Ariel Aparicio and The Hired Guns
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Ariel Aparicio and The Hired Guns

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Punk


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Ariel Aparicio is multifaceted in every sense of the word. A Latino immigrant who hails from Cuba, he is happily married, a loving father, an avid listener of punk, pop, salsa, and funk, a rock & roll singer, and a proud gay man to boot. And that’s not even touching upon the style of music he plays. His sound brings together Latin rhythms, the flair of Madonna, some funky dance grooves, and a hint of heavy rock to craft a stew of genres that, when blended, make an intriguing dish for the ears. His unique sound is showcased in his new album, “Aerials.” “I’m very proud of the new record,” says Ariel. “I think it sounds really cool, and it’s just what I wanted it to be.” His in-studio performance of a few of the tracks showed off the “cool” sound he so desired.

The band started off with the single “She Can Show Us,” an interesting piece that nicely used reverb effects and an underlying dance beat to create a sort of wide open landscape for some heavy guitar riffs and soulful verses to run across, with an occasional burst of power in the chorus that gave a hint of hard rock without being overpowering. Ariel attributes his diverse mix of sounds on the album to the skills of producer Tom Gilroy, with whom he worked for the first time on the new release. “Tom has a lot of experience, and he was really able to bring out certain sounds we were going for,” explains Aparicio. “He was able to incorporate other elements that I really wanted on the record. I wanted to have a dance influence while maintaining the feel of a rock record, and he was able to really bring out some tight grooves.”

When asked about his widely varying tastes in music and how they’ve formed his sound, Aparicio stressed the importance of not limiting himself as an artist. Instead, he embraces all the sounds he grew up with and loves within his music. “I’ve listened to many people in my past say that I should really focus on one single genre, but I’ve chosen not to,” he says. Clearly, he speaks the truth, because attempting to label his music under one specific genre is well near impossible.

Aparicio followed up “She Can Show Us” with a track entitled “Tattered Heart,” a fast-paced semi-ballad that utilizes a highly reflective guitar section reminding the listener of something U2’s Edge would employ. The song is quite simple lyrically, but the title track causes one to think of the challenges he has faced being an openly gay singer/songwriter in a world that is only beginning to embrace differences in sexuality. “I haven’t really had any sort of negative backlash from the public, and the LGBT community has been very supportive,” he notes, “but the challenge was really within myself.” He hearkens back to his early days starting out as a musician, and the dilemma of hiding his sexuality versus embracing it. “It took a few years for me to really accept who I was, and once I did I became open about it and was able to move on.”

The band finished the set with “Flowers,” a quiet piece in comparison to the first two that really emphasized his vocals and the use of vibrato in his singing. It was a lovely piece that balanced well with the first two tracks he played, and again summed up his diverse range of sounds. As for what lies ahead in his career, Aparicio plans to heavily promote the new album “Aerials” as he and his band head out on tour. “We have a couple gigs in New York first, then Milwaukee, D.C., and Rhode Island,” says Aparicio. “And that’s just the beginning.” After his in-studio appearance, it’s safe to say Ariel Aparicio is off to an excellent start.

Words and Photos by Seth Sprague - WERS 88.9 FM Boston

‘Aerials,’ Ariel Aparicio (Rock Ridge Music, HHH1/2)

This March 8 CD/digital release is Aparicio’s latest album and offering for Rock Ridge Music. The Cuba-born Miami-raised Ariel grew up surrounded by salsa, funk and disco rhythms, but discovered Aerosmith and Zeppelin during adolescence, which encouraged him to pick up a guitar. However, he never segregated genres of music. Thus, these seven songs, which were initially demoed by Aparicio and longtime guitarist Steve Dawson, blend musical genres, like the surf-guitar and tribal drum sounds at the base of the Bowie-influenced “Love Left Bleeding,” which is reinvented Latin-style later on as “Amor Sangrando.”

Read more:
- Sun Herald

7. MUSIC: Aerials, Ariel Aparicio
Available March 8, Aparicio’s latest genre-defying record toys with alt, punk, glam, dance tracks dependent on crunchy guitars instead of club beats, and a Latin flavor courtesy of his Cuban heritage. A fixture on Logo's NewNowNext and Click List, the Brooklyn-based musician explores themes inspired by his experiences as a married gay father and restaurateur. Standout “Sorry” touches on his acceptance of his sexuality. - The Advocate

Born in Cuba, raised in Miami and having moved to New York in the 80's, Ariel Aparicio grew up listening to as much Celia Cruz as he did David Bowie. That's a combination more logical than it sounds: Both were loud, dramatic and danceable, amazing musical storytellers with great hair and makeup.

I first became interested in Aparicio when I heard his cover of The Psychedelic Furs' classic "Pretty In Pink." While the original is a beautiful, feisty, confrontational song, Aparicio's version is an unabashedly sad remake for a friend battling cancer.
Aparicio's upcoming album is called Aerials and debuts March 8. Today, he's premiering the track "Tattered Heart" here on Alt.Latino. It's a song that finds Aparicio invoking all his childhood gods — the power of Bowie's vocals, the anthemic force of early U2 and the seductive imagery of Celia. As a Latina who grew up loving The Sex Pistols as much as Juan Luis Guerra, this seemingly impossible language makes perfect sense to me.
"Tattered Heart" is about giving yourself entirely, with no restraints. And that's exactly what Aparicio does. In an era of ironic coolness, his music is shamelessly honest and poignantly sentimental. He doesn't mock his musical deities; rather, he truly lets them possess him, fight for their turf within his music and whatever happens, happens. And the result is quite beautiful. "Tattered Heart" is at first a bit strikingly from another era, and then you realize that the guy dancing like it's 1999 isn't the one who is off—it's you for not joining in. - NPR Alt/Latino Blog

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Ariel Aparicio To Release New Album Aerials
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BY: Halley

If cowpunkers The Cramps, UK’s Body Rockers, Cuban son king Arsenio Rodriguez, and Prince threw down on an album, you’d get the totally nuts Cuban/American electro-guitarist Ariel Aparicio.

