The revival of Curanderos

By Rick Perez. Los AngelesJuly 11, 2014AB's Top Music News, Music
By Rick Perez. Los Angeles | July 11, 2014


The members of the very popular Angelino band will regroup for a special concert night for Al Borde, a heartfelt tribute to Mario, the deceased leader of the formation

Curanderos was an LA based band that had it’s beginnings in 1997 with original line up Mario Lomar (Guitar &Vocals), Rick Lomar (Bass), Larrhy Ruiz ( Lead guitar) and Fabricio Argueta (Drums ). The Lomar brothers had their start in the early 90’s in the chicano punk movement with bands such as Subrosa and Jonestown. By mid 90’s they took a special interest of the emerging Rock En Español LA scene. Inspired to sing in Spanish, they decided to change things up a bit by fusing their music influences such as the Pixies, Radiohead, Caifanes, and Santana. Fans and music critics took notice quickly. Eventually, they lost their drummer and Diego Palacios (former Materia Gris) was asked to join the band.

They became one of the most important and influential local bands from Los Angeles and were respected like other pioneering bands like Viva Malpache, Cabula, Voz de Mano, Pastilla, Maria Fatal, among others. During their 13 year musical endeavor, they shared the stage with prestigious artist like Zoe, Maná, Inspector, Enanitos Verdes, Jarabe de Palo, Víctimas, and even Joan Sebastian.

By 2010, the band decided to end their musical career together, and two years later, Mario passed away from an abdominal aortic aneurism. He fought liver disease from a very young age. Honoring his colleague and friend, this 2014 they will reunite one more time to bring Mario’s lyrics, dreams, and anecdotes to life. Curanderos still lives!

When was the last time you played together as a band?
Rick: That was probably in 2006. It was the 10th year anniversary show in Riverside and we found a great place to perform. We probably packed the place with about two hundred people, a lot of them came out from LA and Orange County, very exciting. That summer of 2007 was the last time Diego, Larrhy, and Mario played together.

In regards to getting the band together for this special night. Did any of you have the idea of playing one more show?
Rick: Honestly, I don’t think this was ever going to happen because we weren’t talking to each other anymore. I never thought of reaching out to Diego or Larrhy. As far as the show, Al borde made it happened. We are really grateful because thanks to them, there is a genuine interest in talking again. We know we love each other, so it was a shame we stopped communicating and lost track of each other’s lives.

Diego: I agree with Ricky. I don’t think we left off in bad terms per say because the small problems that existed in the past were just small. And like Ricky mentioned, it was a shame that maybe our egos kept us from reaching out to each other after Mario passed. However, it felt so surreal when Al Borde called us because weeks before, or even months before, I had been contemplating on reaching out to Rick and Larrhy. We thought it was a good idea to commemorate Mario.

How much do you miss him?
Diego: Mario is still here in the rehearsals, and as soon as we hit that first chord and start playing, we feel his presence and we all choke up. Larryh’s tears were flowing during “Despiertame”, it was amazing and really touching. So far, it’s our second rehearsal and its been great, the songs are coming back like nothing. We played them for so long they’re coming back to us like time has no passed at all.

How do you think the old School Fans will react to this special tribute night?
Larrhy: I didn’t even know we still have fans!?? (Laughs). They’re probably going to be as surprised as we are. We’re going to go out there and give them a great show. I want the fans to enjoy themselves as much as we will!

Rick: I think most of them will enjoy the show even though it’s not Mario’s voice. Maybe a few purists might feel a little less convinced, but everyone has to acknowledge that these are Mario’s lyrics.Ultimately, it’ll be great and the fans will enjoy this tribute.

We know Mario had one of the most unique voices in LA, How did the band select the singer or singers who will contribute that night and why?
Rick: Wow, Diego might want to talk about Jermain and how he started playing Curanderos songs, they are BFFs!

Diego: I don’t know if it’s relevant to say this but, besides Jermain, we would love to have Victor (Pastilla), Fernando (Maria Fatal) and Art from Ruido De Fondo, on board. Although, the first candidate I thought was Jermain, who is the singer of La Teoria, and I know him as my musician brotha’ from Materia Gris. He is very thankful for the opportunity and jumped on board right the way.

There are two Eps and three albums. How did you decide on the tracks? Any special songs to look out for?
Diego: For the most part, it’ll be the anthems of the band, Dolores, Despiertame, Campo Santo, all those jams were really cool to play. But on top of that, there are older projects we are working on, especially Larrhy and Rick’s projects. The very beginning of the Black EP, the doll album, is composed by amazing songs that Mario wrote. I’m a big fan!

Rick: But as far as surprising our audience, we will do one original song that Mario recorded professionally. I can’t say which one is, but we’re gonna do something brand new from Mario’s collection.

The three of you have moved on after Curanderos. What are some of the projects and or ventures each of you have taken?
Rick: I took a complete sabbatical from music. I think I wanted to focus on my day Job career, pursue a Masters Degree go to graduate school, but ultimately that wasn’t satisfying for my soul. So I started writing songs on my own mostly musical composition cause I mostly did musical compositions.

Larrhy: I’m working with a great drummer and a great bass player. They’re well-known throughout the L.A. scene. They’re pioneers if you will. Gabriel Ramirez, who’s the drummer of Maria Fatal. He’s played with Concrete Blond and various other artists. One of my favorite drummers for sure! And of course el maestro Jose Rodriguez, who also played in Maria Fatal and with other musicians like Eloy Torrez, Cuevo and the list goes on. The project is called rifle, it’s a temporary name, we haven’t decided on an official name yet.

Diego: I’m hoping that good things come out of this reunion just as much as it can be a one time thing it could be something more. We’re crossing our fingers for that, but with me I’ve been trying to stay active in music I have a business that I co-owned with my sister that’s my 9 to 5. But thanks to the popularity of the band my “career” as a drummer an as a musician, I was approached by many people in the industry friends in the scene, in this case DJ’s to approach the DJ drummer concept, and I’ve been doing that since the band disintegrated that’s kept me doing drumming.

I just want to mention that August 8th is not just the Al Borde Summer Concert, but it’s also the month Mario was born. This makes the night a bit more meaningful. I wanted to ask all of you, what has been the most memorable moment you had with Mario?

Rick: We’ve had so many and even outside of the band. I’ve spent Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other holidays with him. He was my brother! But as a band, every time we went on tour we experienced something new. Traveling together to New York, the east coast Washington to Miami, going to Colombia. I think we’ve bonded even more going to those trips. I think it was a great privilege to experienced that with Mario.

Diego: For me “Marito” meant so much more than the lead singer of our band. He was a friend. We experienced many great times off the stage, BBQ’s, places we would go, how funny he was,  and how much of a character he was. He made people laugh all the time, cracking up jokes, impressions that he did. Great overall person, besides his talent.

Larrhy: There were a lot of memorable moments, but the ones that come to mind have to be me rushing to Mario’s house to play a song that I just wrote and to see his face light up and laugh with joy. Was great for me … because for me it was kind of like getting an approval from him, then to hear him say the magic words. He didn’t like every song I wrote, but when he did , he would sing it just like I pictured it. The best part was we where both fans of each other and it just worked…