It’s been a couple of years since the sharp-tongued members of Mexican rap-metal group Molotov went on a full-fledged tour in the United States, and even longer since they put out a studio album.
Known for their explicit bilingual power-anthems like “Here We Kum,” “Gimme the Power” and -- particularly in the U.S. -- the border politics send-up “Frijolero,” Molotov will play 23 dates here starting July 13. They'll be the first Latin act to headline a Jagermeister Music Tour.
Local groups will join them along the way, at venues including New York’s Knitting Factory and Chicago’s Congress Theater. Molotov will also perform at the Reventón Super Estrella concert at L.A.'s Staples Center on July 20.
The band hasn’t put out a studio album since 2007’s “Eternamente”, a compilation of tracks that the band members recorded individually. They revived old songs on the 2012 CD/DVD set “Desde Rusia Con Amor,” recorded live on a tour of Russia. Over the last year they’ve played some dates in South America, and performed continuously in Mexico.
“We are 100% a live band,” Molotov bassist and vocalist Paco Ayala says. “All of these years we’ve been writing songs that we perform live although we haven’t recorded them.”
Ayala adds that a new studio album is in the works, which the nearly twenty-year old band expects to release digitally by the end of the year. He says the band members are currently “resolving contract issues,” and are not sure if they will put out the new album on their longtime label, Universal. “We’ve always thought that being independent is a good option,” he adds.
Despite their major label affiliation, Molotov has taken a consistent anti-establishment stance with their music -- it's a contradiction that has drawn criticism in the past. The satirical “Frijolero,” from the 2003 album “Dance and Dense Denso,” which reached No. 10 on the Billboard top Latin Albums chart, skewered racism and political policy in both the U.S. and Mexico. The video features a cartoon George W. Bush fraternizing in his underpants to a Regional Mexican beat.
“Frijolero's" provocative Spanish and English lyrics remain raw in the context of today’s immigration debate. Molotov has performed in protest of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, but Ayala says not to expect another song about the subject anytime soon. “That would be like trying to tell the same joke twice,” he says.
“We are always conscious of talking about social issues,” he adds. “It’s necessary. Some of the new songs may not be about specific political or social issues but they are critical. They may be about criticizing your neighbor, your friends or the taxi driver who overcharges you.”
When Molotov performs in the U.S. this summer, some people may be surprised to learn the band is still together. Before the release of “Eternamente,” for which they recorded tracks individually and put them together on one album, the band members announced through publicists that they were separating. That stunt went over perhaps a little too well.
“It didn’t quite work the way it was supposed to,” Ayala recalls. “A lot of people thought we had really broken up. We keep touring but some people here don’t even know.”
Molotov still attracts stadium crowds in Mexico, where they now draw the kind of multi-generational audiences typical of a classic rock band.
“Fathers come with their sons,” notes Ayala, adding that Molotov’s older songs have been around long enough to have a nostalgic pull. “People can remember specific events of their lives through our songs.”
Mototov's U.S. tour dates:
7/30 – Orlando, FL – The Beacham
7/31 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
8/3 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
8/4 – San Antonio, TX - Korova
8/5 – Dallas, TX - Trees
8/6 – Laredo, TX – Laredo Energy Center
8/7 – El Paso, TX – Tricky Falls
8/8 – Phoenix, AX – Celebrity Theatre
8/9 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre
8/10 – San Diego, CA – B Street Terminal on Broadway Pier
8/11 – Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory
8/13 – Los Angeles, CA – Conga Room
8/14 – Ventura, CA – Majestic Ventura Theatre
8/15 – San Francisco, CA – Regency Ballroom
8/16 – Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
8/17 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theatre
8/18 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory
8/20 – SLC, UT – Infinity Event Center
8/21 – Denver, CO – Red and Jerry’s
8/23 – Milwaukee, WI – The Rave
8/24 – Chicago, IL – Congress Theatre
8/25 – Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop
8/26 – Washington, DC – The Fillmore