He’s about to release a new album Aerials in March, and he just bestowed the tracklist upon us! Unfortunately, that’s all we get at the moment, other than hints that it’ll be full of guitar-based dance tracks:
1. Love Left Bleeding
2. Tattered Heart
3. She Can Show Us
4. Sorry
5. Flowers
6. Caroline
7. Amor Sangrando
The out and proud Brooklyn-based singer first lulled 80s children with a rock cover of “Pretty In Pink,” which was a tribute to his friend who died of breast cancer. His recent EP The Bedroom Tapes proved that he was crazy versatile music-wise, but that he still wouldn’t forget the deceased. Wedged between dance rock, pure disco, and Latin folk songs is “People That Died,” a rowdy, cheeky, dark rockabilly number about AIDS that was showered in critical acclaim.

Check out “People That Died,” and below that, “Lucille” off The Bedroom Tapes.
- MTV Iggy

Ariel Aparicio may be Cuban-born and Miami-raised, but this entertainer is one of the uncrowned kings of NYC – not only does he co-own and run three very successful Brooklyn restaurants, but he’s become a headliner on the city’s punk alternative scene. The guy apparently doesn’t sleep! His sound is an indie infused shot to the vein, already having released four records, including 2008’s “All These Brilliant Things” and the single “Pretty in Pink” – a version that Richard Butler himself has stated his love for.

Aparicio is also very active in working for causes he stands behind – given the honor of being included in “OUTMusic’s Freedom of Expression” campaign in 2009. While we could go on and on about Ariel’s work (and even his popular restaurants), we wanna get into “Aerials”, the latest record on it’s way to your iTunes library. We asked Aparicio to get into it: “This is my most cohesive record to date, but manages to incorporate all my influences. I think of it and as Dance record with all guitars, highly influenced by the early 80's records of Grace Jones and New Order… my music is many things... Indie, Alternative, Punk, Dance, Latin, Classic Rock... but basically the formula is the same - churning, shoegazer like guitars with shuffling beats.”

Expect “Aerials” in March 2011. Ariel is busy on that NYC scene, so get up there and join the party. There’s a whole lot more to get into; keep going and read the answers to the XXQ’s. (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?

Ariel Aparicio (AA):I think my music is many things... Indie, Alternative, Punk, Dance, Latin, Classic Rock... but basically the formula is the same - churning, shoegazer like guitars with shuffling beats. It's hard to categorize my music as just one thing, and that's the way I like it.

PEV: What kind of music where you into growing up? Was anyone your main influence?

AA: Well, I grew up surrounded by the sounds of Cuban music and then came soul and disco and rock & punk.. I was into it all. But my biggest earliest influences were rock God giants like Zeppelin , The Doors, Queen and of course, BOWIE!!!!! That soon changed though. By the time I was in my first band, it was all about punk & new wave and of course, still BOWIE!

PEV: Having played in the business for a good time now, what was it like for you when you first started out?

AA: When I first started out, it was awesome. There was no "music business" attached to it. It was all about making music and having a good time doing it. Ahhhh, youth.

PEV: Do you remember the first time you thought to yourself – “I am really onto something!”?

AA: My first bands were pretty straight up.. 2 guitars, bass , drums. But at some point, while I was trying to put together my 3rd or 4th band (I can't remember), we couldn't find a bass player. So we went without... 2 guitars, drums and male & female lead vocals. I thought, "hell yeah, this is awesome!!" But people who came to see us were very confused. LOL!!! I thought we were this Fleetwood Mac meets Sonic Youth with no bass breaking new ground and people were like... "What the fuck???"

PEV: With that, what can fans expect from a live Ariel Aparicio show?

AA: Full frontal assault!!! We give you a Rock Show. None of this separatist, "Oh, I'm a little bored and way too cool" on stage attitude bullshit.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?

AA: Where's the scotch?? Kidding... I just want to stay in the moment.
PEV: Any preshow rituals before going on stage or do you just wing it?

AA: Lost's of them... Vocal warm-ups, guitar warm-ups, scrambling through through the setlist, outfits, eyeliner, tweeting, facebooking, online banking, etc.

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?

AA: A personal message and a driving spirit. I just want people to feel it in their core.

PEV: Tell us about your upcoming release, "Aerials". What can fans expect from this work?

AA: This is my most cohesive record to date, but manages to incorporate all my influences. I think of it and as Dance record with all guitars, highly influenced by the early 80's records of Grace Jones and New Order.

PEV: Do you ever find yourself getting writer’s block and if so, how do you get over that?

AA: Not really. I just write when I NEED to write.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Ariel Aparicio?

AA: He's much shorter than you think.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

AA: I think I always knew that somehow.
PEV: What one word best describes Ariel Aparicio?

AA: Cheeky, just like Thomas (the train).

PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?

AA: We don't go out for long periods. I have a 4 year old at home and I don't want to miss a thing. I do love when we have a few back to back dates because I enjoy playing so much but I have to get back home right after to see my husband and my kid.

PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

AA: Haven't been to Europe yet. I'll have to take the whole family though…

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?

AA: I actually haven't played Miami yet. We hope to do it this year. I have such a strong support team from family and friends, especially those friends I went to high school with. I can't wait to play for them. It's kinda like in "The Rose" when Bette Midler's character goes back home... Actually, it's nothing like that at all.

