Argentine Rock Bands Ever

Rock nacional Argentino has a dynamic and eclectic history, not to mention legendary status in Latin America. I mean just their names make you want to listen to them. Who else but a mad Argy could come up with …Los Abuelos de la Nada (The Grandads of Nothing?) or Los Caballeros de la Quema (Burnt Gentlemen?)…and they don’t even make the list. Open up this treasure chest of a genre and expect to discover a dizzying list of names and yes, in some cases, creative musical genius.
Jose Luis Seijas

!. Patricio Rey y sus Redonditos de Ricota (little balls of ricotta cheese)

Led by singer Carlos “Indio” Solari and guitarist Eduardo “Skay” Bellinson Los Redonditos is one of the most famous of the Rock Nacional family tree. Formed in 1977 and hailing from La Plata, Los Redonditos provided a rock and roll release against a background of dictatorship, the Falklands war and the traumatic legacy of the ‘disappeared.” It’s survival (probably the only group) was due to their highly cryptic lyrics, which had military leaders almost certainly spending sleepless nights failing to decypher. In the post-dictatorship year’s of an increasingly corporate and media obsessed music industry, El Indio’s media shy approach, never giving interviews, never making videos or adverting concerts and doing everything ‘in-house’, earned him an almost mythical status, and unparalleled loyalty from fans, known as the Ricoteros. Hardly ever playing in the capital, the Ricoteros would travel hundreds of miles on buses to concerts in remote football stadiums. It was often said the Redonditos were the only authentic, reliable thing left in Argentina when everyone else, politicians etc had let people down. So much passion they generated (and Argies do passion like no other) the atmosphere of their concerts could make U2 feel like they'd been playing in an empty pub. Seriously.

2. Soda Stereo

If Los Redonditos are the Boca of Argentine Rock – the rock of the people – then Soda Stereo is the River Plate – making Argentine talent an international phenomenon. Often accused by Ricoteros it of being the rich boys rock choice, Soda proved to be one of the most important rock/pop bands of the eighties and nineties. Exploding onto the scene in 1982, Soda Stereowas the union of Gustavo Cerati, Charly Alberti and Zeta Bosio. Super talented singer-songwriter Cerati was influenced by bands such as Talking Heads and The Police, and never ceased to change, infusing new wave and electronica into his compositions. They were the first Argentine band to become Latin American rock superstars, filling football stadiums continent-wide from Caracas to Santiago de Chile. Disbanding in 1997, the members went on to pursue solo careers but did reunite briefly for a tour in 2007. Gustavo Cerati, the group’s musical brain went on to become successful in Europe as well as the Americas, playing in London only recently, but tragically last year suffered a brain hemorrhage whilst in Venezuela, and remains in a coma

3. Sumo

Alternative rock band of the 1980s, the iconic Sumo concocted a powerful blend of post-punk, reggae and ska. The outrageously talented Italian lead singer and frontman, Luca Prodan was battling with heroin addiction when he was invited to a farm in the province of Cordoba. It was during this period of self-imposed rehabilitation that Sumo was born. Prodan’s time spent in London and Manchester hanging out with the likes of Joy Division, ensured the injection of a British post-punk vibe into their music. This element was to prove highly influential to the Argentine rock scene up until Luca Prodan’s untimely death in 1987. While Luca was the ‘Lovely loser’ (an amazing solo album of his by the way) Sax player Roberto Pettinato was the opposite, becoming a wacky Jonathan Ross style TV star in the nineties, embracing all the celebrity frivolity of that era, everything that super-sensitive artist Prodan wasn’t.

4. Los Divididos

The sudden and tragic death of Luca Prodan caused his fellow band mates to split up and form two new rock bands: one was Las Pelotas and the other, Divididos, comprising of Ricardo Mollo, Diego Arnedo and Gustavo Collado. Hugely successful, in 2005 the band won and shared the Platinum Konex Award as best rock group of 1995-2005 along with Los Redonditos.

5. Los Fabulosos Cadillacs

Founded in 1985 by singer Gabriel Fernandez Capello, or 'Vicentico' and bassist Flavio Cianciaurlo; 'Sr. Flavio,' members of the band have come and gone but the Cadillacs’s infamous serving of rock, ska and reggae has ensured an international following. It was the first band to fuse Latin and ska (20 years before the UK’s Ska Cubano did) and has also been one of Argentina’s most successful rock exports, selling out tours in the Americas and Europe. The Cadillacs won the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album, and were nominated in the 2000 Latin Grammy Awards for Best Band and Best Music Video ("La Vida"), which received the now-defunct International Viewer's Choice Award (Southern Region) at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards. Last year it delivered one of London’s most successful Latin shows by selling out at the Troxy.

6. Ratones Paranoicos

Recognised for their strong influence from the Rolling Stones, Ratones Paranoicos came into being in 1986 founded by Juanse (Juan Sebastian Guitierrez) and Pablo Memi. After the success of the big hit ‘Rock del Gato,’ in ’91, the Ratones were signed to Sony and subsequently worked with Rolling Stones produce, Andrew Oldham. They opened for both Guns N’ Roses and the Stones in Buenos Aires and have collaborated with acts of such calibre as Los Piojos and Andres Calamaro.

7. Los Piojos

Receiving their first commercial success in 1992 with Chactuchac. The second half of the nineties further pushed Los Piojos in to the realm of great recognition as the concept of suburban rock became more popular, with emerging bands such as Viejas Locas and La Renga. Interestingly, you will find elements of folklore in their music. With traces of the Redonditos, Los Piojos can also be seen in the tradition of raw, atmospheric rock and a grassroots, non-pretentious approach to music and the industry. Totally authentic and some beautiful compositions like 'Ando Ganas'.

8. Los Violadores

Emerging in the early eighties with punk rock, Los Violadores commonly had to perform under another name due to censorship by the military government in power. The band split in ’92 but have reunited at various points with different musicians over the years.

9. Bersuit Vergarabat

Formed officially in 1989, Bersuit, also known as the ‘psicopatas’ (due to the fact they often performed in pyjamas honouring Buenos Aires’s psychiatric hospital, Jose Tiburcio Borda) amongst dedicated fans, are famous for their politically engaged, satirical lyrics and eclectic formula of rock, cumbia, chacarera, cuartetazo, candombe and ska. Initially popular in Buenos Aires’s underground scene, Bersuit found national fame and subsequently throughout Latin America and Spain.

10. Babasonicos

Another band which appeared with the new wave sounds of the late eighties and early nineties, Babasonicos brought original sounds to the Argentine underground music scene thanks to lead singer Adrían “Dárgelos” Rodríguez and the keyboardist Diego “Uma-T” Tuñon in Lanús (south of Buenos Aires). The name Babasónicos refers to the Indian guru Sai Baba and the cartoon ‘The Jetsons’, translated as ‘Los Supersónicos’ in Spanish speaking countries. This band opened for acts such as Depeche Mode and U2 in the nineties and have since gone onto win numerous awards.