Jorge González (musician)
|Birth name||Jorge Humberto González Ríos|
|Born||December 6, 1964|
|Genres||Rock, avant-garde, alternative rock, pop rock, folk rock, punk rock, post-punk, ska, hardcore, new wave, rockabilly, electronic, synthpop, techno, Latin rock|
|Labels||Fusión, EMI/Odeon, Capitol, BMG, Alerce, Warner Music, Cadenza|
|Associated acts||Los Prisioneros, Gonzalo Martinez, Los Updates, Los Black Stripes|
Jorge González Ríos is the former lead singer, main songwriter and sole composer of the Chilean band Los Prisioneros, and is currently the frontman of Los Updates. Los Prisioneros enjoyed a huge level of popularity and success initially in Chile and eventually all of Latin America beginning in 1984. The band called it quits in 1992, and González went on a successful solo career.
Dissolution of Los Prisioneros
In February 1989 Claudio Narea discovered love letters from his bandmate Jorge Gonzáles to his wife. Jorge, also married, admitted the adultery, and when Claudio had reconcilled with his wife Jorge proposed a threesome. Claudio refused and the day after the refusal Jorge attempted suicide by taking himself 16 valium pills and self-injuring. In 1990 Narea left the band, and Jorge and Miguel Tapia continued with new members until 1991.
In February 1989 Gonzalez finished mixing "Corazones", their fourth and most successful album. He stayed in L.A under Gustavo Santaolalla's guidance. Back in Chile he started rehearsing for a tour with Claudio Narea and Miguel Tapia. One month beforehand Narea quit amid rumours of the love triangle, embarking on a series of interviews with the Prisioneros hating right wing press, blaming his exit from the successful trio on a "sell out" by the band. But he later decided to ghostwrite a "tell all" book with a writer from El Mercurio, the main dictatorship newspaper, an unexpected move coming from a musician until then considered a hero. In a heavily militarized Chile his juicy story got enhanced with Acid House debauchery (Gonzalez claiming to be the first Latin artist to embrace House and Techno) and colourful tales of drugs and madness. The band split and Jorge got signed by EMI UK and embarked on a successful career until he suddenly broke up a multi-million 6 album deal in order to look for musical freedom, saying goodbye to stardom for almost a decade. He became a cult figure for some and a "troubled" character to the mainstream.
Immediately after the first Los Prisioneros's breakup, EMI offered Jorge a very costly solo record deal. Jorge signed and began work on his first solo album. The album was self titled, it was released in 1993. The album sold well in Chile, and received moderate airplay outside of Chile as well. EMI was internally disappointed with the sales, although the album was certified platinum, the record label was expecting higher numbers. Even Jorge himself in interviews recalled that "during 1993 everyone was plagiarising grunge, something I was totally against" in reference to the short lifespan of the album's presence in the charts.
Under contract, Jorge went on to record another album with EMI, "El Futuro Se Fue". Jorge was in a London studio recording the album, carefully overseeing the production himself. "El Futuro Se Fue" was the antithesis of the lavishly produced first solo album. Jorge has admitted in interviews that during the songwriting process of the album he found himself under the influence of drugs and had recently discovered the folk music of Victor Jara. The result was a mix of folk rock with a tinge of electronic sequencers in the background. EMI was disappointed with the album, nonetheless it was released in 1994. The album did not reach platinum status and has been oout of print since approximately 1995. The album is now much more highly regarded than when initially released. Similarly, while in Los Prisioneros, this happened with the album La Cultura De La Basura.
Around 1995-1997, Jorge moved to New York. Although he spent lots of time in studios, as well as having his own home studio, Jorge attended the Institute of Audio Research engineering school in New York City to further his audio engineering knowledge. He also worked with Dandy Jack to produce the duo "Gonzalo Martinez" which was a hit in Europe, the album is a mix of traditional cumbia music all done through electronic programs, synthesizers, and sequencers. Around this time he reunited with Miguel Tapia (former drummer of Los Prisioneros) and formed a group called Los Dioses. Argenis Brito joined in as well, and they formed a trio. The band was a vehicle to promote the "Gonzalo Martinez" album in Latin America. A couple of concerts took place in Chile and Peru and the group proved to be a short stint, nearly lasting a year. Jorge in interviews has gone on to say that the album was ahead of its time for Latin America, while he compares that in Europe the album immediately took off. In 2004 Jorge also sang lead vocals for the electronic minimal dance group Sieg Uber Die Sonne in the album "+1" which was a very well received album in Europe.
In 1999, Jorge signed with Chilean label Alerce. He began work on "Mi Destino: Confesiones de una estrella de rock" after various rehab treatments in Cuba. He completely produced the album himself in his home studio. The album was released in 1999. The album was much better received than "El Futuro Se Fue" and he promoted the album through various television program appearances and performances. However, he never toured with the album even though reviews for the album were positive. The album is considered one of his most consistent albums in his solo career and is currently his last solo album under his own name.
