LP3 & The Tragedy are here

lp3b

There are members sprouted from the PanAmerican roots of Los Lobos and tweaked by the dark, swampy blues of The Gun Club. There are members who have refined their chops in punk, ska, and funk but inevitably turned their attention toward the roots of it all. United and propelled by a sense of family through blood, touring, and DIY culture, LP3 & the Tragedy posses a staggering combined mass of musical tastes, talent, and muscle memory. So how could I not ask my pal Louie Perez III about Southland Hum, the debut album from one of my favorite new bands, LP3 & The Tragedy?

When I hear the record, I think, “What if Elvis Costello was trapped in Straight To Hell?” Am I far off?
Hahaha! Dude, that’s hilarious! Didn’t Elvis Costello play Hives The Butler in Straight to Hell? I think The Pogues shot him in that movie. And although it was not my initial intent, I admire both comparisons. Any cinematic comparison to our band makes me really happy.

I know about Evil Hearted Eric Fuller and your cousin Ruby Rosas from Bongoloidz. How do you know the others in the Tragedy?
Well, our accordion player and organist Mike B. played in another band with Fuller. When I heard Fuller knew an accordion player I was like, “What! How do we convince this guy to jam with us?” Turns out, he required no convincing whatsoever and he’s also just about the most kind-natured, level-headed, and rad dude you would ever meet, and he always brings the best vibes with him. Carlos has been my road dog for just about forever. He’s been part of almost everything band-oriented I have ever done. He was even my guitar tech way back in Los Villains days, but that was just a great excuse to have a homey and accomplice to do hoodrat shit with in those days. He is a ready and steady mofo. He, too, is very level headed and if the Tragedy were a ball club he would be team manager.

lp3d

Besides having more of a country sound than Evil Hearted You, there’s more working-class politics–which I definitely approve of. Are you a political guy? Maybe it’s just an election year?
We definitely lean towards a cowpunk/singer songwriter vibe. I would not consider myself into politics as much as I am against injustice. It seems pretty obvious who the real puppet-masters are. Everywhere you look, someone is spewing some garbage that promotes keeping us culturally divided, but it’s not race war. That’s a diversion. It’s class war: the poor versus the rich with the working class in the  middle getting  robbed by both sides in different ways. And staying educated is almost a criminal activity in the eyes of  decision-makers, nowadays. We are living in an interesting time, and not using art to speak on it seems irresponsible to me.

Even the most epic songs on the new LP are still really trim. No filler. Do you try to pack it in or does it just happen that way?
A vinyl LP cuts best at about ten songs. We have about six more tracks in the can for 7″ singles, EPs, etc., that we will start releasing throughout the year.

I really dug all the covers you played at Alex’s and the Tatuaje benefit. Can you remind me what they were? Are there new ones in the rotation?
We have a ton of covers in our arsenal that we can play depending on the length of a set. One of my favorite things is curating our influences into a set. We frequently do a duet of “Dream” by the Everly Brothers and a gypsy stomp version of “Crying” by Buddy Holly. And there’s “Alone in the Crowd” by Johnny Thunders and the current audience favorite is “Search and Destroy” by The Stooges. We also learned about 17 of Alejandro Escovedo’s songs, and I really want to cover “San Antonio Rain” because  every time I hear him sing it I want to cry. Ruby wants to do “Deer Head on the Wall” and Fuller likes playing “Arizona” a lot. We could have a seriously epic covers record, and I think we’ve already recorded a bunch of the ones I listed.

lp3a

Will you be totally disappointed in the world if “Heart Locked in a Cell” isn’t a gigantic hit that people want to sing along in arenas? I would.
Well, I really appreciate the compliment, but I am more than content with watching our friends sing along. As far as gigantic hits and arenas go, we don’t posses the resources to make that a reality.

The SoCal tour with X, Lobos, and Blasters will be amazing, and then there’s more touring. After all those shows, will you be taking a sabbatical or plowing into more tours and more recording?
We are game for whatever the universe bids, but we may wait one hot minute before making another record considering since we are broke from making this one. Adding insult to injury, after being on the road for three or four weeks, we’ll return to the jobs we don’t have anymore, eviction notices, and a pile of overdue bills. But it wouldn’t be the first time.

