Twenty-two years ago today Caifanes their third album entitled El Silencio (The Silence). The album holds multiple significances both for the band and as well for Rock En Espanol as a genre. The record is regarded my many as the band’s biggest release as well as being the last album for the band as a quintet as keyboard player Diego Herrera and bassist Sabo Romo eventually left the band during the concert tours that followed the release. As well the album’s release happened at a time in which Rock En Espanol started growing as far as becoming a legitimate musical genre in Mexico after decades of repression by the nation’s government.
Here’s an English-language article/review of the album from back in the days
I remember February of 1993, then A’s GM Sandy Alderson held a press conference unveiling a change in the team’s logo and uniforms with a slightly bolder green and gold color as well as a new more aggressive-looking elephant with crossed bats logo. The change also brought on the debut of a designated road game hat. The hat was an all dark green hat with the A’s logo in white.
However in the middle of that season I remember reading in the Sporting Green one morning that utility man Lance Blankenship and some other players expressed somewhat of a disdain for the current road hats and in doing so colored the white A’s logo with a yellow marker. As it turned out the next season in 1994, the road hats became all green but with the A’s logo in golden yellow. Not sure whether it was because of players and fans disliking the all green with the white logo or possibly to match the new green alternate jerseys that the team also began wearing that season.
That road hat would be the road hat for the next 19 seasons until this past fan fest when in unveiling a new green alternate jersey a new road hat was also unveiled presumably to match the new jerseys. The hat which is being used this upcoming season is similar to the 1993 version but with a white A’s logo outlined in golden yellow.
So yet again Univisión decides to change formats again and this time it’s strictly English-language dance/hip-hop. Last known as Latino Mix is now becoming Hot 105 and to ring in the change, the station has been playing Nelly’s 2002 song “Hot in Herre” and on repeat all weekend long thus creating a social media craze with the hashtag #Nelly1057 trending throughout the Bay Area. But in the midst of the craze, I look back at the different faces of the station throughout the yeara under Univisión’s ownership.
It begins in September of 2003 with Viva 105.7. For me it was a station I had long waited for up here in the Bay Area that would play rock en español music from acts like Maná, Jaguares, Cafe Tacvba, La Ley, Enanitos Verdes, etc. Before that all that was heard on any of the Spanish-language radio stations in The Bay was either romantic pop ballads on what was then known as Radio Romantica or Regional Mexican (Banda, Ranchera, etc) on Estereo Sol. I won’t say it was totally a rock en español station since they didn’t play more actual rock bands like Fobia, El Tri, Soda Stereo or Maldita Vecindad but to me it seemed like it was something that matched my musical likes.
However in 2005 with the reggaeton genre growing and virtually much of the youth around the Americas hopping the bandwagon, Viva gave way to a reggaeton/urban/hip-hop format renamed La Kalle. Daddy Yankee, Ivy Queen and Don Omar among many quickly became household names in the Latin music world. La Kalle was virtually a Spanish or better yet Spanglish copy of Bay Area hip hop stations Wild 94.9 and KMEL with mainstream acts like Pitbull, 50 cent, Kanye West and Usher also in the mix. Even though much of the Latin population was and still is for the most part more into hip-hop and rap as oppose to rock, those still into the pop/rock genre were left disappointed and feeling any of the music heard on La Kalle could easily be heard on KMEL or Wild 94.9. For a lot of folks I talked to at rock en espanol concerts, it would only be a matter of time till that fad would die down. As for my disdain for the genre, I’ll save it for another blog post.
Well around 2008 I noticed as I was listening that the station had began to move from the all urban Latin format and bringing back pop and rock music to the mix. By October 2011 the station changed it’s name to Latino Mix. Not only was the mix made up of Latin pop/rock/urban but also some of the latest in mainstream music such as Adele and even Carly Rae Jepsen’s one hit wonder “Call Me Maybe” were played on the station. At the end of last year LatinBayArea.com had run an article saying that the station was going to change formats yet again this time to an all-English format though not saying exactly when. Well sure enough Friday night I’m working on another blog post when I read tweets about what was being played over and over on 105.7 and sure enough it meant the change in stations and with the new station being called Hot 105, what a way to usher in the new station.
Today being Ash Wednesday, today’s blog post is about a song called “Miercoles de Ceniza, or as translated in English “Ash Wednesday”. The song comes from Caifanes‘ 1992 album El Silencio. For me the song gained more significance much later when the group performed under the moniker jaguares throughout the 2000s. With the verses to the song having really high notes and by then a throat ailment limited vocalist Saúl Hernández’s vocal range, drummer Alfonso André was called upon to sing the high notes as the verses part of the song ran on tracks and didn’t yet include drums until later in the song.
