Los Gallos
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Los Gallos

Band Rock Latin


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Latin music, groups moving into Houston mainstream"

Language isn't the only barrier that's made rock en español Houston's best-kept musical secret.

For years, local bands have toiled away in an underground scene, scoring gigs at hole-in-the-wall venues and fighting for attention amid the chatter of Mexican restaurants with none of the promotion and radio play reserved for Latin pop and salsa performers.

Spanish rock, however, is about to get its due in Houston.

In addition to recent radio format changes to Spanish-language music at KROI (92.1 FM) and KLOL (101.1 FM), Numbers Nightclub kicks off Latin Groove at 9 tonight, a twice-monthly event featuring some of Houston's best Spanish rock acts..

The legendary hot spot has hosted an eclectic array of entertainers over its 25-plus years (Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Erasure, Macy Gray), but this showcase — replacing the club's goth night — is the first time Numbers has dedicated a slot to showcasing all things Latin.

Promoter Alex Lozano is looking to change that. His one-man production outfit is dedicated to touting local music and an overall awareness of Houston's entertainment scene.

"I've seen other Latin events that (clubs) have tried to do weekly, but I wanted to add more," Lozano says. "I don't think there's as many rock 'n' roll español bands as there could or should be in Houston — yet."

Leading the pack for the inaugural Latin Groove is headliner Volátil. The bilingual Volátil — singer Cynthia Lopez, guitarist Rick Mendez, drummer Luis Martinez and bassist Marco Tax — has been performing around Houston for four years..

Lopez's passionate vocals are a fiery mix of Alejandra Guzman's grit and Gwen Stefani's buoyant pop. Lopez also writes most of the groups original material with Mendez, though their songs were slow to earn a warm reception.

"When we first started, we were going to different bars and clubs," Lopez says. "They were like, 'So you play Selena? You play Elvis Crespo?'

"Because you put the Spanish in front, they automatically think salsa, merengue or Tejano."

Because of the uphill climb, many of the rock en español groups have banded together, doubling up for gigs, keeping tabs on each other and even swapping out members when needed. That's an entirely different universe from the often-competitive nature that consumes Houston's rap and rock scenes.

"We have to help each other out," Lopez says. "There are other bands that feel a little competition. It's because there's only so many places that you can play, and we're all trying to get there and get paid. (But) if you build that negativity, it's just too tense."

In fact, Volátil shares the stage Friday at the Better Times Bar & Grill with local band Los Gallos. The group also has two upcoming gigs — Dec. 10 at Helios and Dec. 31 at the White Swan — with another local act, Triple, which has been on the circuit for about 18 months, though the band's history is longer than that.

Triple singer Jerry Villanueva, guitarist Jessie Gonzalez and drummer Rolando Martinez spent eight years as part of local outfit Tribu de Ixchel, which released two albums and toured with Mexican rockers El Tri.

With bassist Jorge Siller and keyboardist Dustin Torres, the band creates a well-rounded groove that wouldn't be out of place on mainstream Spanish radio.

"This is like starting all over, but we've been fortunate," Villanueva says. "We've kept a lot of our following from the past, and I think the sound of the band has improved drastically.

"I think there are a lot of fans out there that like Spanish rock, but it's kind of got an underground feel. With so many stations playing a lot of Latin rock — a lot of Latin music, period — it's starting to unfold."

Max Rios, guitarist for fellow rockers Los Gallos, has seen the highs and lows of the music industry. From 1987 to 1996, he was part of successful Tejano group Latin Image.

Rios has been performing with Los Gallos — also featuring vocalist Chuck Pena, bassist Dennis Taylor and drummer David Martinez, Jr. — for four years, showcasing a hard-edged brand of bilingual rock.

Now 38, Rios sees many parallels between today's Spanish rock rumblings and yesterday's Tejano heyday.

"I see the same potential that Tejano had," he says. "It's just a matter of lighting that fire and staying consistent. We all know the demographics are here. I don't know what the missing piece is, but there is excitement for it."

For The Chronicle


- Houston Chronicle


Barrio Boogie - EP
5 MO - EP



Los Gallos hail from the industrial east-end of Houston, TX. The side where the sun comes up first and the blue collars never fade. It's home to the cultural clashes of norteno, rap, conjunto, rock, cumbia, jazz, taquerias, and hierberias. A place where a killer Santana groove sets the pace for a nice long cruise on the endless highway to chillsville.

Sorry, the best we can offer is a bunch of bleeding heart romantics, who never really get the girl. Los Gallos represent the many oxymorons that exist in the culture. Where El Gallo is a symbol of machismo and bravado, these Gallos enjoy writing songs about the one that got away, the one that could have been or the one that will never be. Almost enough heartache to give a Gallo a complex. But, we know it takes a real Gallo to make gallitos.

Los Gallos are a Houston based quartet featuring Chuck Pena on vocals and percussion, Max Rios on guitar and vocals, Odi Rodriguez on bass and vocals, and Izzy Lopez Jr. on drums. The group has been together for two years and is active in the greater Houston music scene. They have just released their new EP, entitled "Barrio Boogie", under Tôn It Up Records and are currently planning tours in Texas and Mexico. The CD is comprised of five original tunes that range somewhere between Elvis Costello, the Gin Blossoms, to Guns n Roses (Is there a correlation? You be the judge).

Rios claims that a lot of his lyrical inspiration centers on relationships either falling apart, coming together, or never happening at all. He says most of his ideas come from personal experience, not always his own, but from people around him. He also confesses, "tele-novelas" (Spanish soap opera's) are a good source for juicy stuff. There is one song (Mr. Ugly Stick) that carries a bit of a political tone and was written on September 12, 2001. On occasion we get a little pissed off and music is a good way of easing some of life's anxieties.

When asked why they chose a gallo to represent the group, Pena explains, "all the cool animals were taken up - Los Jaguares, Los Tigres, Los Palaminos, Los Tucanes, Los Lobos, and so on. We basically wanted to be a bit comical about it. Not that we don' take ourselves seriously, but we like to just have fun. You know it's worked for us, because everyone can say pico de gallo".