I always wonder about your double life as tattoo artist and musician. Do you listen to the music that is inspiring you when you are inking a client? Or do you listen to whatever that person is into and hope it doesn’t suck? Maybe silence to concentrate or because you’re in a roomful of people with different tastes?
Music is very democratic at the shop. I tend to like everything, though, and find myself bobbing my head to even the worst shit. I don’t discriminate. We listen to a lot of good stuff from old Eastside Art Laboe oldies to straight wavy trap music. When I’m in my zone, I get down with the rootsy, bluesy stuff like Canned Heat or Jimmy Reed. And lately when I wanna amp up, I’ve been listening to high school faves like the first three Fugazi records or Jawbreaker. Those are mainstays. Silence is the deadliest of weapons and I avoid using it at all costs.

lp3c
Yes, Louie’s old band Evil Hearted You played alongside Bob Forrest and The Bicycle Thief at one of the Save Music in Chinatown benefit matinees shows that my wife and I organize. Can’t wait to have LP3 & The Tragedy play for us, too…

 

Rad Band Alert: LP3 & The Tragedy

lp3aAlthough Louie Perez III has been in numerous cool bands, I didn’t get to know him until the freshly formed Evil Hearted You (R.I.P.) played a Save Music in Chinatown gig for us last year. I really loved how that group channeled roots punk from L.A. (from Los Lobos to Gun Club) without skimping on arrangement or production, but then totally ripped it up live. Now Louie and drummer Eric going further in that direction with LP3 & The Tragedy. The group has a rawer, expanded sound and also features his cousin Ruby from Bongoloidz. After catching LP3 & The Tragedy at Alex’s Bar, I had to ask him some questions about them.

MW: How did your new band’s lineup come together?
LP3: The Tragedy was a random occurrence with close friends and family. I was offered a private gig by my boss and dear friend, Mark Mahoney. It seemed like a great chance to put together something with my cousin Ruby, considering we had been talking about it for many years now. Rather than just adding her to a project ad hoc, we decided to start something that was entirely new.

MW: Have you been in a band with your cousin before? What’s that like?
LP3: Ruby and I had never even jammed before, which seems odd considering how supportive she was of not only me but every band I ever played in. It was crazy. We just plugged in, started harmonizing together, and everyone went, “Dude. Keep doing it. It works!” It also helps that she is mega talented. That was three gigs ago. Our fourth show ever will be our first time at SXSW!
lp3c

MW: I loved it when you played new versions of Evil Hearted You songs at Alex’s. That band was great but came and left so quickly that I’m glad there are echos…
LP3: Thanks so much. EHY was a cool project. It was a great experiment in my songwriting, and I definitely wanted to carry a couple of songs into this band. That live show and band was a lot of fun. It helped me decide the setting and direction I was going in with this band.

MW: How close are you to having the LP done? Are you gonna be playing out a lot to support it or what?
LP3: We are finishing a record with Andrew Schubert at Golden Beat Studios. All straight to analog tape on the same machine used by Death Row Records! Andrew is a great fit for this amazing group of scoundrels. The band includes Carlos, who has been my buddy for years. We played together in Red Exiles. Fuller is my “right hand lefty” on the drums all the time. The newest member of the fold is Mike B. who has been playing the circuit for a while now. He plays a variety of instruments, and for us plays accordion and organ. We are dropping our first 7″ next month. It is the first vinyl release for Wiener Records, the little brother label of Burger Records. We will be supporting that and a full length release.

MW: Is it hard to keep up a band with your full-time gig? Where do you find the energy?
LP3: I don’t think any of us anticipated LP3 & The Tragedy to take off this fast.  The amount of support and positivity has given all of us a super nitro boost.  It seems like when personalities and musicianship both click, that chemistry asks the universe to allow it. For that, we are super grateful. And I rarely sleep.

lp3b

Above: Louie with Bob Forrest, who used to hang out with Louie and Ruby’s dads in Los Lobos back in the day, at SMIC4. Check out the LP3 & The Tragedy’s page on Facebook for upcoming shows and keep an eye on Wiener Records for the upcoming releases.