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

AA: What?? Spare time??? I have a husband, a 4 year old, a music career and 3 restaurants in Brooklyn... I barely have time to sleep.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

AA: Charlie Demos and Brett Gleason and DJ & remixer, Skarkord

PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think you would be doing as your career?

AA: Pornstar.

PEV: So, what is next for Ariel Aparicio?

AA: Releasing "Aerials" in March 2011 and touring. I'm also collaborating with Skarkord on a REAL Dance record. Trying to have another baby too, but I just can't seem to get pregnant... - PensEyeView

Brooklyn-based, genre-bending musician Ariel Aparicio will be releasing his new album, Aerials, via digital distribution on March 8, 2011, on Rock Ridge Music.

The sound of Aerials reflects an all-encompassing love of music. “I wanted to make a dance record, but with all guitars,” he explains. “I was trying to incorporate all the sounds that I heard when I was first going out to clubs where they didn’t just play ‘dance music,’ but would bring in all these other genres that you can dance to and appeal to everyone.”

Skope it Here: - Skope Magazine

A modern-day gay Renaissance man, Ariel Aparicio had 2009’s third most requested video – “Pretty In Pink” – on the LGBT cable network LOGO. The same year he released the EP “The Bedroom Tapes” (

Aparicio returned to Logo’s “The Click List” with the videos for “Lucille” and his remake of the late Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died.” More recently, he received a nomination for a 2010 Outmusic Award.

As if all that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, Aparicio and his partner of 15 years, Andrew Jerro, opened a third Thai restaurant in Brooklyn.

Aparicio took time out of his busy schedule, which includes fatherhood, to answer a few questions.

GS: You have had amazing success with music videos on LOGO’s “The Click List.”

AA: I grew up with MTV, so … I find it very exciting to add some kind of visual to a song. It’s very exciting for me to conceptualize everything that I do in terms of video. …It has opened up so many new fans. …I love it.

GS: The “Pretty In Pink” video was incredibly popular on “The Click List.”

AA: It stayed on there for about 18 weeks. …Then it ended the year at No. 3, which was great.

GS: What made you want to cover that song?

AA: I usually pick a band that I really like first. I’ve always been a huge fan of The Psychedelic Furs. When I was in college I had a T-shirt made that read, “Richard Butler is God.” (Butler) managed to hear (the cover) and he loved it. We share drummers. Paul Garisto is my normal drummer and he is still touring with the Furs. …He’s been with them since the mid-80s.

GS: The “Lucille” video was similarly well received. What does that kind of support from LOGO and from fans mean to you?

AA: It’s huge and it’s wonderful to have that kind of (national) outlet for the GLBT world. We didn’t have that before. We had little niches and local things. …What it’s done for me as a musician is pretty big. It’s really gotten my name out there and gotten my videos recognized. I love LOGO. They have been so supportive of me.

GS: I keep hoping that they will do a “LOGOpalooza” queer music festival.

AA: I pitched that to LOGO, but they didn’t take it. They’re not financially prepared at this point. I thought it would be fantastic. We did a show in New York – it was me and Josh (Zuckerman) and Athena (Reich), all Logo artists. … It was great. …I thought that this could work in other places … and markets. I’d like to keep it as diverse as possible … and bring on someone mainstream like Tegan and Sara or The Gossip. That was the idea: Have a headliner and then all of us nobodies opening. … (But) it’s hard to get that on the road financially.

GS: Your new EP, “The Bedroom Tapes,” also contains Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died.”

AA: That song has affected me immensely. It’s a very New York song. I remember first coming to New York and discovering all these older punk rock records. They were all on vinyl. “Catholic Boy” was one of the albums I bought on vinyl. I’ve had a lot of friends who have been affected by AIDS and drugs, so “People Who Died” really resonates with me. I wanted to give it new life and have it mean something else for someone hearing it for the first time.

GS: Both of the covers come from the early ’80s. Also, the song “The Future” reminded me of early Romeo Void.

AA: I think that’s my niche. There was a lot of great stuff that came out in that period. Romeo Void is such an awesome band. I think of Joy Division and very early New Order, that whole dark period which is really just 1980/81/82, before the 1980s started turning into something else.

GS: You sing in Spanish on “Torito.”

AA: I usually do something in Spanish on all my records, because it’s my roots and I always want to be tied to it. I enjoy singing in Spanish immensely. …And when I do I feel like Celia Cruz.

Spanish rock is very popular. We have a lot of young guys who work with us at the restaurant, most of them are from Mexico, and they play Spanish rock downstairs. I wanted to incorporate that into my music.

GS: How do you balance your music career with running three restaurants in Brooklyn?

AA: And raising a 4-year-old?

And a husband who’s pretty demanding?

I don’t think about it much. It’s all time management. I start my day doing what needs to be done, whether it is the billing for the restaurant or reaching out on Facebook or Twitter or the person who’s booking my gig. Honestly, my husband is incredibly supportive. - Wisconsin Gazette

Brooklyn-based, genre-bending musician Ariel Aparicio has signed to Rock Ridge Music with plans to release his next album, “Aerials,” via digital distribution in March 2011. Says Aparicio of the forthcoming album and his label partnership: “Aerials is my most complete work to date. Every song is there for a reason, every word and every sound. It manages to bring together all my musical influences - dance, alternative, punk, new wave, Latin and classic rock into one very cohesive-sounding record. I am thrilled that Rock Ridge decided to put it out. They are an amazing group of people who totally believe in this record and have gotten behind it, 100%."
Says label president Jason Spiewak of Aparicio: “Ariel Aparicio’s music is thoughtful and diverse, and we believe that music lovers will react strongly to his unique sound.”

