The Zeros Play the Troubadour Tonight!
See also: The Best Five Concerts in L.A. This Weekend
Courtesy of Reqiem Management
The Zeros were punk when most people didn't know what punk was. The L.A.-by-way-of-Chula Vista band released their first single on legendary Bomp! Records in 1977, that magical year when punk exploded.
The folks involved in their early days reads like a who's who of L.A. music. Their first show was with the Weirdos and the Germs, put on by the Nerves' and the Plimsouls' Peter Case. After a series of riotous shows, the band faded out in the early '80s. They moved to San Francisco and Austin, then back home. Now, they rarely record and only occasionally tour. The band has been both marginalized (as the "Mexican Ramones") and celebrated (as the first Chicano punks), both descriptions of which fail to capture their essence.
Zeros frontman Javier Esocvedo comes from a family of musical Escovedos, including brothers Alejandro, Coke, Mario and Pete, brother-in-law El Vez, and niece Sheila E. Ahead of the band's show at the Troubadour tonight, we talked with Escovedo about punk rock, politics, and, y'know, the kids.
So, you guys are just touring every other year now?
Well the year before last, we got around quite a bit, we did SXSW, NXNE...we don't really want to hang around all the time. We gave people a chance to see us and wanted to give them a break.
Well, you guys are one of the few bands of your era still doing anything.
It has been so long, it's like people don't remember a lot of the old punk bands.
Maybe. But a lot of you old guys don't have that one definitive album you can point to.
What's funny, when you're talking about a lot of the bands at that time, like the Zeros...I mean for us to think that we were gonna make an album, was kinda far fetched really. Y'know? It was kinda few and far between, of the bands that were the first generation. The Dills didn't have an album, we didn't really have an album -- it [was] just singles plus demos. The Weirdos didn't have an album until much later. It's just the way it was back then, which is why it took a lot longer for a lot of us to get famous. With the internet it's a lot easier to get recognition. That's probably why the Zeros pack them in nowadays -- because we've got a video on YouTube.
The situation is probably worse now than when we started -- there aren't as many record labels as there used to be. There are a lot of independent labels, though, and bands are putting out a lot of their own stuff now.
Are you listening to any new punk these days?
I hear about bands through NME and stuff. There's that band The View -- I wouldn't call them punk, but they've got that attitude -- they don't give a shit. I don't go to a lot of shows or see a lot of bands. Actually, the last show I went to was Mala Rodriguez, she's Spanish hip hop. She's great.
Isn't hip-hop now more like punk rock was back then?