Los Chicos are a Spanish punk band. While for many music listeners Spanish punk music is probably an alien notion, the music Los Chicos make won’t strike punk fans as unreachably foreign. In 2013, the band released its fourth album, In The Age Of Stupidity – a tumbling 30-minute ride, motored by torn and frayed energy. Throughout the record, the influence of bands such as The Pogues, The Replacements and Bad Religion rears its head.
“I grew up listening to tapes of The Pogues in school,” says Los Chicos vocalist Rafa SuЦОn. “I had to hide from the teachers because some of them wouldn’t let you use the Walkman at school. I vividly remember The Pogues tape and also a Bad Religion tape being daily companions when I was 12. The Replacements came later on, but all of them are very important to us and they are on our top list of all-time bands.
“The thing is, they do come up in our songs, but most of the time without much thought. The Pogues does come with an intention, because you can go and try to write something with those arrangements. Bad Religion and other melodic bands, I notice it more. I listen to a lot of bands with very pop melodies, from Bad Religion to Elton John, just so I can get a melody different from the typical garage rock thing.”
Los Chicos are known advocates of good times – that is, cranking the stereo and drinking like there’s no tomorrow. But in spite of this reputation, they’re not utterly hedonistic madmen. It’s no secret that Spain has been battered around by economic instability in recent years, and with economic instability comes social unrest. Los Chicos haven’t turned a blind eye to these issues.
“We are socially and politically concerned,” says SuЦОn. “We come from punk and we have opinions and act in that way. But we really wanted to make a point while having a lot of fun doing it, and not ruin anybody’s party by writing newspaper lyrics about the International Monetary Fund. We wanted to say that we are often asleep with what’s going on, that sometimes you get robbed by the ones above, and you have to be aware. But also that the only thing you have when this happens is the things you enjoy, like music, or a live gig, or your friends.
“This last few years has been really ugly and makes you want to say something,” he adds. “But I’m really happy and proud of our listeners and people from the radio, because when [In The Age Of Stupidity] came out they really understood our point.”
In a matter of days, Los Chicos will be back on Australian soil for the third time. Over the years, the band members have revealed their love for several Australian bands such as Radio Birdman, The Johnnys and The Celibate Rifles. The fact they were given an opportunity to tour Australia in the first place, let alone three times, inspires words of disbelief from SuЦОn.
“That first visit was like a dream come true,” he says. “When we were preparing the trip we were thinking, ‘Man, this is actually happening!’ That tour went so, so well we actually couldn’t wait to go there again. So we did, and it went even better. Obviously, we had the help of many amazing people who are like family to us – Johnny Casino, the guys from Off The Hip, Wally and The Meanies, The New Christs, Midnight Woolf, Tim Wold. So we really are looking forward to our third bombing.”
Los Chicos play Newtown Social Club on Wednesday April 8 with Johnny Casino and The Secrets and The Dunhill Blues.