I knew then and there that I needed to make music the rest of my life.

Artist you would most like to collaborate with or have produce your music?
Dave Fridman. I am big fan of his work with The Flaming Lips.

Personal truth that fans would be surprised to know about you.
I have a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Cal Poly Pomona.

How do you spend a typical day when you’re not touring or busy recording?
I am typically in a classroom substitute teaching elementary school students. The sub pool is big, so it’s one of the few jobs where you can miss weeks of work to go on tour without getting fired!

One artist or album you could never get tired of listening to?
Eduardo Arenas our bass player turned me on to the Brazilian musician Erasmo Carlos. Specifically, he introduced me to the album Sonhos e Memorias 1941-1972. That album has such beautiful arrangements, melodies and songwriting, and really unique guitar playing. Stylistically, it tastefully and effortlessly fuses elements of rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, psychedelia, and funk. I can listen to that album everyday.

Earliest music-related memory you have?
The earliest music-related memory I have is watching the film “La Bamba” as a very young boy and thinking, “I want to do that, I want to be like Ritchie Valens and play the guitar!”

Nicest thing a fan has ever said, or given, to you?
When we toured Japan in November 2013, we played a show in Fukuyama, Hiroshima. When we were leaving the venue after finishing sound check to go eat before the show, I ran into a woman who was the first person waiting in line. I said hello to her and thanked her for coming, and she was so happy, she was on the verge of tears. I later told our Japanese tour manager/music distributor Shin Miyata about what happened and he said she was crying because she’s a huge Chicano Batman fan, and that she was the first person to ever buy a Chicano Batman album in the Hiroshima Prefecture a few years back when he first started selling our albums. He also said that she drove 150 kilometers alone to make it to the gig!

Interesting fact about your newest release.
We did the basic tracking except for vocals, live together in one room. We don’t use a click track and we don’t record one instrument at time, instead we record live as a band. Even a majority of the guitar solos weren’t overdubbed.

Experience you will never forget.
Touring Japan for the first time was an experience I will never forget. It reaffirmed to me that what we were accomplishing as a group musically was very fresh and bigger than us.

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