A full track list and more information about Aerials will be released in January.

Born in Cuba and raised in Miami, Aparicio was surrounded by the rhythms of salsa, funk, and disco. The discovery of Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin in adolescence prompted him to grow out his hair and pick up the guitar, but Aparicio never segregated genres from one another. While the wider world is still discovering Aparicio's charms, trendsetters in the LGBT community have been aware of his work for several years; as early as 2005, The Advocate named him as a rising star to watch. His version of Jim Carroll's classic "People Who Died" was nominated for an OutMusic Award in 2010, and Aparicio was also the subject of OUTMusic's 2009 "Freedom of Expression" campaign, an effort to end the silent discrimination against openly queer artists in the entertainment industry. Songs and videos from his previous releases, including the bEdRoom tapeS, All These Brilliant Things, Frolic & F***, and All I Wanted have made him a popular fixture on Logo's NewNowNext and the Click List. His video for the track “Lucille” was ranked #7 for the second year in a row on Logo’s Best of 2010, while his cover of “Pretty In Pink” topped out at #3 on the same chart at Logo in 2009. Time Out New York calls him “a recording artist... who plays Gay Pride events and rock & roll clubs with equal élan.” - Music Remedy

As a youngster growing up in Miami, Ariel Aparicio always felt like an outcast. That’s nothing too unusual for a gay boy, but for Aparicio, who had emigrated with his family from Cuba in the early ’70s, his burgeoning sexuality wasn’t the only thing making him feel different.

“I always felt so uncomfortable,” recalls Aparicio (who prefers not to reveal his age) over a recent lunch interview. “I was Cuban, but also half black and half white. Plus, we grew up listening to Cuban music—every night was an impromptu jam, with congas and microphones and rum—but rock & roll was my thing. I tried really hard, though. I grew my hair really long!”

It must have helped a bit. Today he’s a recording artist whose videos are popular on Logo and who plays Gay Pride events and rock & roll clubs with equal élan. And this week he and his band, the Hired Guns, hit Arlene’s Grocery.

Bucking the mainstream was always in Aparicio’s blood: His family left Cuba because of their political activities; his father ran an anti-Castro newspaper that was underground but very well known. “If he got caught, he could have spent his life in jail,” he says with clear admiration.

Once in Miami, the musical kid tried to blend in with his classmates, listening to Donna Summer and other disco favorites. But when a friend turned him on to the Beatles and Kiss, he left disco in the dust. “Then came Led Zeppelin, and forget it,” he recalls. He learned how to play the guitar in high school, discovered punk rock, and soon fled to New York City to study music at NYU and give himself the freedom to come out. “I needed to move away from my family to acknowledge it,” he says.

He landed here and wasted no time finding himself—dating, going to punk shows, forming one band after another and dancing at Paradise Garage. “It was out of this world. It was beautiful,” Aparicio says of the nightclub. “It turned me on to house music, which was like punk rock, I thought: simple tracks, a bit dark, vocals. It touched you to the core.”

It also didn’t take him long to find the love of his life, Andrew Jerro, whom he has now been with for 15 years (they married in Connecticut just last year). The romance took a while to bloom, though. “He was, like, my straight friend—my last straight friend,” Aparicio recalls, laughing. They had worked waiting tables at a supper club together, and one night after work Jerro came out to him. “I screamed,”Aparicio says. “And the next night we went on a date. We’ve been together ever since.”

Their family has since expanded in a huge way, with the adoption of their son, Axl, now 4 years old. “It’s the most amazing thing,” Aparicio says. “I couldn’t have imagined the intensity of the bond. And it’s so much crazy fun! I love being a parent. I can’t wait to have another kid.” Both men had wanted to be parents from the start of their relationship, he says; they just weren’t certain then how they would make it happen. “There was a whole period in my twenties when I didn’t think it would be possible—when I was feeling really gay.”

Now Aparicio, who lives with his family in a Bay Ridge brownstone, balances parenting with writing, performing and recording—and with one more surprisingly demanding task that he shares with Jerro, which is running three Brooklyn Thai restaurants: Joya in Cobble Hill, Song in Park Slope and, as of last month, National in Fort Greene. They opened the first, Joya, ten years ago, after waiting tables at Williamsburg’s Planet Thailand (where Aparicio also deejayed). “We wanted to bring that hipster vibe to Cobble Hill,” he explains, adding that they also wanted to create a solid financial foundation for their future family. The two men partnered with Jerro’s brother and another friend, sought advice from Planet Thailand and dove in. A decade later, their empire is going strong.

Aparicio tends to find time for composing and rehearsing his music during afternoons. He just released his most recent album—a four-track EP called The Bedroom Tapes, with an upbeat drag-inspired song called “Lucille,” whose video debuted at No. 5 on the Click List—and has another coming out in early 2011. He describes his style as straight-up rock.

“All the influences I’ve had in my life—the Pretenders, the Cure, Grace Jones, Led Zeppelin, the Ramones, even Tito Puente and Celia Cruz—they’re all in there,” he says.

For The Bedroom Tapes, Aparicio explains, “I wanted to do something groovy, kind of like Prince, but with rawness and punk.” That album also features a cover of the Jim Carroll Band classic “People Who Died,” which was a huge influence on the musician. “It was one of those first songs I remember hearing as a kid and saying, ‘Wow, what is this?’ I’ve carried it with me my whole life, and it’s meant something different to me at different points,” he explains. “I don’t find it depressing. I find it empowering. It’s like keeping those friends I lost alive.”

