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Rodrigo Y Gabriela Interview

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So in a way you really taught yourself …

Yes, in a way that’s true but I still had to learn…

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So when and how did you start playing with a band?

I was first with a girls’ band. These girls had dreams of being famous and making money as well. They wanted me to join the band and play in bars to make some money. So I said yes but I still had to learn and so I used tapes and tried to figure it out. We would choose a repertoire and tried to play cover versions. But I wanted to play our own music not covers. I preferred to be poor and play my own music so for me it wasn’t as exciting. It was a great time with them because there were five girls and loved drinking but unfortunately we couldn’t make music together. They just wanted to play in a bar and have money. Anyway I knew Rodrigo and he had his band and for me it was the most boring band in the world, even though they were good. They didn’t drink, they didn’t smoke - despite playing metal music. Their guitarist left and I knew the pieces. They started to audition guitarists but Rodrigo is such a terrible teacher so every time a new guy came after twenty minutes the guy would leave crying. They auditioned something like forty guys and I knew all the pieces so I started teaching this new guy who then said ‘why don’t you join the band?’ It was the most boring band in the world, and they practiced a lot (which was good) but apart from that it was really boring. And they wanted a guy because they were metal heads and they wanted to look like Sepultura; they wanted to look like four guys who rock. So they didn’t want me but I guess they didn’t have any option so we had to play together. So I quit the girl band and joined that band and started playing in what they called ‘funky clubs’ but they are not funky at all. They are car parks, low budget underground organisations that brought bands over from the States. At that time they were even Slayer, Sepultura, Anthrax, Overkill, and we went to see all those bands and were dying to play support for those guys but there were many bands playing our style and it was quite hard to try and make a living. We were around twenty-year olds at the time and I thought it wasn’t going anywhere. But we kept going, kept playing, doing office jobs and at the end a producer came along who had plenty of money and we recorded an album. He took it to one of those major labels like Sony so at last we got what we wanted.

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How did you get together with Rodrigo and start what you’re now doing?

He was in the band and when we finished the band practice we always used to keep playing all the time with acoustic guitars. So when we decided to quit the band it was because we knew we could make a living and we asked the question ‘why we were obsessed with this stupid idea of playing with a metal band and becoming famous?’ Musically it was limited as well; you could not play certain things and certain harmonies. It was a good school playing trash metal; good playing live gigs; and I played for four years. We then moved to the beach and we were playing different styles of music even though we didn’t have any material to play for romantic, candlelit dinners for tourists at the beach. We were so desperate to work we agreed and did two sets of forty-five minutes in which we played Metallica and Slayer, and people said ‘what sort of music is that?

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