La Ley

Chilean band La Ley, pose for the photographers during the Vina del Mar International Song Festival on February 25, 2014 in Vina del Mar, Chile.

Francesco Degasperi/AFP/Getty Images 

After a 10-year Absence, the Chilean Rockers Give their First English-language Interview to Billboard

Back in February of 2005, La Ley, Chile’s best-known rock export, played together for the last time at the Latin Grammys. It was a farewell with loads of emotion but little fanfare. The group’s core members—lead singer Beto Cuevas, guitarist Pedro Frugone and drummer Mauricio Clavería—had planned their hiatus for nearly two years and frankly, were more than ready for a break.

“Had we not taken this hiatus, La Ley would have split a short time later,” says Clavería. “We started doing this and we never stopped. It was a lot of sacrifice. So, we decided 2005 would be our last year.”

And now, La Ley is back. With a new single (“Olvidar”), a new compilation album (Retour), and a North and South American tour that will kick off in early Fall.

For the bandmembers, it’s as if nine years had never passed.

“We were a little concerned because we had to rehearse before announcing anything,” says Cuevas, the groups charismatic frontman, who launched two solo albums in the interim. “We just wanted to see if we still had it. The first song we played was ‘Hombre,’ and from the first moment, those first 15 seconds of rehearsal, it almost felt like we had released the pause button. It felt like we’d always been playing together.”

It certainly did sound that way on May 7, when the group got together for an intimate concert at MO Bar + Lounge in Miami’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel, one of several private shows anticipating the May 13 release of Retour.

And beyond the sound—La Ley’s trademark big rock ballads were as authoritative and exciting as ever (“Mentira” still sounds fresh a decade later and “Olvidar” continues that sound)—it felt good to see that rare Latin rock band that has swagger, polish and sex appeal.

“We’re bringing sexy back,” says Cuevas unabashedly. “And we’re bringing rock back.” The fact that La Ley was image conscious, he says, “was always an issue with us. When we started in Chile they would criticize us a lot because they would say these guys are too good looking so they’re not good musicians. We went through that and pretty much proved that we could be a great, solid band with looks. That’s not even a question in American rock.”