Los Saicos

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Los Saicos
Origin Lima, Peru
Genres Garage rock, protopunk, surf rock
Years active 1964–1966, 2006–2011
Labels DisPerú, El Virrey, Electro Harmonix, Repsycheld Records
Associated acts Los Yorks
Past members
  • Erwin Flores
  • Rolando “Chino” Carpio
  • César "Papi" Castrillón
  • Pancho Guevara

Los Saicos are a garage rock band of formed in 1964 in Lima, Peru, and have become recognized as a global pioneers in protopunk.[1] In a short amount of time during the 1960s, they became one of the most successful groups in their own country, fashioning a unique surf-influenced garage sound, that would anticipate certain aspects of the later punk rock movement of the 70s.[2] In addition to composing their own songs, written by band members Erwin Flores and Rolando Carpio, they are sometimes mentioned as the first South American band to record exclusively their own material. They released six singles between 1965 and 1966, of which the best known are "Demolition", "Fugitive of Alcatraz" and "The Burial of Cats," which have become anthems in Peruvian rock and, over time, have led to the recognition of the band worldwide. Though they broke up in 1966,[3] Los Saicos re-united in 2006, and have since continued to play occasional venues.


History[edit]

Years of activity[edit]

The band was formed in the tough Lince district of Lima in 1964 by guitarist and vocalist, Erwin Flores and drummer, Francisco Guevara, who were just out of high school.[4] They asked Roland "Chino" Carpio, previously of the group, Los Steivos, to join on lead guitar and César "Papi" César "Papi" Castrillón, whom they taught to play bass.[5] The band attempted to find a lead singer, and they auditioned with several, but none proved to be satisfactory. [6] So, they decided to have Erwin Flores and "Papi" Castrillón swap on lead vocals, with Flores singing the more rocking numbers in his rough, guttural voice and Castrillón handling the more melodic songs. [7] Initially the name of their band was “Los Sadicos,” however, perhaps to avoid being banned for suggesting sadism, they dropped the letter “d” from the name, resulting in “Los Saicos.”[8] They liked the way the new name suggested not only the popular battery-powered Seiko watch, but also the title of the famous Alfred Hitchcock thriller, Psycho.[9]

The band began by playing mostly local venues. On one occasion they played to a packed crowd as one of the acts on the bill of a show being held at the Tauro Cinema, in which they caught the attention of some of the numerous journalists and music industry executives attending the Association of Music Journalists in Peru, being held at that time in Lima, who were present. [10] In early 1965, they appeared on the popular TV Show, El Show del Diana on Channel 9. [11] They were chosen as “best of the week” and received a recording contract with the DisPerú label. The first single that they released for the label featured the songs, “Come On” and “Ana.” [12]

The single became a big hit in Peru.[13] Later in 1965, they released the single, "Demolición,” which became one of the biggest radio hits on the national charts that year.[14] The song featured humorously anarchistic lyrics celebrating the demolition of a railway station. Los Saicos, released three more singles for the DisPerú label. In 1966, they signed to the larger IEMPSA label and cut one single, "Besando a Otra" / "Intensamente."[15]

Later developments[edit]

However, as their popularity began to wane in 1966, and exhausted from the pressures of constant activity, they decided to break up.[16] Their members went on to pursue more conventional careers. Singer/rhythm guitarist, Erwin Flores and singer/bass player César "Papi" Castrillón, eventually moved to the United States. Flores recorded two solo albums that were later shelved. He then moved to the Washington, DC area and worked for a number of years with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), sometimes moonlighting as a salsa singer for a Latin cover band in Maryland and Virginia. He is currently an executive for a pharmaceutical company. Coincidentally, Castrillón had was living near Flores and they both became aware of their proximity after a few years. Castrillón is semi-retired and has taught occasional guitar classes in at his church.

Guitar player Rolando Carpio, who died in early 2005, had made a point of not telling his children about his musical past until they discovered the fact by themselves .[17] Drummer Pancho Guevara passed away in May 2015, in Lima.