Though he has seen a shift lately, rock in the gay world is still a bit of an oddity, Aparicio admits. “I love playing Gay Prides because it’s a built-in audience, and they’re incredibly receptive,” says the performer, who has played Pride events in Maryland, Virginia, San Diego, Boston and Brooklyn, to name just a few. “But it weirds people out sometimes, because they’re expecting another genre.”

Aparicio, though, continues to defy expectations—especially in his personal life, which is decidedly mellow for a rock musician. “I love my family life,” he says. “I’ve partied plenty, and I’ve seen lots of bands.” Next up, in fact, he hopes to go the way of the Shins, Cornelius and the Aggrolites and be a featured guest on one of Axl’s favorite Nickelodeon shows. “Yo Gabba Gabba,” he says with a laugh. “That’s my next goal.”

Ariel Aparicio and the Hired Guns headline at Arlene’s Grocery Fri 29.

Read more: This daddy rocks - Gay & Lesbian - Time Out New York

Something old, something new on Ariel Aparicio’s rock album “All these Brilliant Things”

(From Rock-Music-Blog-Online)

Before you read on, you need to understand the definition of the following two words:

eclectic [i-klek-tik]
1. Selecting or choosing from various sources.
2. Made up of what is selected from different sources.
3. Not following any one system, as of philosophy, medicine, etc., but selecting and using what are considered the best elements of all systems.

fun [fuhn]
1. Something that provides mirth or amusement.
2. Enjoyment or playfulness.
3. Of or pertaining to fun.
4. Whimsical: flamboyant.

These are the only two words I can use to accurately describe the music of Ariel Aparicio – eclectic and fun. Borrowing a bit from classic 70’s glam, punk and new wave, you can hear a little bit of everything on his latest album – All These Brilliant Things. Yet, as a whole, the album has flow and is full-filling. Its flavoring might lean more towards Bowie (as on “Heaven”) on one song, then towards The Stooges with others. Throw in some power pop-esque melody for good measure, and you’ll get the picture. But it does all this while establishing its own identity. All These Brilliant Things starts of in a quirky singer/songwriter mode, and soars onward and upward from there. Play this album at your next party – your friends will think you have the coolest mix-tape (or iTunes playlist) in town.

“Powerful and majestic…The sound is based on the true spirit of rock and roll, and is timeless in its quality.” Local Vertical

“Ariel Aparicio’s latest album, All These Brilliant Things is made in the spirit of the great rock event… With more thrills situated throughout, All These Brilliant Things makes for a good listen.” Parasites & Sycophants

“All These Brilliant Things is the third disc from Brooklyn musician and restauranteur Ariel Aparicio. The disc successfully brings together the sounds of 70's glam rock, 80's pop, and current-day post-punk.” Brooklyn Rocks

Here’s more about Ariel Aparicio (from his official bio):
“Ariel’s inspiration for the record came from a desire to create a timeless rock & roll album that would combine the majestic pop of Bowie’s “Diamond Dogs” with the full-frontal assault of The Stooges “Raw Power”. Tracks often begin with the kind of catchy, rhythmic riff-heavy stuff one might associate with “The Strokes”, before oscillating into wave-like guitar solos and cascading into b-sections of unpredictable melodic beauty. Songs like “Bones” travel from the unexpected arrival of a drunken horn section to the smash of a balls-out rocking verse. “Down In Tijuana” a short, lo-fi interlude on a record with otherwise meticulously detailed production (Ariel majored in audio-engineering at NYU) harkens back to his Latino roots with a brief Spanish language piece one could easily hear billowing forth from a beat-up old transistor in a Havana storefront. “Jameson & Cocaine” openly bemoans lost days of addiction, “Don’t take my Jameson & Cocaine”! While “Hang Around” is an anthem of optimism and perseverance written for his newborn son.” - Rock Music Blog Online

Hot Indie News, December 2004
by James Lane

Ariel Aparacio is back with his third release, "Frolic & F***" (Bully Records). Distinct from his past releases, this CD is full of raw retro-rock grit that is quite reminiscent of The Who or The Rolling Stones in their early and more interesting years.

Packed with driving beats, rolling bass lines, engaging vocal arrangements, psychedelic guitar work, and a healthy mix of influences from various genres, any listener is guaranteed to have at least one of these catchy tunes swimming around in their head for a couple of days.

Also included on this disc is a very daring and raw 10 minute mini-documentary video entitled "Ariel Aparicio Studio Session 02/11/04". The flick shows some of the behind the scenes frustration involved in trying to establish a productive dialogue with the rest of your team when there are layers of sound proofing between you and them.

Ariel Aparicio & The Hired Guns have definitely succeeded in creating and indie rock classic with "Frolic & F***".

- Hot Indie News

SLUG Magazine December 2004 CD Reviews
by Fat Tom

Ariel Aparicio = Bowie + Liz Phair + the Pretenders

Ariel is here to prove that gay Cubans don’t have to succumb to the stereotype of drag Latin pop nonsense. Instead, he and his live band The Hired Guns concentrate on rocking out with an eclectic mix of styles (funk, salsa, pop, disco, indie rock, reggae, new wave and punk). On this, Aparicio’s third album (his first on self-started label Bully Records), he takes time to thank Paul Westerberg not just in the liner notes but also with an acoustic cover of the Replacements’ classic “Unsatisfied” that shows Paul’s influence on his sound. The album finds Aparicio and the ’Guns concentrating more on their dynamic and snazzy rock-n’-roll sound but sporting a total punk attitude (also thanked in the liner notes are John Doe and Exene of X). This record more than his others emphasizes indie and pop punk with the occasional reggae beat —no salsa music this time around.

