Forever Wild, Beautiful & Damned
My first encounter with the Gypsy Pistoleros was circa 2006, they were the opening act on a rock show at Camden Underworld, possibly headlined by Love/Hate (the memories of that night are a tad hazy due to the imbiding of a few ales!) Despite hitting the stage to an audience that you could probably count on one hand, they tried hard and by the time they had finished a sizeable audience had gathered. I do remember that their sheer enthusiasm was impressive and that the guitarist looked as though he had beamed down from another planet (one of his own creation where the rivers flowed with whisky, Iggy Pop was responsible for the gene pool, and the year was permanently 1986).
In anyone else’s hands the flamenco-sleaze fusion might have been a mere gimmick, but when delivered by the ‘Pistoleros, it is a swashbuckling rockfest which puts a new spin on a well worn genre. The ‘Pistoleros appear to be a lifestyle choice as much as a band and this compilation of highlights from previous releases serves as an excellent introduction. Great production ensures that the energy of the live show is captured, delivered, and at times enhanced by brass and other ‘authentic’ instrumentation, adding even more of the Spanish/Romany swagger than I remember from the live show.
Opener ‘Living with the gyspies’ sets the pace with wailing guitars, overdriven bass, cowbell up high in the mix, and an anthemic Spanglish chorus. Lead-off single ‘Living la vida loca’ (a cover version of Ricky Martin’s career defining smash hit) flys by, and then they hit you with their sucker punch, ‘Un hombre sin rostra’ which showcases the light and shade dynamics that mixing flamenco with rhythm n booze sleaze rock enables them to do. ‘Una para todo es bandido’ and ‘Shotgun kiss is ay que dolor’ are pretty awesome, ‘Sangra de las roses’ brings to mind the Dogs D’Amour at their most epic, or a more interesting ‘Hotel california’, and then ‘Hotel de la muertos’ really does reference that Eagles staple, chews it up and spits it out with punk attitude. Other highlights include ‘Forever is para siempre’, which packs the kind of chorus that LA Guns would be proud of, and parting shot ‘1 2 3 4 Kiss me then I’m damned for sure’ which seems like a fitting way to shoot out the lights, down that last drink and ride into the sunset. Sure, this is a ‘greatest hits’ which cherry picks the highlights of their existent couple of releases but ‘Forever Wild, Beautiful and Damned’ is a strong collection; the songs, performance, and the production all hit the spot.
The accompanying press release mentions the movie directors Morricone and Rodriguez, and it is no exaggeration that the Gypsy Pistoleros would certainly sound at home on the soundtrack to some ultraviolent dustbowl shoot ‘em up. Their sound is however closer to sunset strip sleaze rock than the bluesier tones on Desperado or From Dusk Til Dawn.
All in all, a whole lot of fun from beginning to end and fear not sleazegrinders, this definitely ain’t ‘the band I heard in Tijuana’ jamming Pretty Boy Floyd outtakes. Message to Robert Rodriguez: commission these guys to soundtrack your next movie!
Review by Alex Eruptor
Bonus Content: Quickfire Round – Six Shots with The Gypsy Pistoleros
1. ‘Gypsy Pistoleros’ sounds like a band that tours a lot. Do you have a caravan, and do you own any guns?
Lee Pistolero: Hey Alex tio! We sort of Tour on a Tourbus? Suppose it does resemble a MILF Hareem, a trashed bordello, featuring forbidden spices , a true life touring medicine show after a few dates on tour. As for Guns...I've got two old style pirate muskets tattooed just above my cojones amigo. So they're always close to my heart
Where did the idea come from to mix the Spanish and classic rock influences, and how have the Spanish speaking audiences responded?