Having seen Jaguares perform in Northern California yearly from 2001 till 2010, that was arguably the favorite part of the show for me and many other fans with the exception of 2008 and 2009 when the song wasn’t included on the show’s set list even when I personally asked Alfonso before one of the shows given the band was good as far as what fans wanted to hear. But luckily in 2010 we got to hear Alfonso sing it for one last time as Jaguares ended up going under with Caifanes coming back together the next year. Hopefully Jaguares comes back one day and we get to see Alfonso sing it for us again.
My latest additions to the jersey collection acquired from this past weekend’s A’s fan fest are definitely not exactly in the random, obscure player category but they have this in common and that is they both were among the key parts of an A’s division-winning season
When mulling over which jersey I was hoping to get from the 2008 fan fest, Esteban Loaiza was a name that popped into mind but for whatever reason I just didn’t see the jersey out there. Well fast forward six years last later as I was going through the section of home whites and lo and behold Loaiza’s #25 jersey which most likely was from his one and only start of 2007 for the A’s as he spent most of that season on the DL before finally healing to make that start and just days later getting claimed off waivers by the Dodgers.
Most of us A’s fans might remember 2006 even though Loaiza didn’t started out so great. But it was that summer that he became one of the keys to the A’s returning to the postseason after two strait second place finishes against Anaheim and as well advancing to the ALCS against Detroit.
After 2006 the A’s wouldn’t see the postseason again until six years later in 2012 which brings me to the man behind the other jersey I picked up, Travis Blackley. Blackley joined the A’s in early May of that season after being designated for assignment by the Giants. Starting out effectively in the A’s bullpen, Blackley earned himself a start on Memorial Day in Minnesota and remained in the starting rotation until minor league pitching sensation Dan Straily was called up to make his big league debut. Taking the temporary demotion with class, it was Blackley that took the win in a 15-inning marathon against Toronto in which Straily made his debut that August. During that season and with the growth of twitter among fans, many of us also remember Blackley for his many hashtags in his tweets. I personally remember his tweets in which he referred to his teammates as “The lads”.
However as it would turn out Blackley’s final big act for Oakland came in what many of us simply remember as “Game 161”. Having already secured that first playoff spot in six years, Blackley was given the start in that game in which the A’s would enter into a tie for the Western Division title. Blackley delivered giving up just one run in a 3-1 victory that would set up the ultimate shocker the next day in which they would wrap up that three-game sweep of the Rangers who had held on to the top of the division until that last day. Unfortunately Blackley didn’t make the team out of Spring Training and was delivered the news when the team made it to the Bay Area for their final pre-season games against the Giants before opening the 2013 season. As always classy, grateful for the chance he was given to shine in Oakland and like many others enamored by the fan support, he made his final mark by hanging out in the right field bleachers with the folks during that game against the Giants before preparing for his next move.
As far as his jersey I picked out at fan fest which was meant for him for last season, I figured it would be somewhat of a memento from that great season. After fan fest of course I wasted no time posting a pic of the jersey and in doing so mentioning that we would always remember Blackley in his time in Oakand. As of the time of this writing my tweet of the pic got 21 favorites and a retweet from the man himself. Grateful for that retweet, I responded to him by saying I would rock that jersey at the yard proudly.
Even though I didn’t get the jerseys I had hoped to get at that fan fest, it didn’t occur to me until a few days after that the jerseys I did come out with would actually have a connection to each other. Not only are they connected by the six years in between playoff appearances but for both of them those were their last big moments in their big league careers…that is until they make their attempts at comebacks. Either way nice to know I got some good pieces from those seasons.
I’m not known to be any bit a fan of soccer with the small exception of the World Cup. Though I may not know much of the sport or the players involved, whenever there is international competition going on that’s when I like to tune and check the game action.
And With national pride in mind even though again I’m not a fan of the sport, ever since the last World Cup in 2010 I figured I wanted something to represent the nation of my origin.
Since that last World Cup in South Africa, I had been asking my nieces in Jakarta about obtaining the game jersey for Indonesia’s national team. I had seen advertising for the jersey on the regional Nike website and sent my nieces the link so that maybe they would be able to help investigate as to where the jersey could be found and bought. Well they tried around many places including the Nike shops around Jakarta and even through inside connections they could not find it.
Last June I traveled to Indonesia for my month-long vacation with my parents and with another World Cup just around the corner I figired there had to be a chance I coild find the jersey and sure enough the first sports outlet at a Jakarta mall I went to actually had it. Those many years I was wanting that jersey and It never occurred to me that I’d get that jersey by going to Jakarta and getting it myself. And while out there I bought both the home red jersey and the visiting white jersey.
