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Thursday, February 05, 2009


Latin Rock Explosion:


Written by Washington Post Express contributor Alfredo Flores

IT TOOK AN infuriating incident with United States customs officials for Molotov's sole American band member to spark the concept for the group's most popular song, "Frijolero." During a visit to the U.S., the Michigan-born, New Orleans-raised Randy Ebright had his half-Mexican daughter hassled by immigration officers in Miami. "It was, like, it was soooo out of the ordinary that an American guy would be with a Mexican woman," says Ebright, drummer for Molotov. The band is one of Mexico's most beloved, praised for its rapid-fire rap, big volume funk, metal and high-energy performances, as well as its biting tongue-in-cheek explicit bilingual lyrics targeting corruption and social injustice on both sides of the border. "I just couldn't believe they would treat my daughter that way because she wasn't full American." Ebright demoed "Frijolero" ("Beaner," an ethnic slur for a Mexican) for Paco Ayala at his Mexico City home, with Ayala deciding to emulate Ebright's accent, mocking his Spanish in the first verse, singing about foreign policies that the U.S. has with Mexico and the racism that happens on the border. "It was like a gringo singing in Spanish," says Ebright, laughing, his Louisiana drawl barely noticeable after 15 years in Mexico. The second verse of the Grammy-winning song has Ebright playing the role of a border patrol agent, telling Ayala's character not to call him a "gringo" and to stay "on his side of the river," the two battling back and forth lyrically in Spanish and English. The group has been compared to Rage Against the Machine for its socially conscious lyrics, but Molotov prefers to take its cue from the politically charged Mexico City urban rock bands that were forced into underground status in the 1970s and 1980s. Molotov's catchy, heavy baselines, guitar riffs and chant-like choruses fuel its 1997 hits "Gimme tha Power" and "Voto Latino" (Latin Vote).Ebright admits that he didn't always like his adoptive home country, particularly at first when his father, then a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, moved the family to Mexico City when Ebright was 15. He grew up in a middle-class family in the States, but in Mexico, Ebright not only did not know the language, but felt out of place at the American School Foundation private high school and its very wealthy students. Ebright found his calling in band class, and eventually linked up with "a friend of a friend of a friend" — original Molotov bass player Jay de la Cueva. The two bonded, Ebright earning the nickname "El Crazy Gringo" for his on- and offstage antics, and he began touring with the band. The band, which also features singer-guitarist Tito Fuentes and bassist Mickey "Huidos" Huidobro, became an instant hit with Ebright in tow, thrilling fans with its crazed abandon. "I wasn't too fond of the country until I was able to experience it outside of high school," he says. "Getting out, visiting other parts of the country. For some reason, the band became so big that it's almost like my band became part of the culture." » State Theatre, 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church; Sat. Feb. 7, 9 p.m., $30 in advance, $35 at the door; 703-237-0300. (East Falls Church). Photo courtesy Molotov. Tagged in Arlington County , Arts & Events , East Falls Church , Metro , Music , The District , Virginia , Weekend Pass

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