Reunion[edit]

In 2006, the surviving Saicos got together in their hometown, Lince, Lima, for some commemorative events. They apparently had not played together in public since 1966 (although local reports from Peru dispute this; there was reportedly a reunion gig in 2009). Erwin Flores made a public reappearance in Peru after 40 years, singing "Demolición" at a small concert with the garage band Manganzoides as a guest, in May 2006. He also performed that song in Madrid at the Joy Eslava Club, fronting Spanish band Wau y Los Arrghs! in 2009. In 2010 Los Saicos played on their first international concert ever at Spain, since the ABC newspaper called them 'the first punk band in the world'.

In 2011, Saicomania, a docummentary about the band's career, was released at the Julieta theatre, Miraflores, Lima, Perú. On the same day, Los Saicos played together, with the presence of the local psychedelic garage band Los Silver Mornings.[18] The documentary was later shown in public in San Francisco, with, among others, Jello Biafra from the Dead Kennedys in attendance.

Also, in 2011, they played another 2 wild reunion shows in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Legacy[edit]

Their entire recorded output was issued on CD by the Peruvian label Repsychled in 2006, much of which was remastered from the original master tapes. Previously, an unauthorized 10" vinyl by Spain's Electro-Harmonix (1998) had compiled this same material, taking it from the 45 rpm singles rather than master tapes. Psychedelic garage punk band, The Black Lips have acknowledged Los Saicos as a major influence.

In Lima, on May 26, 2006, the band members received a Civic Medal for their contributions to music, a plaque was dedicated to their name.[19] In addition to their considerable success in Peru during their heyday the 60s, in more recent years they have become recognized as pioneers in protopunk.[20] Their sound and lyrical approach anticipated aspects of the later punk movement of the 70s. Though, they were apparently unaware of US garage rock or obscure British bands of such as the Downliners Sect, in many ways their story parallels that of 60s bands such as The Sonics and The Standells, as well as countless other groups in North America. As in North America, the success of The Beatles unleashed a wave of bands which, in the case of their own country, would result in what some have called the "Golden Age" of Peruvian Rock."[21] In this context Los Saicos played a major role.

Discography[edit]

Albums

  • Wild Teen Punk from Perú 1965 (1999) - Non official edition by Electro Harmonix
  • Saicos (2006) - Official album edited by Repsychled Records
  • ¡Demolición! - The Complete Recordings (2010) - Singles compilation [Box Set] by Munster Records

Singles

  • "Come On" / "Ana" (1965) - Dis Perú
  • "Demolición" / "Lonely Star" (1965) - Dis Perú
  • "Camisa de fuerza" / "Cementerio" (1965) - Dis Perú
  • "Te Amo" / "Fugitivo de Alcatraz" (1965) - Dis Perú
  • "Salvaje" / "El Entierro de Los Gatos" (1965) - Dis Perú
  • "Besando a Otra" / "Intensamente" (1966) - El Virrey

Band members[edit]

1964-1966[edit]

  • Erwin Flores (lead vocals, rhythm guitar)
  • Rolando “Chino” Carpio (lead guitar)
  • César "Papi" Castrillón (bass guitar, vocals)
  • Pancho Guevara (drums)

