By Zach Hite
Mammoth Lakes hosts the 8th annual Margarita Festival August 9 and 10 in the Village. Friday opens up with an exotic tasting tour of all things not tequila, including Mezcal, Sotol, Bacanora, Raicilla, and even Mexican wine and whiskey. If you’re unaware of what all that meant, I can clarify: alcohol. These exotic tastings are paired with the musical stylings of Calé (their 8th year at the festival), and Caravanserai, a Santana tribute band that will be playing with Tony Lindsay, the lead singer of Santana.
Saturday continues the action with, “nothing but premium Tequila crafted from 100% Blue Weber Agave” and “15-20 different distillery representatives” to serve all the tequila you can handle (until you are cut off). Then attendees of the Margarita Festival will be lucky enough to hear the interesting and unique Metalachi.
Metalachi is, “The world’s first and only heavy metal mariachi band”. They utilize mariachi instruments to cover heavy metal/ classic rock from bands such as Slayer, Iron Maiden, Guns N’ Roses, Journey and even Queen. If you liked any Rock n’ Roll songs from 1960-1990 there is a high probability that ‘Metalachi’ has covered at least one of them.
I was lucky enough to talk on the phone with lead singer of Metalachi, Vega De LaRockha. Vega had a calm demeanor and a knowledge of music that was palpable. When asked about his musical training, Vega responded “We were young, and we come from a family of trained musicians, our uncles, and other family members were Mariachis, and that is where we got the training from, our family. Our knowledge was brought down through generations, and that is how we became what we are at this point”.
How do they merge Mariachi with Metal? Vega said it was at a Quinciera, “They had actually requested a metal song, and we combined hat dance (El Jarabe Tapatio) with Iron Man, and we called it ‘Iron Tapatio’. The response from the people was awesome, we loved it, and decided we might have something here.”
Metalachi did have something. They have released three studio albums (conveniently named: uno, dos, tres), and by his own account play about “200 shows a year.” And although, “There are some purists out there, that will go online and talk s*** about it, like ‘you can’t do this to metal’ or ‘don’t touch this song’, you know, it’s very minimal. When we go meet-and-greet people, sign posters or whatever, they love it.” When talking to their fans about how, “before they saw the show, they didn’t know what to expect, they went out blindfolded, thinking it might just be a joke or something. But then they go out and tell us ‘I’m a fan for life, I’m hooked and I can’t hear those songs the same anymore.”
Metalachi has mastered maricahi covers of fan favorites such as “Raining blood,” “Sweet Child of Mine,” and “Crazy Train.” If a Mariachi version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” doesn’t demand even one listen, then maybe Metalachi isn’t for you. But if that is true then you are going to miss out on a band that garnered this praise (courtesy of their website Metalachi.com).
“I love Metalachi.” -Billy Idol