Los Lobos Brings Acoustic Show to Anthology

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 10:15

An Interview with Steve Berlin of Los Lobos

by: Casey Pukl

Mexican roots rock band, Los Lobos, has been a staple of the Southern California music scene since the mid 1970’s. With their rock solid line up (the band has retained the same original members since it started), wide range of influences, and commitment to keeping things fresh, it’s no shock that they’re still around and selling out shows overnight.

I had the chance to catch up with saxophonist/keyboardist Steve Berlin last week. Read on to find out what the band does to keep things fresh, what legendary album of theirs is scheduled for reissue, and just what makes this Anthology show so special for them!

CP: We’re stoked for your upcoming show! It’s going to be a bit of a special event for us with the 9:30 pm show being standing room only so fans can really rock out! Tell me a little bit about what’s happening!

SB: Well, this will be an all-acoustic show, and we don’t do many of those. It’s very unique in that regard. We will be playing material spanning our entire career, not just the latest. We have an album of acoustic Hispanic music, but for these shows, we try to do a little bit of everything so it’s not just that one style. We try to put in a little bit of everything we do in there.

CP: Sounds like a great show, and especially for the hardcore fans who’ll get to see something really special.

SB: Yes, definitely.

CP: Tell me a little bit about what you guys have been working on lately. Are you writing any new material or recording much?

SB: To be honest, not really. We’ve been off for a little bit. The only thing that’s even slightly new is that we’ll be doing a reissue of our record, Kiko. It was actually recorded in San Diego of all places, so that will be coming out in July. That will be the next Lobos release of any kind. Aside from that, we just haven’t really had the time or space to do much new material really. Maybe after the summer touring season is over we can get back to that.

CP: Your last album, “Tin Can Trust” I know was all recorded live. Was that the first real return to live recording for you guys?

SB: It was definitely the first time in a long time that we recorded live. I mean… Jesus… it was probably the early 90’s last time that happened.

CP: What was that like for you guys?

SB: It was really nice. It kind of reminded us what we do and why we do it in a weird way. After so many years of not recording that way, it was very refreshing to come back to it and see that we could still do it and that we still remembered how (laughs).

CP: Sure. You just touched on that being kind of a refreshing experience. You guys have been together for so long, and the lineup hasn’t changed. How do you guys keep from getting stuck in a rut, and keep the creative process fresh?

SB: Well, we try to avoid each other when we’re not on the road. That’s one way to keep it fresh. But honestly, I would say it’s stuff like this tour that will take us to San Diego, and it just lets us take a fresh look at our material. It challenges us to do it differently than we have in the past. I think that all helps to keep us on our toes.

CP: When it comes to writing, do you guys usually write together?

SB: David and Louie, our two guitar players, usually write together. Cesar usually writes on his own. But once we get in the studio, everyone usually pitches in and we all do our thing. In terms of the actual process itself, it usually depends on how busy we are and what kind of stuff is happening around us. A lot of times that’s the hardest part— just finding the space to do it in.

CP: What would you say are some of your main influences at the moment?

SB: To be honest with you, I’ve been producing a lot of other records myself. That’s pretty much the only thing I’ve been able to listen to at all since I get paid to do it (laughs). I’m out of the loop a little bit in terms of what else is going on in the world. I could tell you that I’m very happy with the record I’m a part of right now. I didn’t produce it, I’m actually in the band. But that’s going to be coming out in a couple of weeks here. The band is called Diamond Rugs, with myself, a couple of guys from the band called Deer Tick, a guy from Black Lips, and that’s been pretty awesome!

CP: What kind of band is it?

SB: I guess just a really good rock and roll band. In some respects it’s like The Replacements, but in a lot of ways, I find it hard to describe.

CP: That sounds like fun!

SB: Yeah, we’re going to be on Letterman in a couple of weeks and stuff, so it should be good. It’s kind of hard to tour though since we’re all in different bands and all that, but hopefully we’ll get down to San Diego. That would be a lot of fun.

CP: Definitely. It’s something it sounds like people would have to see since it won’t happen that often.

SB: No, it’s certainly not going to happen very often at all.

CP: What are you guys most looking forward to about coming back down to San Diego?

SB: San Diego is kind of like home in many respects. It’ll be nice to be back in sunny California too since we’re out on the east coast right now. We have a lot of good friends there too. For a lot of the guys, it’s like a home date without the pressure of dealing with all the stuff that we have to deal with when we’re actually at home. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

Special thanks to Steve for his time! Since the 7:30pm show is SOLD OUT, we’ve only got tickets left for our special 9:30pm Standing Room Only event! Be sure to get your tickets now!

Los Lobos on Spotify

WHAT: Los Lobos
WHEN: Thursday, April 19, 9:30 pm
TICKETS: $35 Buy Tickets
MORE INFO: Artist Profile