Renegade (band)

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Renegade (L-R): Luis Cardenas, Kenny Marquez, Tony De La Rosa
Background information
Origin Whittier, California, United States
Genres Rock, rock and roll, glam metal, Latin rock
Years active 1983–present
Labels Allied Artists Music Group, Columbia, Warner Bros., Capitol
Associated acts Luis Cardenas, Tony De La Rosa, Kenny Marquez
Members Luis Cardenas
Kenny Marquez
Tony De La Rosa
Past members Daryl Sanchez
Steve Mercado
Danny David Flores

Renegade is an American rock n' roll band composed of Luis Cardenas, Kenny Marquez and Tony De La Rosa. Although each member hails from the United States, the band is widely recognized as being the first Hispanic or "Chicano rock" band to gain acceptance in the United States. Throughout Latin America, the band is referred to as Los Renegados. Renegade has been referred to by Ritmo Beat Magazine as Chicano rock-gods.[1]


Renegade was formed by Luis Cardenas in Whittier, California.[2] and were unusual in being ethnic Hispanics playing rock music. Building a local following and subsequently winning a record contract, the band released the albums "Rock n' Roll Crazy", "Renegade II - On The Run", "Nuns On Wheels" and "Renegade Live". The band sold well in Mexico, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom and locally in California, but did not enjoy the same level of success throughout the United States as they did internationally. In the United States, the band was widely viewed as teen idols, appearing in Tiger Beat, 16 Magazine, BOP Magazine and television programs, such as "Dance Fever", which often overshadowed their musical prowess. The band was successful enough in the United States, to headline music festivals with bands such as 38 Special, Foreigner, Journey and Night Ranger. Renegade toured throughout the world in their own Learjet, and was popular enough in the late 1980s to be asked by Kenny Rogers to appear on the Texas-New Mexico Border with Lionel Richie and Lee Greenwood to support Rogers' Hands Across America effort.[3] Renegade was the Saturday night headline attraction for the Los Angeles Street Scene Festival in both 1985 and 1986, with audiences of 150,000 in attendance.[4] In 1990, the band was featured in a 98-minute television special aired on MTV International, entitled "Renegade MTV Special."[5] Cardenas reprises his original "Let It Out" drum solo during the MTV Special, finally committing his masterful performance to a visual experience.[6] The band was honored in August 2001 at a David Hasselhoff hosted event at the Conga Room, in Los Angeles for record sales in excess of 30 million units worldwide.[7]


Being from Mexican origin proved to be a barrier for the members of Renegade during their early years.[8] The band's manager and producer, Kim Richards, is a music industry veteran (Pink Floyd, Queen, America, Mike Pinera, Iron Butterfly and Kevin DuBrow of Quiet Riot). Richards was unable to get the band booked at local Los Angeles clubs as a result of their skin color and a perception that a group of "Mexicans" would bring in spray cans and knives. Richards told Performance Magazine:

"[T]here used to be a place called Flippers Roller Disco in West Hollywood that booked bands and had a lot of industry people hanging out. I played Renegade’s demo tape for the booker, and he said, ‘great, sure, your guys are booked for next Wednesday. Got a picture? "Well, I gave him a group photo and he looks at it and says, ‘Oh... Latino, huh? Let me just check the book here a second. Oh, I made a mistake, we already had a booking for that night .. sorry.’ "I said cut the jive. I know what’s happening. He finally admitted he didn’t want the spray paint and knife carriers coming in to see the group. I was truly surprised by this, especially in this so-called enlightened age. I found that another very key club owner in town had the same attitude about us. But this increased my determination to make Renegade work. If they didn’t make it, it wasn’t going to be because of discrimination.." said [Kim] Richards. He finally went to Bill Gazzarri, a longtime friend of Richards and owner of a teen dance club that helped establish "video go-go dancing" in the 60’s on the Sunset Strip. "I said Bill, you’re the only one left. I want this band booked. Bill said, ‘You can put em on every Wednesday night. This is my joint, and I do what I want with it.’" Said Richards... "They [began doing] SRO business [with Renegade] every Wednesday night ... Suddenly, that big club owner who’d turned me down contacted me about booking the band. I decided if Renegade was to play a club that turned the group down when we needed the club, the group was going to get 100 percent of the door plus 20 percent of the bar. I eventually got 100 percent of the door and 10 percent of the bar.[9]

Renegade's original record label wanted the band members to change their names to more "Americanized" names, but Richards supported their refusal, ultimately prevailing. Richards opted to go the opposite direction and promoted the band's ethnicity, persuading then Warner / Electra / Atlantic Distribution (WEA) head Nesuhi Ertegün to release the band's single, Girls, Girls, Girls in Latin-America. The single shot to the top of the charts effectively forcing a worldwide release of the band's first album, Rock N' Roll Crazy!. Los Renegados, as the band is known throughout Latin-America, became a household name based on a combination of the band's teen idol appearance and the fact they were Latin.