- SLUG Magazine October 2004
Ariel Aparicio w/The Hired Guns - Frolic & Fuck
by J-Sin

Ariel is here to prove that Gay Cubans don’t have to succumb to the stereotype of drag Latin pop nonsense. Instead he concentrates along with his live band The Hired Guns to rock out with a total punk attitude. He takes time to thank Paul Westerberg not just in the liner notes but also with complementary tunes that show Paul’s influence over his sound. After forming his own label Bully Records, Ariel has completely concentrated on his dynamic and snazzy rock-n-roll sound. This is the type of guy you don’t say “good luck” to—he’s already got plenty with talent to boot.


A fast-paced lyrical pantomime supplementing a fun and distinctive guitar riff make Ariel Aparacio's version of "People Who Die" one of those LPs that you play in the morning on the subway, and are hearing in your head on the subway home.

It is catchy; yes, the lyrics are an assortment of manufactured fantasies detailing elaborate ways that people die, but who is judging? It is a homage to the late Jim Carroll's punky 80's hit, with Brooklyn rocker Aparacio taking the initial recipe and sprinkling in a bit more energy. It tells a story throughout; something like Johnny Cash's "Don't Take Your Guns To Town" mixed with a Strokes number from "Is This It" EP, and similarly, people also die. "Tony could fly, Tony died" explains how Tony (we do not get to learn much about Tony) has no ability to fly, like most humans, but this fact, leads to his departure from this world. Alongside this are tales of hepatitis in Manhattan, hangings and subway suicides, and if you are curious as to whether this song is depressing, the answer is probably yes.

Possibly my favourite exit is by Kathy. Dear Kathy was just 11, "when she pulled the plug on 26 reds and bottle of wine". What does that mean? I have zero clue, but it sounds good. The EP was released July 6 in digital stores and if you haven't had time to download yet, "Lucille" is worth a listen on its own. Tongue-in-cheek in style, with the odd few naughty anecdotes, this original collabatory track illustrates quite a lady. I'm quite intrigued to see what her cellophane dress looks like as described by Aparacio and Khalid Rivera in this Prince/Bowie sounding concoction. A quirky song with a summer feel, hiding a sinister inner being that it allows to pop up throughout at chosen intervals, this is not a relationship that is going well, but damn, she's hot!

"Torito" is written for the Brooklynite's son, and this Spanish-infused lullaby smacks of a hero, racing on horseback through a desert in Southern Spain. Tonto/Torito?? You decide. Now, I do not speak a single word of Spanish and so I have absolutely no idea what is being said, although I did hear "New York" a couple of times. However, that does not detract from the fact this is a delicate personal ode to the artists loved one and he steps carefully to excite with visions of brave Zorro-like characters saving-the-day and quickly simmer the enthusiasm to create a lullaby of immeasurable youthful satisfaction. Fast forward to the psychedelic-mindtrip that is "The Future". Throwing out a raw rock-induced muddle of hypnotic delirium, the persistent chorus follows and follows until you slowly find yourself enjoying the repetition of such simple words. Four very varied songs with a style you cannot pigeon-hole but instead, a blend of world-renowned artists merged together to produce the bEdRoom tapeS.

He has already appeared at punk rock club CBGB, and venues such as Nokia Theater, MakeMusicNY for two summers in a row, MTV’s Out@MTVN event, and the NYC Knitting Factory. The single from the EP stands out as the commercial hit, taking what was good about an 80's hit and adapting it to a modern rock audience. He'll play at San Diego Pride this month with no dates yet mixed for New York, so watch this space. - New York Cool

Writing reviews of albums is fun. You get to listen to new music, quite possibly before it has even been released to the general public; you’re “in the know,” you’re glitterati, baby.

Reviewing an EP, however, can be a bit more difficult. It’s a smaller taste of an artist’s work. Sometimes the songs are unified thematically; other times, not so much.

There was a degree of trepidation felt at the prospect of listening to, and writing about, Ariel Aparicio’s new EP, The Bedroom Tapes. First of all, the second track is a cover of Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died,” an absolutely seminal post-punk paean to his lost friends. In 2009, at a Susan G. Komen fundraiser, Aparicio recorded a regular and a dance cover of the Psychedelic Furs’ “Pretty in Pink” that makes is seem as though lead singer Richard Butler had been positively bubbling over with emotion when singing the original. Aparicio’s far-too-exact enunciation of the lyrics made the song seem more an intellectual exercise than anything else.

Second, the third track is in Spanish, and two semesters of university Spanish classes mean the song is still completely incomprehensible. One cannot help but suspect that any song sung in Spanish is either incredibly insulting or really smutty, which wouldn’t be a bad thing necessarily, but one wants to know which it is.

At first listen, the quartet of tracks seem nothing more than some decent pop songs . . . until one gets to the final piece, “The Future.” It is so engaging, it engendered a second go-through for the EP, and it was on this replaying that the fullness of the artistry comes through.

While his biography says that his sound and style have been compared to David Bowie (no, I don’t hear it), the Stooges (absolutely!) and the Strokes (by God, yes!), there is a mix of the Cubano heart and the punk rock soul that is absolutely unqualifiable, unquantifiable.

The first song, “Lucille,” just sounds . . . dirty. Filthy. Raunchy. For a guy who’s been married to his husband for 15 years, hearing this sexual-sounding a track is almost disconcerting. One has no idea what the heck it’s about, but it definitely makes one feel funny, like climbing the rope in gym class.

While “People Who Died” lacks, by its nature, a bit of the passion that Jim Carroll infused into the original, it is still a punk anthem. Here is a list of those who went before their time, and how; a nihilistic memento mori.

