MEMBERS & INSTRUMENTS:
Nando (vocals, guitar); Jenny “The Maraca Girl” (percussion); Lil Art Jr. (drums), Baby Hand Mikey (double bass).
“We have been compared to Los Lobos, Santana and The Moonlight Cruisers and that’s good, because we love those bands.”
Can’t pronounce or remember how to spell Los Chilaqz? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Sure, it’s got that confusing combination of consonants that makes look like it hails from the native tongue of a former Eastern Bloc nation. But, as frontman and founder Nando tells us, the band’s moniker is as ’merican as, well, we’ll just let him talk.
“Los Chilaqz is short for ‘chilaquiles’ (a Mexican dish of corn tortilla strips, cheese and sauce) and also means to chill and relax,” he says, noting that the odd spelling was his idea. “A long time ago, while playing a backyard family party, my pops out of the blue just yelled out and introduced us as ‘Los Chilaquiles De Corona.’ We all got a laugh out of it and that name just kept coming back, then it became ‘Los Fabulosos Chilaquiles de Corona,’ so we kept it. We just shortened it to Los Chilaqz. I think it’s a spicy, unique name, though many people misspell it all the time. One guy totally got it wrong once and called us ‘Las Chilgas.’” (Note: We couldn’t find that translation anywhere!)
Despite the wobbly name, the band’s Latin-laced, rockabilly sound is as surefooted as ever. And it’s the good tuneage that’s found the crew on local stages, including hometown spot, Angel’s Sports Bar. “I think we play so much because we provide a lot of show for little dough,” says Nando, “and we don’t exactly sound like any other band.” In fact, the band’s bilingual nature has them appealing to an even wider crowd, and they’re not afraid to tackle some classic rock covers, which always helps. Plus, their originals are about cruising in Nando’s ’58 Impala, which makes them ripe for rockin‘ car shows, too.
Backed by his nephew Art Jr. (drums), neighbor Baby Hand Mikey (on a tololoche bass) and Jenny (“The Maraca Girl” and part-time vocalist), plus special guest musicians, Nando and company also cover mariachi tunes and “butcher some of them into surf rock instrumentals or rockabilly tunes with psychedelic melodies, something we termed ‘psychedillybilly.’” Very cool! Just don’t ask us to remember how to spell that one, either.
Los Chilaqz at Angels Sports Bar, 1650 E. 6th St., Corona, (951) 371-9738; www.myspace.com/angelsbar. 21+. Sat, Oct. 31. 8PM.