Punk Rockers The Bronx march on with Alter Ego Mariachi El Bronx
::Mariachi El Bronx ::
:: Fox Theater:: May 17 ::
By Levi Macy
For most musicians, trying to juggle a normal life along with a full time band can prove to be rather difficult. Somehow, Matt Caughthran and the rest of his bandmates are able to find the time to balance not only life with a band, but life with two bands of completely different sounds. It’s been over a decade now that L.A.-based punk band The Bronx have been sparking mosh pits and staying true to their hardcore roots. A little over four years ago they were approached to do an acoustic performance for a TV show. In order to not compromise the integrity of the ‘in your face’ hardcore sound of The Bronx, the band decided to pick up mariachi instruments and the rest, as they say, “is history.”
After faking their way through the TV performance they turned to YouTube lessons on how to actually play the instruments, which sparked the birth of Mariachi El Bronx, a six-piece mariachi band that has transcended the restrictions of punk rock and proved that it is more a state of mind than a form of music.
“The goal of the band has always been to be kind of a head scratcher, you know?” said lead singer Matt Caughthran during a recent interview with The Marquee “It’s sort of an opposites attract type of thing. We’ve always wanted to just make people think.”
Transitioning from a hardcore punk band to a full-on mariachi outfit was certainly one way to make that thought process start. At times, the world of punk rock can be rather unforgiving when it comes to bands making changes as drastic as The Bronx. Luckily, this didn’t prove to be much of a problem for the Los Angeles-based group.
The reaction has actually been pretty cool,” said Caughthran. “There have been a couple of random people that got pissed off. In the end, it really just comes down to how you maintain balance between the two bands. Most fans know that we are just a group of dudes. They get that punk is more of an idea than it is a sound. As long as we have that spirit in everything we do, they understand that’s more important than a distorted guitar. We have to make sure not to neglect either project. Everyone just wants to know that both bands still exist.”
In the time since Mariachi El Bronx became official, they have released two albums, a line of cologne, and embarked on multiple world tours. As one would expect, being in a mariachi band has opened them up to many new outlets and opportunities that may not have been easily obtainable as a hardcore group. In December, 2011, they played on “Late Show with David Letterman” and the gap-toothed host was beside himself with praise for the group.
“A ton of doors have opened for us. It all started with tours, but now we are into a whole new realm of music. We’ve been able to play Coachella and a few other large festivals. We’ve toured with bands like The Killers, opening us up to an audience we may not have been able to reach as The Bronx,” Caughthran said. “It’s all inspiring. Traveling the world with a punk group and traveling the world with a mariachi group are two totally different beasts. You’re going different places and experiencing different things. You can do the same tours over and over again in a punk rock band and that can sometimes wear on you,” he continued. “With Mariachi El Bronx we get to play with different artists and experience things that wouldn’t have been open to us as a hardcore band. The whole project has really revitalized everybody. It really is amazing.”
That revitalization is allowing the members to work non-stop on both projects. At the moment, The Bronx is in the process of finishing up their fourth full-length release and Mariachi El Bronx is gearing up to hit the road, which will bring them to Boulder for the first time, where they will launch the tour.
“Revolution Girls,” the latest single from Mariachi El Bronx, was recently remixed by Latin eletronica artists Los Macuanos, Super Guachin (ZZK) and Algodón Egipcio, and was released in late April.
On Record Store Day in late April, The Bronx and Mariachi El Bronx together released a split 12-inch. The special splatter-colored vinyl features both bands in their element — rocking their ferocious live show for rabid fans at intimate clubs worldwide. The six-song collection includes a cover of Hanoi Rocks’ classic “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” that features a guest appearance by Michael Monroe of Hanoi Rocks.
“It does get tough to balance between the two, sometimes. You know, there are only so many hours in a day and so many days in a year. It can get stressful but to be completely honest, I wouldn’t change anything about it,” Caughthran said.
::Mariachi El Bronx ::
:: Fox Theater:: May 17 ::
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