“Torito” sounds like it could be playing on any stereo in the barrio, and there is something strangely reassuring in that. That a gay, punk Cuban-American Brooklynite can put out a song that could be the soundtrack of a trip to the bodega to buy a soda just makes everything seem, somehow, strangely all right.

And when one arrives at the final track, “The Future,” that “all right” becomes euphoria. It practically sounds like he stole an unreleased Strokes song with this one, and it is absolutely magnificent, the perfect blending of electronic, punk and garage musicianship.

In fact, it’s almost enough to make someone forgive that “Pretty in Pink” cover he released last year.

For more information about Ariel Aparicio, or to purchase his albums, go to - The Gay People's Chronicle

During the entire month of April, rocker Ariel Aparicio’s song “Pretty In Pink” will serve as encouragement for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. From April 1st-30th, Ariel will donate his proceeds of $.54 cents from each iTunes sale of his take on the Psychedelic Furs’ 1980s classic to the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen For The Cure ®


This campaign was inspired by Celeste Orangers- Ariel’s extremely close friend of over 20 years (they met the very first day Ariel checked into NYU’s Weinstein dorm) who was diagnosed in May 2005 with stage III breast cancer, and today can call herself a survivor. While recording his uplifting, violin-laden version of the song, Ariel decided he wanted to utilize the track as a vehicle for spreading optimism and hope amongst women battling the disease. By partnering with Komen Greater NYC, Ariel was able to utilize the song as a tool to raise money to be put towards the advancement of breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment to eradicate breast cancer as a life threatening disease.

Celeste Orangers’ treatment included chemotherapy, mastectomy, radiation, and what was then a brand new gene therapy- an IV drug treatment called Herceptin. In April 2005, Herceptin was just approved as a wonder drug in treating breast cancer, and Celeste was one of her doctor's first patients to receive it. “I believe I am here today because of that new protocol. Without the fundraising done by organizations like Susan G. Komen For The Cure ®, Herceptin would have been many years off, and I probably would not be here,” says Orangers.

Richard Butler (lead singer of The Furs), heard Ariel’s cover and reached out to say- “I loved the version… well done!” “Pretty In Pink” just hit #4 on MTV Logo's “The Click List” for the second week in a row and with continued fan support is on the rise to the top. Ariel’s previous single, “Life and Times” held the #1 position for 5 weeks in a row. While “Pretty In Pink” was released as a digital single only, Ariel released a full-length album, All These Brilliant Things in the Fall of 2008. The album received praise from the likes of The Deli Magazine, Skope Magazine, Out Impact, Gay Agenda, New England Blade and After Elton. Ariel’s sound and musical style has been compared to David Bowie, The Stooges and The Strokes. His next live performance is set for Friday, April 24th at 8:00pm at Public Assembly in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure was founded in 1990 and has raised over $45 million to date. The organization is devoted to its local community, disbursing up to 75 percent of net income to local breast health programs in the five boroughs of New York City, on Long Island and in Westchester and Rockland Counties. In 2008, Komen Greater NYC awarded close to $3.2 million in grants — $2.3 million will support 38 community-based organizations that provide breast health programs to underserved women, $225,000 will increase capacity of local researchers to enroll women in breast cancer trials, $45,000 will help fund local breast cancer conference and education programs, and $1.3 million will go for research. For more information, visit the Komen Greater NYC Website, - My

Singer/songwriter and restaurateur, Ariel Aparicio, was born in Cuba to musical parents, but raised in Miami. “Honestly, I don’t know what the scene is like in Cuba. My family left many years ago, and, unfortunately, I haven’t been back.”

He currently lives, works and plays in Brooklyn, NY along with his husband and four-year-old son.

Ariel is most heavily influenced by dance and rock. His music is a perfect blend of those elements along with his Latin roots. He draws inspiration from such eclectic punk artists as Grace Jones, Chrissie Hynde, David Bowie, The Strokes and The Stooges. His most recent full-length to date, "All These Brilliant Things," has received praise from HX, Out Impact, Gay Agenda and After Elton. That album spawned two videos which garnered airplay on MTV/Viacom's LOGO channel. The first single, "Life and Times," held the #1 spot on LOGO's most requested video show, “The Click List,” for three weeks and was nominated for two PILL Awards. The second, "The New World,” premiered on their much acclaimed “NewNowNext” music video program.

Last year, Ariel participated in OUTMusic’s “Freedom of Expression Campaign” to address the silent discrimination taking place within the entertainment industry and to encourage lgbt artists to be out and open about their sexuality. He was also selected by MTV as exclusive performer at their “National Coming Out Day” event at the NYC club, Therapy, last October.

Ariel recently held a coveted slot for “Stonewall: the 40th Anniversary Commemorative Concert & Benefit” at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square. This summer, Ariel will be playing featured slots at the Houston, Queens, Brooklyn, San Diego and Baltimore Prides and the Power of Pride benefit concert in NYC.

One of Ariel’s deepest regrets is never having come out to his father before he passed away. His son, Axl, has been to a couple of Prides with him, though. “I'm sure he will come to Brooklyn this year” Ariel states thoughtfully “The subject of Pride hasn't come up yet – I’m sure it will.”

How does this busy family man juggle two full-time businesses along with parenting and no nannies to speak of? “Soon to be three restaurants!” he corrects “We actually have a great schedule. We work at night, so yes, we do have some help. Our days are free, so we can spend them with our son. We take him to school every day and pick him up - we do pretty much everything together as a family.”