Lee Pistolero: I was living in Zaragoza (Spain) in 1992 after running away from London (Lords of the New Church, Kill City Dragons years) & then L.A.! I started a band there,The Last Gang ( Supported UFO, Motorhead, Sepultura, The Cramps, Dio, Ozzy, etc) discovered flamenco & rumba pop (Spanish late 70′s/early 80′s gypsy pop). Loved it!! Jammed with Katama ( Now a major flamenco/fusion band) , jammed with Juan from Heroes Del Silencio. I wanted to really rock up Flamenco!!! Everyone said it was sacrilege & that you couldn’t play it in a rock n roll band! I’ve always hated someone telling me i can’t!!! So we played a couple of flamenco/rumba tracks when we supported The Ramones in 1993 Spain & it worked!! It rocked up really well!
When I eventually came back to the fukked up Rock N Roll Circus I wanted to do something frikkin different & unique. Gypsy Flamenco Glam Sleaze Rumba Punk Rock n Roll ! Guns n Roses meet the Gypsie Kings or Motley Crue jamming after a messed up party, with Los Lobos. So in 2005 after meeting Iggie &forming GYPSY PISTOLEROS & 2 Months rehearsals, 9 songs written , we went straight out on the road supporting ADLERS APPETITE in Spain ( Where else?) It either worked or we get shot, laughed at, abused! We went down a storm.
3. You guys have frequently appeared on the bill at the Rocklahoma festival. Tell us about your experiences there. Anything crazy happen to you? Any ego clashes between all those different bands?
Lee Pistolero: Bro, it used to be a complete f$$ked up Rock N Roll holiday camp! Too many things have happened to us over the 5 years. Waking up in empty tents with just bra & knickers in em (3 occasions), trying to set Joe Leste up with a 62 year old Go Go dancer ( He ran out of the tent), Iggie pulling the grill off the Hard Rock Hotel room window, so we could smoke out of it & falling out of the window with it, landing on the front foyer roof, setting up a Bar outside the Hard Rock Cafe ( Tulsa) to meet & greet all the bands flying in. Not being able to talk to Steve Adler when he was just out of rehab ( His Security wouldnt even let him look at us, coz we were a bad influence? WTF??) Iggie handing Brett Micheals a bottle of Absythe as a present ( He was just straight out of rehab, his security went ape. Shouting “ You just fukked up Rocklahoma buddies”. Brett wouldnt let them have the absyth. Too, too many other stories that we cant ever repeat. Loved Davy Vain, Tommy Lee, LA GUNS, Faster Pussycat, Twisted Sister, Brett Micheals, ZZTop ( Billy Gibbons) watching us from the side of the stage & Warren ( Ratt) Vain, Tracci Guns, Chad & Danny as well, were some great moments. Too many cool people, the ROK crowd was special. Knobs were the last few years AEG new wannabe's, puppets, no soul or heart. Actors & about as rock n roll as Baywatch!
4. Rate the following songs by other bands out of 10:
LA Guns ‘Electric Gypsy’ 10
Kiss ‘Love Gun’ 6
Cinderella ‘Gypsy Road’ 8
Skid Row ‘Big Guns’ 9
Iron Maiden ‘Tailgunner’ 6
Guns N Roses ' welcome to the jungle 10
Crystal Pistol Rockstar 10
Aerosmith 'Janie got a gun' 10
5. What is next for Gypsy Pistoleros? And where can the world check you out online?
Lee Pistolero: The single 'Living La Vida Loca' was out this week, the album 'Forever Wild, Beautiful and Damned. Greatest Hits. Volume1 is out April 9th instore UK & Europe & out in US & Canada 9th May instore through MVD
Check us out on http://www.gypsypistoleros.com/ , http://www.heavymetalrecords.com/
6. Any final words of wisdom to share?
Lee Pistolero: Fuck, life is short! Laugh, have fun & smile. Fuckin’ live! Always chase your dreams & never, ever say “If only!!! ” & only give up when they bury you!
We then repeat the questions in Spanish for Lee to answer for his Spanish speaking fans, but he politely declined to partake:
“A tomar por el cuelo, cabron...”
And on that note, we say Adios Amigos and keep rockin’!
By Alex Eruptor