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Guardian: Where did punk begin? A cinema in Peru
  2. ^ Mendoza, Fidel Gutierrez. "Wildmen in the City: A Story About Los Saicos." Los Saicos: !Demolocion!: The Complete Recordings. Munster Records (Distolux, SL) 2010 - liner notes essay pg. 4, 21-22
  3. ^ "If Peru's Los Saicos Aren't the First Punk Band, They're Pretty Close." Dangerous Minds. http://dangerousminds.net/comments/if_perus_los_saicos_arent_the_first_punk_band_theyre_pretty_close
  4. ^ Mendoza, Fidel Gutierrez. "Wildmen in the City: A Story About Los Saicos." Los Saicos: !Demolocion!: The Complete Recordings. Munster Records (Distolux, SL) 2010 - liner notes essay pg. 16
  5. ^ Mendoza, Fidel Gutierrez. "Wildmen in the City: a Story About Los Saicos." Los Saicos: !Demolocion!: The Complete Recordings. Munster Records (Distolux, SL) 2010 - liner notes essay pg. 17-19
  6. ^ Mendoza, Fidel Gutierrez. "Wildmen in the City: A Story About Los Saicos." Los Saicos: !Demolocion!: The Complete Recordings. Munster Records (Distolux, SL) 2010 - liner notes essay pg. 21
  7. ^ Mendoza, Fidel Gutierrez. "Wildmen in the City: A Story About Los Saicos." Los Saicos: !Demolocion!: The Complete Recordings. Munster Records (Distolux, SL) 2010 - liner notes essay pg. 21
  8. ^ Mendoza, Fidel Gutierrez. "Wildmen in the City: A Story About Los Saicos." Los Saicos: !Demolocion!: The Complete Recordings. Munster Records (Distolux, SL) 2010 - liner notes essay pg. 10
  9. ^ Mendoza, Fidel Gutierrez. "Wildmen in the City: A Story About Los Saicos." Los Saicos: !Demolocion!: The Complete Recordings. Munster Records (Distolux, SL) 2010 - liner notes essay pg. 10
  10. ^ Mendoza, Fidel Gutierrez. "Wildmen in the City: A Story About Los Saicos." Los Saicos: !Demolocion!: The Complete Recordings. Munster Records (Distolux, SL) 2010 - liner notes essay pg. 12
  11. ^ Mendoza, Fidel Gutierrez. "Wildmen in the City: A Story About Los Saicos." Los Saicos: !Demolocion!: The Complete Recordings. Munster Records (Distolux, SL) 2010 - liner notes essay pg. 12
  12. ^ Mendoza, Fidel Gutierrez. "Wildmen in the City: A Story About Los Saicos." Los Saicos: !Demolocion!: The Complete Recordings. Munster Records (Distolux, SL) 2010 - liner notes essay pg. 13
  13. ^ Mendoza, Fidel Gutierrez. "Wildmen in the City: A Story About Los Saicos." Los Saicos: !Demolocion!: The Complete Recordings. Munster Records (Distolux, SL) 2010 - liner notes essay pg. 15
  14. ^ Mendoza, Fidel Gutierrez. "Wildmen in the City: A Story About Los Saicos." Los Saicos: !Demolocion!: The Complete Recordings. Munster Records (Distolux, SL) 2010 - liner notes essay pg. 21
  15. ^ Mendoza, Fidel Gutierrez. "Wildmen in the City: A Story About Los Saicos." Los Saicos: !Demolocion!: The Complete Recordings. Munster Records (Distolux, SL) 2010 - liner notes essay pg. 31
  16. ^ Mendoza, Fidel Gutierrez. "Wildmen in the City: A Story About Los Saicos." Los Saicos: !Demolocion!: The Complete Recordings. Munster Records (Distolux, SL) 2010 - liner notes essay pg. 31
  17. ^ ”Saicomania” (documentary) – as told by his son, Rolando
  18. ^ http://elcomercio.pe/impresa/notas/noche-salvaje-rocanrol/20110221/716749
  19. ^ Mendoza, Fidel Gutierrez. "Wildmen in the City: A Story About Los Saicos." Los Saicos: !Demolocion!: The Complete Recordings. Munster Records (Distolux, SL) 2010 - liner notes essay pg. 4
  20. ^ The Guardian: Where did punk begin? A cinema in Peru
  21. ^ Mendoza, Fidel Gutierrez. "Wildmen in the City: a Story About Los Saicos." Los Saicos: !Demolocion!: The Complete Recordings. Munster Records (Distolux, SL) 2010 - liner notes essay pg. 23, 34

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]