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Baker's Dozen

Everything's Connected: Omar Rodríguez-López Favourite LPs
Stevie Chick , September 10th, 2020 08:43

Former At The Drive In and Mars Volta member Omar Rodríguez-López speaks to Stevie Chick about the records that shaped his life, from Latin traditionals to how Janet Jackson got him into punk


La Lupe – Con El Diablo En El Cuerpo 
There's a song that's on a later record she did with Tito Puente – The Exciting La Lupe Sings With Maestro Tito Puente – called 'Que Te Petri Letra'. Even if you don't speak Spanish, if you listen to that song and you're not moved, then your soul must have been killed, and you're just a body walking around. But this is her first record, and it's a good way to dive into her world, to get a sense of her, and also the various kinds of music that are known as salsa.

Celia Cruz might have been a more obvious choice – La Lupe's obviously inspired by Celia, who came before her and is the queen. But La Lupe, she's another one like Betty Davis – she did not play ball, she did things her own way. This album is called With The Devil In The Body, and it just embodies how wild she was. As I understand, that's why she was dropped by her record label later, and got fewer and fewer opportunities, and never became as famous as Celia – because she was very, very wild. If you watch her performances, or see interviews with her, she just says it like it is: she's fiercely independent.

Her first appearance on Puerto Rican TV caused la polemica, some sort of controversy. Like, everyone was frenzied and wrote in and was shocked by her performance – shocked, just by a person singing, if you can imagine that, because of how intense her energy was, and that was not what people were used to at the time. Just her singing a song – the lyrics weren't controversial, she wasn't wearing anything controversial – it was just her energy, through the television screen, her singing, that caused people to write in and complain. People should check her out for that, and also, again, she's a good representation of the many varied styles of salsa music.