Note: Portions of the soundcheck and show were video taped for an episode of "Now with Bill Moyer", aired on 23-May-03. The band was also interviewed earlier in the day for the same production. Below is a transcript of this airing:
CESAR ROSAS: Los Lobos music is… it's a perfect blend of different musical styles, one being very much a roots, Mexican folk music. And the other is very sort of American, if you will. You know? Rock and roll, or rhythm and blues, or whatever it is.
LOUIE PEREZ: The Mexican-American has always kinda been perceived by Mexican nationals as, well, you know, what are you? Are you Mexican? Are you an American? They don't totally accept us. And of course, here on this side of the border in the United States, you know the Mexican-American people aren't totally accepted as Americans. So what do we do with that?
CONRAD LOZANO: When people were playing rock and roll we decided to play Mexican folk music. You know, we all had our rock and roll bands and we all went through that whole thing of being… wanting to be rock and roll stars. And then, you know, five or six years into our small little careers of learning how to play music we decided we wanted to learn how to play Mexican folk music. We wanted to learn a little bit about our roots via the music. And that's what we did.
DAVID HIDALGO: We were trying to capture or just, you know, capture the essence of the music, you know? And make it our own. We finally figured out that we were onto something that had meaning, you know, that was… it was a lot… it wasn't just, you know, like the mariachis playing in a Mexican restaurant or something.
One Christmas and we all got together just for laughs, just to learn some Mexican music. We were playing for our moms, we'll make the rounds and go to any, you know, just a little surprise. It was like a little gift, you know? And we did that, you know, and we, you know, we got to Louis' mom's house and we played these songs and she started crying. You know, I was like, "Wow, man, this is…" It wasn't the response we expected. We were reaching into something that was bigger than what we thought, you know? It was actually… this music actually meant something to a lot of people.
CONRAD: So, we learned how to play that music and learned how to play the instruments, learned how to play the different techniques or the different styles of music. In Mexico there's a whole bunch of did styles of music that comes from Mexico. And each region has it's own style and own instrumentation. So, you have to learn how to play that stuff and that's what we did. And it took us ten years - we studied it for ten years. And then we got back into rock and roll.
STEVE BERLIN: Well, it is, you know, musically we are, I guess, patriots of our own country. Our imaginary country of Loboland where… or, you know, the '60s British blues and, you know, 200 year old Mexican folklore traditions coexist in a happy planet. It was extraordinary that, you know, a kid like me growing in Philadelphia and, you know, four of those guys growing up in East L.A., we shared so much musically.
But it was instantly, and from the very beginning, from the first time, first rehearsal I ever sat in on, it was always just a musical brotherhood. The only thing that I had to learn was the folkloric tradition and, you know, where that saxophone fit into it, which was a joy for me. But I think it's… as much as anything we're just trying to forge our own vocabulary. And then, you know, expand that vocabulary.
DAVID: Like when we were playing, you know, and the band isn't… there's those moments where you actually… you could feel something where it grows, you know? But the music… just where everyone is actually playing together and it just starts to go somewhere. And you don't know where you're headed but you're on your way and you feel it. It's like, wow, man, that those are the moments that make music worth playing, you know?
CONRAD: I think the friendship has partly been the most important thing in this band. Where we've become very good friends, we've… our families have grown together, you know, grown up together. You have to have an understanding family.
CONRAD: Come on, Ali. Fact or opinion? The world is round.
JOSHUA: Is dinosaur's tummy bigger than your tummy?
CONRAD: Get out of here. Jeez. You're always messing around with my tummy.
JOSHUA: Tubby tummies. Tubby tubbies.
CONRAD: You're a tub… you're gonna get fat too.
CONRAD: If the family doesn't understand, if your wife doesn't understand what you're trying to do you ain't gonna do it, brother. You know? You ain't gonna do it, you know? I mean, I would not leave my family for my music, I'll tell you that right now.
LOUIE: A classic example is the time that we were up for a Grammy and we actually won. And on the drive home, you know, I'm a Grammy-award winning, you know, rock star. And my mother-in-law was watching my son, then was baby. And walked up to the door and walked in the door. And she congratulated me and then told me that we're outta diapers.
So one minute I'm a rock star that won a Grammy award, and the next minute I was at the market, you know, the… you know, buying diapers. So it's kinda… stuff kinda really grounds you.
LOUIE: What is really truly American? The purest definition of American music would be, you know, a band like ourselves, that take our own culture and tradition and interpret it and then pass it on.
That's America for us.
CESAR: Being an American musician is a privilege. In a second, I can be like, real Mexican, because that's who I am. And the next moment I could be doing you know, a John Lee Hooker song or something. And that feels very at home, too. So I live in both worlds and it's not a bad place to be, you know?
LOUIE: On the creative level I think we find a lot of freedom you now, we can just do whatever we want, because we realize that if we're not totally accepted by either culture, then where do we belong? We belong everywhere.