Legendary Mexican Band Headlines San Francisco Garage-Psych Halloween Party


SAN FRANCISCO — Active for the better part of the last half century and counting, Mexican psychedelic garage rockers Los Dug Dug return to San Francisco to headline this special Halloween show on Monday night.

Although they didn’t release their first album until 1971, the band’s roots go back to the early 60s when a group of teenagers known as Xippos Rock from Durango invited multi-instrumentalist Armando Nava to play the guitar with the band at the age of 17. . Initially playing acoustic guitars fitted with homemade pickups and a metal chair that replaced a real drum kit, the band gradually acquired appropriate instruments and built up a local following.

Nava’s traveling salesman father took the group with him when he did business in Tijuana. It was during a tour in northern Mexico that the band decided to change their name to Los Dug Dug’s, a nod to their hometown. After Nava acquired several Beatles singles in Texas, the band became one of the first Mexican bands to not only cover the Fab Four, but also the first to sing songs in English.

chicotito si, chicotito no- dug dug’s by
catramone on Youtube

After an extended stint as a house band at a strip club in Tijuana, Los Dug Dug moved to Mexico City and began to experience their first commercial success nationally. The group, whose members now included only Nava and singer Jorge de la Torre from the previous lineup, became hugely popular with their regular performances in Mexico City clubs. The band began getting guest appearances on television shows, recording the children’s show theme song “Chicotito Si, Chicotito No” and signing to RCA Mexico.

Los Dug Dugs – California Sueños by
Jose 👽 on Youtube

The band followed with a number of singles, including Spanish-language versions of “Hanky ​​Panky”, “California Dreamin'”, and “Nighttime”. An American who saw the group in Mexico financed an abortive 1968 trip to New York that found the group playing several shows and recording a few songs, but the trip ended when the financier refused to pay the $5,000 of musicians’ union dues that would have allowed Los Dug Dug to perform in larger venues. The band returned to Mexico and began working on their debut album for RCA. Although not released until 1971 after the acrimonious departure of singer de la Torre and the band’s eventual disintegration, Los Dug Dug’s self-titled debut album would become a hit in Latin America thanks to the uplifting psychedelic anthems “Lost In My World ” and “Eclipse”.

Lost in my world (Perdido en Mi Mundo) by
Los Dug Dug’s – Subject on Youtube

The album’s success led Nava to create a new version of the band to capitalize on the hits, recording the 1972 follow-up effort. Smog which brought the band back to singing in Spanish and leaned more towards progressive, hard rock (particularly with Nava’s heavily featured flute playing reminiscent of Jethro Tull). Later versions Cambie, Cambie in 1974 and the most glam-rock oriented The locomotive the following year the band adopted a more direct pop style with occasional flashes of their earlier psychedelic style, but diminishing returns led Nava to eventually drop out of the band altogether.

Dug Dugs -La Gente by
labananafilms on Youtube

Los Dug Dug’s would gradually become recognized as one of Mexico’s pioneering rock bands, influencing followers of Rock en Español like El Tri and more modern outfits who developed an interest in global psychedelia like Bay’s band Area Thee Oh Sees, Swedish band Dungen and myriad current Australian crews like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. Nava periodically assembled new versions of Los Dug Dug to tour Mexico, but the bandleader only made a few rare appearances in the United States, including a performance at Northwest Psych Fest in Seattle in 2017. The band played a great set at the Rickshaw Stop two years ago to a packed house that marked Nava’s first Bay Area gig.

Arnulfo Martinez Torres on Youtube

For this return to San Francisco, Nava and Los Dug Dug’s will be the headliners of the fourth and final evening of Psyched! Fest, headlined a Latino garage/psych Halloween party at the Great American Music Hall on Monday. The band’s current line-up will be joined by several notable artists, including Papi Saicos, aka Peruvian garage-punk pioneer César “Papi” Castrillón. Although his band Los Saicos only released a handful of singles in Lima in the mid-1960s, his screaming vocal delivery and the band’s messy garage-surfing sound proved highly influential for southern rock bands. Americans who followed in their wake after their separation. in 1966. The band’s wild songs like “Demolición”, “Straightjacket” and “Fugitive from Alcatraz” would later be hailed as precursors to punk.

Los Saicos – Demolition 1964 by
Kike Boni on Youtube

Spurred by renewed interest in the band through re-releases and wider recognition – they were the subject of a Vice mini-documentary and were covered in the Netflix series on the history of Latin American rock “Rompan Todo” – Los Saicos reunited four decades after their initial demise to perform live. Papi Saicos leads a group of backing musicians through the band’s classic hits on Monday night. Also appearing will be Seattle-based garage-psych outcasts Acid Tongue, and fuzzed-out Mexican band Margaritas Podridas. Psychedelic visuals will be provided by Zachary Rodell and Caja Magica will spin DJ selections before and between bands.

Psycho! Party with Los Dug Dug’s
Monday, Oct. 31, 8 p.m. $27 to $29
Great American Music Hall

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