Luis Cardenas Solo Projects[edit]

Cardenas personally achieved additional fame in the United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico, and especially throughout Europe, where he participated in a TV show resulting from his having broken the world record for having the world's largest drumkit, which had previously landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records.[10] Ironically, Cardenas's solo efforts have helped overcome Renegade's original teen idol image in the U.S., for that of a highly regarded musical unit. Unlike many drummers of the 1980s, Cardenas proved his drumming ability with the band's debut live track "Let It Out" in which he performs an intricate drum solo that comprises nearly a quarter of the song, ala Iron Butterfly's In Gadda Da Vida.[11] After being inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records, Cardenas intentionally reduced the size of his drum kit to avoid being known for its size, rather than his personal skills as a drummer.

Cardenas released a solo album called "Animal Instinct", and the first single "Runaway", a cover of a Del Shannon original, became a worldwide hit. This was mainly due to an excellent video that included cameos by Del Shannon and Donny Osmond, which received heavy rotation on MTV for many weeks, and ultimately became the most added video in history, with rotation as diverse as BET. Cardenas won a National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) Best Rock Video Grammy Nomination for his Runaway Video and its documentary, The Making of Runaway.[12] The Runaway video was an instant MTV favorite, propelling Cardenas into the Top Ten worldwide and added to the international cache of Renegade as a result of Cardenas's personal success.[13] Further singles and unique videos followed, such as the Cardenas penned Hungry For Your Love, which included another captivating video with Phyllis Diller and Cardenas's pet tiger, Bundi.[14] Although Hungry For Your Love shot up the carts worldwide, it did not match the initial success enjoyed by Runaway. Cardenas took some time off from public appearances between 1990 and 1993, but recorded two albums during that time that have not yet been released.

Renegade Returns to the Studio[edit]

In 2000 Cardenas was once again with Renegade and the band was hopeful of regaining past glories. Renegade headlined a performance at the Los Angeles Staples Center for Infinity Broadcasting shortly after the September 11 attacks to raise funds for victims. In 2002, the band announced another charity concert at the Hollywood House of Blues to benefit the Music Cares effort to put music back into schools. Despite a high ticket price (all going to the charity) the show sold out in a matter of minutes and was turned into a video production.[15] Renegade invited a number of their industry friends, such as Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard), Mike Pinera (Iron Butterfly, Blues Image and Alice Cooper) and Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac) to join them. Pinera performs his signature songs (Ride Capatin Ride, Ina Gada Da Vida) with Renegade backing him up. Cardenas performs his version of the legendary drum solo from Ina Gadda Da Vida.

Renegade waves to crowds during annual East Los Angeles Parade

Renegade's past successes, caused Ritmo Beat Magazine to refer to them as the first Latin rock band, hailing them as Chicano rock-gods.[16] Transcending a generation, children ten years of age and younger can be heard screaming "Los Renegados" as the band makes its way through East Los Angeles in the annual Cinco De Mayo parade.[17] The members remain tight knit today.[18] According to Allied Artists Music Group, the band continues to write and record music and may announce yet another world tour.[19] The DVD Renegade Live @ The House of Blues, that contains some older material, brand new material and a jam session with guitarist Mike Pinera, was released in the United States in September 2009.[20][21]

New Solo Projects for Luis Cardenas[edit]

Luis Cardenas is now working on a new album entitled "Generations" to be released in 2012. This time around Cardenas is including his two sons, Nick and Zach Cardenas, who are themselves drummers.[22] Whether a Renegade album will precede or follow the new Cardenas album is unknown at this time. Being well regarded as both a musician and drummer, Cardenas is a sought after studio musician and has produced several local bands, as well as writing material for various artists.


  1. ^ Ritmo Beat Magazine,
  2. ^ Deney Terrio, host of Dance Fever introduced Renegade in what is believed to be their first national television appearance as being from "Whittier, California". Renegade was formed by Cardenas and the band's manager/producer Kim Richards,
  3. ^ See Career Highlights Press Articles,
  4. ^ Los Angeles Times,
  5. ^
  6. ^ and
  7. ^ David Hasselhoff Introducing Renegade at 30 Million Platinum Sales Award event,
  8. ^ Ritmo Beat Magazine
  9. ^ Performance Magazine,
  10. ^ Guinness Hall of Fame Awards Program hosted by David Frost on YouTube
  11. ^ MTV Presents Renegade Live on YouTube
  12. ^
  13. ^ Luis Cardenas Runaway Video on YouTube
  14. ^ Hungry For Your Love Video on YouTube
  15. ^ Renegade Live @ The House of Blues,
  16. ^ Ritmo Beat Magazine Article,
  17. ^
  18. ^ The members of Renegade made the rounds together at the 2009 NAMM Convention in Anaheim.
  19. ^ Allied Artists Website,
  20. ^ Allied Artists DVD Promo,
  21. ^
  22. ^ Artists Music Group bio for Luis Cardenas

External links[edit]