In 2009, Ariel covered The Psychedelic Furs’ "Pretty in Pink." The Furs’ own lead singer, Richard Butler, raved about that cover "I love the version - well done!" The “Pretty in Pink” video debuted on “NewNowNext” and spent eighteen weeks on “The Click List's Top 10,” ending the year as the #3 most requested video for 2009. It was nominated for a PILL award in the Best Music Video/Alternative category and was later revamped as a club hit remix with the help of the renowned Pocketknife team.

Ariel donated all proceeds from the April 2009 sales of the song to The Greater New York Susan Komen Foundation’s “Think Pink: Download For A Cause” campaign in honor of his good friend, Celeste Orangers, a Stage 3 breast cancer survivor. “Celeste is doing amazing!!” Ariel enthuses “She's one of my closest friends. However, she's making me help her move soon, so I'm not sure what's going to happen after that.”

For his upcoming full-length release, “Aerials,” Aparacio has been working closely with renowned producer and filmmaker, Tom Gilroy (who has worked with R.E.M. for many years and produced and performed with Michael Stipe and Hahn Rowe the single "Everything's Coming Undone" off the “Ciao, My Shining Star” compilation album) plus Aaron Kant as engineer and session drummer and long-time musical collaborator, Steve Dawson. The full-length will be recorded with both English and Spanish vocals.

Additionally, a new EP, “The Bedroom Tapes,” is set for release on July 6. His website describes it as a “four-song throwback to the punk-rock legends that emerged into the mainstream during the late ‘70s and ‘80s.” The first single, “Lucille,” is whimsical elegy about a transvestite of that name. The second single is an energetic cover of “People Who Died,” by the Jim Carroll Band and the only cover on the EP. The third cut, “Torito,” is the reworking of “Down in Tijuana/Hang Around” off the “All These Brilliant Things” album. It’s a Latin-flavored lullaby written for his son. The fourth and final cut, “The Future,” is pure acid punk rock. The tracks are interspersed throughout with cool little horn sections and rad guitar riffs while still maintaining Ariel’s classic Latino punk flavor.

For inspiration this time around, Ariel went straight to the classics: “A lot of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ and ‘Bob the Builder’" he chuckles.

Yep, he’s a Dad, alright.

For more information, visit Remember to catch Ariel Aparicio who will be one of the headliners at the Block Party on June 19. - Baltimore OUTloud


AERIALS (LP released 2011)
The Bedroom Tapes (4-song EP), Pretty in Pink Single, All These Brilliant Things, Frolic & F***, All I Wanted, Postcards From Machine, Loving the Alien (6-song EP), The Ebb and Flow (5-song EP), Mi Corazon

Tracks Currently Streaming:
New Single from latest album Aerials (to be released March 8, 2011 through Rock Ridge Music):

Other Music Streaming:



The soundtrack of Ariel Aparicio’s life is ever-expanding. Born in Cuba and raised in Miami, he was surrounded by the rhythms of salsa, funk, and disco. The discovery of Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin in adolescence prompted him to grow out his hair and pick up the guitar, but Aparicio never segregated genres from one another. As a young man sowing his oats in New York City, he was just as happy to revel in the punk and new wave noise of the Ramones, Blondie and the B-52's as he was when he was dancing to Larry Levan’s genre-bending, colorblind mixes of reggae, Grace Jones, electro, house and Talking Heads at the Paradise Garage. Today, Aparicio is a fixture in the NYC Indie/punk/alternative/queercore scene, where’s he’s balanced constant touring and releasing 5 records with co-owning and running 3 very successful restaurants in Brooklyn with his partner and husband of 17 years and raising their young son.

"Aerials" , Aparicio’s latest record, reflects that all-encompassing love of music. “I wanted to make a dance record, but with all guitars,” he explains. “I was trying to incorporate all the sounds that I heard when I was first going out to clubs where they didn’t just play ‘dance music,’ but would bring in all these other genres that you can dance to, all within the night, and appeal to everyone.” Aparicio is neither a young act recycling old trends for want of fresh ideas, nor a veteran artist struggling to stay relevant in a rapidly changing landscape. He simply makes his music the way he lives the rest of his life: in the now.

While the wider world is still discovering Aparicio’s charms, trendsetters in the LGBT community have been aware of his work for several years; as early as 2005, The Advocate named him as a rising star to watch. His version of Jim Carroll’s classic “People Who Died” won the OutMusic Award for Outstanding Rock Song in 2010, and Aparicio was also the subject of OUTMusic’s 2009 “Freedom of Expression” campaign, an effort to end the silent discrimination against openly queer artists in the entertainment industry. Songs and videos from his previous releases, including the bEdRoom tapeS, All These Brilliant Things, Frolic & F***, and All I Wanted have made him a popular fixture on Logo’s NewNowNext and the Click List. Solidifying Aparicio’s post-punk credentials, Richard Butler gave Ariel’s 2009 cover of “Pretty in Pink” a big thumbs up (“I loved the version… well done!”), and his rendition ended the year as the third most-requested video on Logo TV. In 2010, his video for "Lucille" (off his Bedroom tapes EP) was the #7 most requested video of the year on LogoTV.

Recent notable live performances include appearances at the Brooklyn, Queens, Boston, Virginia, San Diego, Milwaukee, Maryland and Rhode Island Prides. Ariel was also a featured artist at OUTMusic’s Stonewall: the 40th Anniversary Commemorative Concert & Benefit at the Nokia Theater in Times Square. In celebration of National Coming Out Day in October 2009, Ariel was asked to perform exclusively for MTV Networks’ staff at their Out@MTVN event held at NYC club Therapy. Also of note, Ariel & The Hired Guns were asked to play at CBGB’s in NYC on the 2nd to last night before the legendary venue closed its doors.