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Los Lobos play 'Kiko' live on KCRW-FM

September 13, 2012|By Randy Lewis
  • Members of Los Lobos played their 1992 album "Kiko" live on KCRW-FM in Santa Monica.
Members of Los Lobos played their 1992 album "Kiko" live on KCRW-FM… (Larry Hirshowitz / KCRW-FM )

Los Lobos dropped into the studios of KCRW-FM (89.9) in Santa Monica on Wednesday to revisit the veteran East L.A. roots-rock band’s watershed 1992 album, “Kiko,” by playing it nearly in its entirety for a live radio and Web broadcast. The performance will be streamable on the public station’s website.

The album was recently reissued in expanded form, along with a video release of a 2006 live performance by the band.

Speaking with KCRW music director Jason Bentley during his "Morning Becomes Eclectic" show, guitarist, singer, songwriter and accordionist David Hidalgo said the album helped the group reconnect with its central musical vision following the runaway commercial success it  experienced  from its participation in the Richie Valens biopic “La Bamba” in 1987.

“After that, we did ‘La Pistola y El Corazon’ [the group’s Grammy-winning 1988 traditional Spanish-language album], which helped us get our heads back into the right frame of mind,” Hidalgo said.  “Then we did [1990’s] ‘The Neighborhood,’ which was kind of stressful. So when we got together with [producers] Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake for ‘Kiko,’ it was like a breath of fresh air.”

He was joined by his longtime band mates Louie Perez (the guitarist who writes the lyrics for Hidalgo’s melodies), bassist Conrad Lozano and keyboardist-woodwind player Steve Berlin, along with more recent recruit, drummer Enrique Gonzalez. Only songwriter-guitarist-singer Cesar Rosas was missing, due to a personal issue that had cropped up, according to a band representative.

Hidalgo dedicated “Short Side of Nothing,” to his granddaughter, Selma, then explained to the listening audience after the song, “It may seem like an odd choice for my granddaughter,” in reference to the song that explores the loss of dreams and innocence. “But,” he quickly added, “she’s only 4 years old -- she doesn’t listen to lyrics, she just loves the melody and the beat.”

Band members called it quits, however, before playing “Kiko’s” final track, “Rio de Tenampa,” saying they couldn’t do it justice without a full complement of horn players and other instruments originally used in the studio.

The set was one of several full “Kiko” performances Los Lobos is doing this year to mark the album’s 20th anniversary. The group also has been tapped as the opening act for the national tour of Neil Young & Crazy Horse, which includes a stop at the Hollywood Bowl on Oct. 17.

The audio from the KCRW performance is streamable now at the station's website. The video will be ready Wednesday evening, according to a KCRW spokeswoman. High-definition audio and video of the song "Kiko and the Lavendar Moon" can be seen here:

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