Even at 40 bucks, this show may very well sell out, so act accordingly. Originally the leader of the Caifanes, a band that fell prey to creative differences, Hernandez is the only survivor of the Caifanes besides drummer Alfonso Andre to have made it to the Jaguares. These bands combined have sold more than 5 million albums, mostly in Latin America. Drummer Andre handled all the words in English on interview day as the band slowly cruised through L. Our new [album] is doing great. We had to change the name because there were problems with people in the first band who later went away.
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When rock en espanol veterans Jaguares perform at the Rosemont Theatre on Saturday, fans of the band will come face to face with an invigorated group. The Mexican trio has spent the last few months in a Nashville studio, finishing tracks for its much anticipated new album. In a promising marriage of Anglo and Hispanic talent, the collection is being produced by Adrian Belew. The singer with illustrious prog-rock outfit King Crimson, Belew had already worked with the band in -- helming the Latin rock classic "El Silencio," back in the day when Jaguares was known under its original name of Caifanes.
We asked him to act as a regular member of the band -- and of course, to play guitar on the album. The combination makes plenty of sense. Of the many bands that grace the landscape of rock en espanol -- the most promising genre in Latin music right now -- Jaguares are closer in spirit to an arena-rock band from England or the U.
Their crackling rock anthems overflow with subtle references to a variety of mainstream artists, from Pink Floyd and Peter Gabriel to Led Zeppelin and The Cure. Jaguares' previous two recordings, 's melodramatic hard-rock fest "Cuando La Sangre Galopa" and 's gently acoustic "El Primer Instinto," cemented their reputation as one of the few acts in Latin rock that enjoy both critical respect and massive commercial success. Whereas other popular groups such as Chile's La Ley and Mexico's Mana have conquered a wide demographic by veering dangerously close to pop, Jaguares remain stubbornly faithful to the spirit of authentic rock 'n' roll.
Blame it on Hernandez, the longhaired, messianic looking singer who is adored by the band's followers. Saul treats everyone with equal respect. On the phone, the soft-spoken Hernandez speaks in a lilting Mexican accent, sounding genuinely excited about the band's new material.
Adrian's magic touch helped, too. The result is an album of 14 short tracks, to be released early next year. Lyrically, Hernandez has tamed his weakness for the morbid imagery and heavy metaphors that inform Jaguares classics such as "Viaje Astral" Astral Journey and "Sangre" Blood.
He got cancer and died within a year and a half. His loss is reflected in the melancholy mood of the album. The mind-blowing impact of a tragic loss is nothing new for Hernandez. His mother died when he was 23 -- an event that explains the feelings of obsessiveness and despair than run through his music. And his singing career was marred by the appearance of benign tumors on his throat. Hernandez underwent surgery more than 20 times in his ultimately successful attempts to eradicate the problem.
There's nobody standing there anymore. It's just you. But Hernandez is extremely resilient. The Latin rock songbook has certainly been enriched by his ability to channel his feelings and hopes into the darkly hued textures of his songs.
How Much of the New American Songbook Will Be Sung in Spanish?
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Caifanes is Dead