You know how people say they’re the world’s only this or the world’s best that?
We have one for you. Metalachi is the world’s “first-and-only” heavy metal mariachi band, at least according to Metalachi. You can see and hear for yourself Saturday at Agave in Avon.
Imagine Cheech & Chong raiding Gene Simmons’ dungeon and storming the set of a Mad Max movie with heavy metal mariachi music.
These five musicians — Vega De La Rockha (singer), Pancho Rockafeller (guitarron), El Cucuy (trumpet), Ramon Holiday (guitar), Maximilian “Dirty” Sanchez (violin) — insist on being interviewed in character because they don’t want to reveal their real names. The discussion wanders to chi-chis (slang for, well … it’s not the restaurant chain), cougar hunting and the very good sense Colorado’s body politic displayed in legalizing marijuana.
“Marijuana and alcohol, that’s the sweet spot for our shows,” said Eric Travis, the band’s tour manager.
They describe it as a musical comedy show. They’re in talks with Comedy Central for their own show, “sort of Reno 911 meets Spinal Tap,” Travis said.
“People come to the show looking for a musical comedy show, and they get it, but they come away thinking, ‘These guys can really play,’” Travis said. “You can make a musical comedy, but if the music falls flat, you have nothing.”
The thing is, it’s really good. These guys can play.
They’ve been the resident band at the Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas. Vinny Paul, the Pantera drummer, shows up when they’re in town. Dave Lombardo, the drummer for Slayer, came in to perform some of his band’s classics.
“People see these legends of rock music performing mariachi music. It’s amazing,” Travis said.
You have to listen to their version of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” Black Sabbath’s “Crazy Train?” Even in Ozzy Osbourne’s most crazy moments did he think of Crazy Train like this.
They were voted one of the best live shows in Southern California by the website Examiner.com.
“We like to do the hard stuff for the metalhead vatos,” said de la Rockha. “When the guys get pumped up, the women get excited, too. They love to see that machismo headbanging in action; you know, fool? We have to represent.”
Their goals are not complicated. They want to play music and meet girls.
The band’s story is as outrageous and entertaining as they are. Here’s the abridged version, which is to say, they made it up: They claim to be quintuplets abandoned by their karaoke queen mother, who packed into saddlebags on a burro to make their way from Juarez, Mexico, to Los Angeles. The trip took 14 years and the animal died of exhaustion. but the brothers crossed the border, found a discarded Black Sabbath record and became the “greatest heavy metal band to ever live.”
The real story
Trumpet player El Cucuy tells a slightly less outrageous version.
They’re five brothers, all classically trained mariachi musicians.
They really are brothers from Juarez, a Mexican border town south of El Paso, Texas. They crossed the border when they were young, Travis said.
“They learned English listening to heavy metal music, so they shouted a lot and spoke with an English accent,” Travis said.
As children they played mariachi at weddings and quinceaneras to make money. They like money, but they love heavy metal. This part is also true: The band owned a copy of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid,” and it was the only record they owned.
They would have become a metal band if they’d had money to buy electric guitars and a drum kit. Times were tough, so they adapted metal music to the instruments they had.
And the crowd went wild.
“We played ‘Iron Man’ for a grandma at a quinceanera and she got up and danced. So we thought, ‘Hey, we’re on to something,’ you know?” El Cucuy said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.