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Tucson band drops the mic: Adios, Los Guapos

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Weekend music

Tucson band drops the mic: Adios, Los Guapos

  • Los Guapos
    Los Guapos
  • Los Guapos
    Los Guapos

The great thing about Tucson is that it's a place where folks can afford to create. With comparatively cheap rents and tons of creative folks to collaborate with it's not hard to sustain live music as a side pursuit, though paying the bills through gigs alone is a much rarer phenomenon. 

The downside of this phenomenon is that local bands are often at the mercy of their members' daytime occupations, with some of the greatest ensembles in town a schedule change or workplace relocation away from an early demise.

Alas, such is the case with one of Tucson's most fun and genre-defying bands, Los Guapos. After multiple studio recordings, two full-length albums and a ton of dynamic local live shows, the band is going on an indefinite hiatus as founder and lead guitarist Justin Valdez relocates his family to Colorado to pursue a promising career opportunity.

As the band prepared for their final Tucson performance, this columnist caught up with the members of Los Guapos to wax nostalgic and look at what lays ahead for its members: Valdez, percussionist Engel Indo, bassist John Read, drummer Morgan Schlaline, bassist John Read, and keyboardist/sax player Richard Verdugo. 

TS: What will you miss most about LG?

Justin Valdez: "Creating music with the most talented musicians ever. Richard is an amazing keyboard and sax player and writing music with him and keeping up with his jazz chords has pushed me to be a better musician myself, by far more than anyone else I have ever played with. Next up would be John, easily the best all-around bass player in this town. Morgan has been the most solid dependable drummer ever.  And Engel, bringing percussion and singing in both English and Spanish.

Valdez: "Each player in the band has brought more than their fare share to the musical table. The whole experience of all 5 of us writing , gigging and recording has really been my best experiences and times since I first starting out playing in bands.  Plus the sound is a sound like no other and truly a sound I am most proud of being a part of. 

TS: Favorite memories?

Valdez: "Some of the best times have been playing in Bisbee, half time entertainment at the Rialto for Wrestling Events,  and playing Second Saturdays Downtown."

Engel Indo: "I  think my highlight with the band was when we open for Metalachi at Hotel Congress. That crowd did not want anything to do with anyone other than Metalachi, but they ended up loving us!"

John Read: "For the record, Metalachi bought several bottles of tequila and pre-lubed the crowd for us. So, ultimately people were ready to rock and it was a great night! A favorite moment of mine was when we were playing The Rat Trap. About 25 teenagers lined the walls, crossed their arms, then stared and listened intently while we belted out some song. At the end of the song they erupted into cheers. Then they repeated that whole thing for every single song. It was an intense 30 minutes or so!"

Morgan Schlaline: "My favorite moments happened during the performance of the songs. Like in Sin Temor, there is the transition from the very loud, raucous guitar solo to the quiet and sweet sax solo is one of my favorite parts. Or the transition in Chickenhawk from the straight-up surf rock into the shuffle solo section at the end. All these guys are such great players, there's always something exciting to listen to during the performance of the songs. Favorite song? I don't know, I always liked Plethora of Pinatas a lot."

TS: What does the future hold for the alumni of Los Guapos?

Indo: "Musically, I'd like to put another band together sooner rather than later. [In the meantime] I am working with my nonprofit Pay It Forward Tucson helping low-income families and Veterans."

Read: "I’m currently supporting a really great singer-songwriter named Gabi Montoya in the band Juju Fontaine. Also working on getting a really stanky jazz(ish) combo going while continuing to explore electronic music. Also, my other band, Shit Knife, will be going into the studio to record in mid-January."

Schlaline: "I'm going to be playing, writing and playing guitar in the newly reformed local band, The Monitors. I also play drums every Thursday night at The Hut for Ynot Live Band Karaoke. It's always a good time."

TS: Any parting thoughts?

Indo: "The way I am looking at this show is not as a Farewell Show, but as a "Hurry back, Justin" kinda thing."

Read: "This show is going to be great. The energy in the rehearsals has been off the charts and I’m ready to end this thing right!"

Richard Verdugo: "I'm really bummed that we have to come to this, but it was a great ride!"

Los Guapos' Farewell! show kicks off at 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22, at the Surly Wench Pub, 424 N. 4th Ave. Admission is $5.

Christmas with the Krampus

The Loudhouse Rock and Roll bar is offering a loud, dirty, messy punk rock Christmas this year, topped off by that weirdest of annual traditions, a performance by event host "The Krampus Krooner," whose horror humor-infused takes on traditional carols and holiday favorites will leave you either chilled or amused. The event features a sold line up of Loudhouse favorites including The Distortionists, Bordertown Devils, Sucker For The Sour and Cove.

A Very Loudhouse Christmas starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 23, at the Loudhouse, 915 W. Prince Rd.

Giant Sand revisits 'Valley Of Rain'

Last week was the Great Cover-Up and a Calexico show, next week, it's the return of The Wooden Ball and this week Tucson music fans can enjoy another blast from the past courtesy of legendary Tucson band Giant Sand. Howe Gelb and co will be performing the band's 1985 album "Valley of Rain" in its entirety at Club Congress this Tuesday

Giant Sand performs "Valley of Rain" on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 8 p.m.  at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St.

Check your local listings

Heading into the holiday weekend, there are a ton of shows to give you a reason to sneak away from awkward relative reunions and plates of leftovers. 

Friday, December 22

  • Los Guapos Farewell Show - 10 p.m. at The Surly Wench Pub, 424 N 4th Ave (Downtown). 
  • Dead Inception, Genocaust, Guardians - 7 p.m. at The Loudhouse, 915 W Prince Rd (North)
  • Keli Carpenter - 5:30 p.m. at The Flycatcher Lounge, 340 E 6th St (Downtown)
  • Emo Night Live - 9 p.m. at The Flycatcher, 340 E 6th St (Downtown)
  • Bass Culture - 10 p.m. at The Hut, 305 N 4th Ave (Downtown)
  • Local Love Presents: Festivus - 7 p.m. at The Rialto, 318 E Congress St 
  • The Pangs' XXXMas Special - 8 p.m. at Club Congress, 311 E Congress St (Downtown)

Saturday, December 23

  • A Very Loudhouse Christmas - 7 p.m. at The Loudhouse (North)
  • An Evening With The Unday - 9 p.m. at Sky Bar, 536 N 4th Ave (Downtown)
  • The Sinners Blues - 9 p.m. at Saint Charles Tavern, 1632 S 4th Ave (S of Downtown)
  • Seasonally Romo - 9 p.m. at The Flycatcher (Downtown)
  • Snoop Dogg - 8 p.m. at The Rialto, 318 E Congress St (Downtown)
  • Hans and Hank at Club Congress - 7 p.m. at Club Congress (Downtown)

Tuesday, December 26

  • Giant Sand: Valley Of Rain - 8 p.m. at Club Congress (Downtown)

Wedenesday, December 27

  • Al Perry Post Holiday Hootenanny - 7:30 p.m. at Club Congress, t (Downtown)
  • DJ Nada - 9 p.m. at The Flycatcher (Downtown)

Thursday, December 28

  • Dirt Friends, Casey Golden & Zachary Vito - 9 p.m. at The Flycatcher (Downtown)
  • Rendezvous - 8 p.m. at Club Congress (Downtown)


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