I guess the headline or a line I wrote was a bit provocative and a small avalanche of emails and comments from people involved in the psychobilly scene in Bogota soon followed. They staunchly pointed to the fact that there was an emerging scene in Bogota and invited me to see for myself.
Now I’ve been to Bogota on several occasions covering the “muy fuerte” (very strong) punk scene there.
My first was the Casualties concert in December of 09 (READ ABOUT IT HERE). Then last year I hit the huge Rock en el Parque concert and took some time to see a smaller but much more chaotic punk show in Chapinero (or as I like to say “champinones” which means mushrooms). You can READ ABOUT THAT SHOW HERE.
But I had never really covered the rockabilly or psychobilly scene. I knew if so many folks were reaching out to me because of the article on the Dorados, that there must be something going on in Bogota so I vowed to check it out.
One of those cats in Bogota who had reached out to me on Facebook, Nicolas, offered to hook me up with a couple of Psychobilly bands for an interview next time I was in town.
I was in Bogota very briefly last week on some other business, so I took Nicolas up on his offer. We met at the Rockstar Studios in the northern part of the city where Nicolas had arranged for me to interview and take in a rehearsal of a couple of the psychobilly bands holding down the Bogota scene.
The first interview was with Nicolas’ own band called “Los Chiclosos Desmembrados” whose name in English they informed me, can roughly be translated as something like “chewed up bubble gum”. Their music is a bit easier to describe as a bit of a fusion of psychobilly, surf and punk.
They play both covers and originals and Nicolas alternates lead vocals with the female guitar player Leidy on occasion.
I saw the Cramps in NYC at the infamous Limelight club a few years back in one of their last performances and at the “Chiclosos Desmembrados” rehearsal I felt I could see and hear an obvious influence.
In the U.S. I think the Cramps’ are not given enough credit and are too often disconnected with the current psychobilly scene, especially given their pioneering work in the genre, so it was refreshing to see their musical influence alive and well in Bogota.
The other band I interviewed was “Salidos de la Cripta” (Gone from the Crypt), a classic psychobilly trio in the vein of the Koffin Kats, Nekromantix or Tiger Army, complete with a stand up bass.
Mauricio, (lead vocals/guitar) and the rest of the gang were very charismatic and I could envision these guys playing one of the psychobilly festivals in the U.S. or U.K. in the coming years. They were that good and they are currently laying down a CD so you’ll soon be able to judge for yourself.
Members of both bands have been involved in the Bogota psychobilly scene since way back in the early days… 2006! When they listed their influences they rattled off bands ranging from Motorhead to the Meteors and Koffin Kats to the previously mentioned Cramps.
Both bands pretty much agreed that while the scene is small, (the biggest event being on Halloween when a few bands play a local festival) it is growing rapidly with more and more bands forming and playing every year.
When I asked about the reaction from the considerably larger and much more well established punk scene, I think it was Mauricio from “Salidos de la Cripta” who stated it seemed the punks first hear the music, they don’t really know whether to throw bottles at them or start dancing. He said, that thankfully, they usually start dancing.
I predict bands like Chiclosos Desmembrados and Salidos de Cripta will continue to make converts out of the punk community in Bogota.
Punk and the psychobilly & rockabilly scenes need not be mutually exclusive.
Indeed in Bogota, due to it’s small size, there seems to be a bit of a fusion of rockabilly, punkabilly and psychobilly in Bogota and I think that’s cool. Hopefully the bands in Bogota can team up with bands like the Dorados in Medellin to help all the “billys” thrive.
I hope to have some video from the bands’ rehearsals up soon as well as a little update on a couple of cool surf bands we’ve been following over the past year, so stay tuned! In the meantime you can sample the bands’ music on their myspace pages (links provided in the bands’ names above)