Mysterious Mexicanos

There's no reason to try and classify the softly beautiful yet surging downtempo rock 'n' roll that Mexican band Café Tacuba makes. To pigeonhole them, 18 years into their career, is just silly. They've been labeled one of the greatest rock en español bands for years, a title they used to deserve, but frankly, it's time to throw off the qualifiers and give them some real props. In gringo terms, you can think of them as the Mexican U2. But with costumes, polka dancing, and music that makes you act instead of think, their live shows are much more interesting than anything Bono and the boys have come up with in years. With a style that varies from full-throttle to slowed down and sexy, they've made a name for themselves as the kings of Mexican rock because they're so eager to break all the rules. With their latest album, SiNo, they're able to break down barriers as well, and they are currently touring behind the best album they've produced, arguably in their long and storied history. Talking with band member Emmanuel "Meme" del Real Diaz by phone recently, he spoke of the band's popularity, travels, and the reason they hope to finally conquer music fans in Miami.

New Times: What's it like for you guys performing here in Miami?

Meme: Actually it's different because there are so many Latin American populations over there we don't get the same response we're used to. The people who go to our shows in Miami, they are more into salsa and merengue. There are Latinos who love rock in Miami, but it's not always a big show for us. Hopefully, this time it will be different.

What's your least favorite city to's not Miami is it?

No, it's not Miami [laughs]. At the end of the day, every city where we play, even if it's just 500 people, we are happy to be there and happy to have a nice time and enjoy it with the people. We went to Kansas City recently, and we thought it would be strange and that they wouldn't react to us very well, but we had an incredible time there. Everyone at the show was very appreciative 'cause they don't get to see us.

You guys have been together for a long time with the same personnel. What keeps you together?

I think, and I hope, it's the music. I mean, we have incredible respect for each other. When we get together in the studio and start playing, there's something special that we own there. Something that we don't want to destroy. We fight and have troubles like any family, though, but we're still together.

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Jonathan Cunningham