Los Prisioneros reunion
In 2001, Jorge had a reunion with former Los Prisioneros bandmates Miguel Tapia and Claudio Narea. They agreed to put past differences aside and reunite as a band. Unlike most bands, Los Prisioneros reunited without any sponsorship from any company and promoted their own concert in the Estadio Nacional of Chile scheduled for the 30th of November, 2001. Ticket sales sold out immediately. Due to overwhelming demand, a second night was announced for December 1, 2001. Both concerts sold out within hours of their announcements. Both nights in total brought in approximately 140,000 people in attendance. This historic moment in Chilean music was documented on a two disc DVD containing footage from the concert released in 2002 along with a separate audio only two disc CD set also released in 2002. Throughout 2002 a long tour in Chile was successful and in 2003 they played in various other countries in Latin America, Spain, and the US In early 2003 they began work on a new studio album, which was released by Warner Music Latina in 2003. The album was instantly certified platinum prior to release. Reviews for the album were mixed and after more touring, Claudio Narea announced his departure from the group through their official website. Various media outlets covered the story which caused a stir in the media. Jorge announced the band would continue without Claudio and in 2004 released "Manzana" which was well received when compared to the self titled album from 2003. A lengthy tour followed throughout 2004-2006 that included Latin America, the U.S. and Canada. Guest musicians featured Gonzalo Yañez on guitars and back up vocals and Sergio "Coty" Badilla on guitars, back up vocals, and synthesizers. Initially the band was going to relocate in Mexico to in a sense "start over" as Jorge put it. Reasons for relocating were simply because of the bad press in Chile who took sides with the former guitarist Claudio Narea. Miguel Tapia and Sergio "Coty" Badilla told Jorge they would not move from Chile. Jorge understood and through their official website announced the dissolution of the band which took place in March 2006.
In the summer of 2006, after relocating to Mexico, D.F., Jorge along with his wife Loreto Otero formed the duo Los Updates. They began networking through Myspace and built a fan base which consists of various people around the world. Los Updates music is solely composed and produced by Jorge with Loreto providing back up vocals and playing the synthesizer for live concerts. Initially she only sang back up and was in charge of controlling the visuals on stage. The music is self described by them as minimal dance house music. They released an E.P. in Chile in the summer of 2007, and the E.P. was released in Mexico in 2008 with bonus remix tracks. In Chile, both singles from the E.P. were ranked number 1 since their debuts in the Chilean music charts. Jorge was invited to perform in the Cumbre del Rock Chileno (a huge festival featuring over 40 bands) in 2007 by himself in Chile, and negated rumors of a possible Los Prisioneros reunion. He performed a 20 minute set by himself in front of approximately 40,000 people with only a Fender Telecaster strapped on. He later went on to perform on a few dates (again, by himself) of a small festival tour called Garage Music festival which featured a few national Chilean rock bands.
In 2008, Jorge decided to organize a short tour in Chile similar to his appearance in the Cumbre del Rock Chileno which was regarded in the press as one of the highlights of the festival. Around this time he was dubbed by various media outlets as the "Father of Chilean Rock" a title which Jorge has called flattering but at the same time nothing he's taking too seriously. The tour proved to be successful and promised to release a CD and DVD documenting the concerts. He appeared in a few television programs during the tour and claimed to have organized the tour in order to get out the idea of playing by himself in small venues before he lost the momentum to do so. He announced that with the tour over, he would go to work with Los Updates full time and on September 22 a full length studio album was released in Europe and was imported to the U.S. on September 30. Currently Los Updates have a few concert dates in Chile, Argentina, México, Ecuador, Colombia, USA, Peru, Berlin, Zürich, Paris, and London.
His current shift into pretentious and plastic, electronic music is seen by many as a "sell out" dude to superficial lyrical content and insincere delivery.
- Jorge González (EMI-Odeon - 1993)
- El Futuro Se Fue (EMI-Odeon - 1994) (The Future is Gone)
- Gonzalo Martínez y Sus Congas Pensantes (RCA/BMG - 1997) (Gonzalo Martinez and His Thinking Congas)
- Mi Destino: Confesiones de una estrella de rock (Alerce - 1999) (My Destiny: Confessions of a rock star)
- Los Updates EP (2007) in Chile released under: Feria la Oreja, in the U.S.: Nacional Records, in Argentina: Secsy discos, and in Mexico: Noiselab Records
- First if you please part 1 (2008) 12" remix album on Cadenza Records
- First if you please part 2 (2008) 12" remix album on Cadenza Records
- First if you please (2008) (full length album CD) on Cadenza Records
- Libro (2013) (Book)
- Claudio Narea: El hombre que perdió todo por Los Prisioneros La Tercera, January 17, 2009.