By Rhia Perkins
Huevos Rancheros would like you to know that no bulls were harmed during the production of their latest album, Muerte del Toro. The release of this album, their fourth in 10 years, is a big deal for this Calgary band.
"We actually started recording this in our rehearsal space a year ago," says guitarist Brent J. Cooper. "Then we scrapped it."
The band went to work again a few months later with the help of "Chief Knob Twiddler" Dave Alcot of Chixdiggit fame and Muerte del Toro was born.
One of the only guitar-based instrumental bands around these days, Huevos Rancheros are proud of their accomplishments in this unique genre.
"Originally we went instrumental because it seemed like the quickest way to get on stage and have some fun,"says Cooper. "We didn’t think we’d last a month. For an independent Canadian instrumental rock band we’ve done pretty well."
The band resists labels like surf rock or rockabilly, as well as constant demands that they get a singer.
"It wouldn’t be the same with a singer," says Cooper. "Then you’ve gotta have words. Even though we’re playing within the tradition of older rock and roll instrumental bands,we’re not trying to be retro.
"We try to be forward-thinking, [but] we’re not going to go out and buy drum machines."
Huevos Rancheros are influenced by much more than bands like the Ramones and AC/DC, though. The Spanish flavour of their albums is evident in album titles like Muerte del Toro (death of the bull), songs like "Muerto del toro con queso" (bull’s death with cheese) and even the band’s name.
"It’s the best hangover breakfast, or that’s what they tell me," says Cooper of their decidedly eggy name. "Most bands just grab a name and get stuck with it. After 10 years we can deal with it. Spanish sounds good.
"I guess if we were better Canadians we’d have more French titles."
The band has toured extensively in Europe and remembers some of their Spanish gigs fondly.
"We played in this community hall that was still dedicated to Franco. All the old people from the village came to see the Canadian Ranchero band. As soon as we started to play the first song, they all left and all the young people came in and filled the hall," reminisces Cooper, laughing.
"Some of the shows in Spain were kind of surreal."
Still, the band is looking forward to being back in Calgary for their album release party this weekend.
"We always like to play in Calgary, our fabulous home town," he confides. "Plus when we’re in town, we can sleep in our own beds."
Huevos Rancheros will be hosting their anniversary and Muerte del Toro release party June 9 at the Night Gallery.