Well supposedly the team has never been anywhere close to good enough to make it into the tournament for whatever reasons. Maybe the only way that will happen is if Indonesia gets to host a World Cup which I hope happens within my lifetime. Until then I’m just happy to finally have a piece of my roots to represent.
Besides that black Casey Chavez jersey I also picked up this throwback from that pre-season tailgate. I happened to see some other throwback jerseys in the pile but somehow didn’t catch one of Interest until I came across this one.
The jersey was worn by Ryan Sweeney as part of a “turn back the clock” game in Tampa Bay in early 2010. That season Sweeney wore number 21 as he voluntarily gave his previous number 15 to veteran starting pitcher ben sheets who had signed with Oakland for that season. And as number 21 being one of my favorite numbers upon coming across that jersey in the pile I wasted no time getting it and adding to my collection.
I picked up this jersey from the 2011 preseason tailgate which at the time took place of Fan Fest. Originally I was in search of an “Atléticos” game jersey from that Latin Heritage Day game the previous August but supposedly only one was made available and sold by the time I got in. So as I happen to be browsing I came across a home white Casey Chavez jersey. Casey ChAvez being the A’s bullpen catcher as well as the brother of one-time A’s star third baseman Eric Chavez.
Number 99 was the number Casey Chavez used and somehow that name and number on the back of the jersey caught my attention. As well I figured it would be great for throwing off some otherwise less knowledgeable A’s fans or other baseball followers for that matter. As I got ready to check out, I checked Out the list of jerseys and prices I got coming and saw that a black alternate jersey was available. As the black jerseys basically became a throwback as the A’s were debuting the alternate gold jerseys at home that year, I really wanted to score a black jersey from that sale and so I inquired about that jersey and luckily enough they found it. For most of that season I rocked that jersey to most of the games I attended and soon after and ever since has been one of three black jerseys worn on Friday night games for Black Friday in the Right Field Bleachers.
So my first A’s baseball related post to my blog is about my Alberto Castillo game jerseys. Alberto Castillo was a journeyman catcher who had gone through the Yankees, Kansas City and San Francisco among many teams before passing through Oakland late in 2005. He didn’t join the big league club until late September with roster expansion and only played in one game hence the jerseys barely showed the typical wear and tear of a catcher’s uniform.
It was at FanFest that following February that I bought the first of the three jerseys which was the home white one and actually my first A’s home white jersey. When deciding on a jersey the name and number ia what tends to catch my attention which in this case number 22. When I went to the first ever World Baseball Claasic semifinals in San Diego the next month, Castillo was the starting catcher for his native Dominican Republic and luckily enough I rocked that jersey I had to that game. As I only attended two A’s games that season that jersey was my outfit for those games.
The next year’s Fan Fest even before going in, I had in mind to complete the set and sure enough I managed to score the road grey and alternate green jerseys. The intersting part was as I would go around wearing them folks approaching me from the front thought it was either Eric Byrnes jersey since he wore number 22 before Castillo or they thought it was a Milton Bradley (who wore number 22 after) one.
It was with those jerseys that I started my collection. Of course at that time I had absoultely no clue my fellow bleacher friend Will MacNeill was also starting a collection of his own and just as folks know him for his JJ Furmaniak collection little by little folks knew me by my Castillo collection.
My first actual article in my blog begins with a rather obscure album that just recently I dug out and listened to for the first in quite some time. The album Series de Ficción (Fiction Series) was Leonardo de Lozanne’s somewhat anticipated debut solo album which was released in June of 1999 in Mexico. At the time de Lozanne was nearly two years separated from the breakup of Fobia, the famed rock en español band that he had been frontman for for ten years. Supposedly de Lozanne’s aspirations to go solo brought about the separation of Fobia and I would guess in part since de Lozanne was strictly the band’s vocalist as their guitarist Paco Huidobro wrote Fobia’s material.
I first got to hear the album at the hotel room of a friend while visiting in Southern California that August. The album at the time was released only in Mexico and eventually made its way to stores in the U.S. in September. Having listened, it was definitely distinct from Fobia’s music which was more conventional rock. The sound seemed more easy, slow rock with the exception of the album’s title track which I would say sounds as close to de Lozanne’s Fobia roots as it can get. “Complices” (Accomplices) was the track from the album that was released as de Lozanne’s solo debut single and played over radio stations catering to the Latin Rock audience in areas such as Los Angeles and Mexico City.
Unfortunately the album, as well as de Lozanne as a soloist suppose didn’t get all too far especially after a sophomore release in 2002 entitled Turistas (Tourists) which I myself have never heard. In 2004 Fobia got back together and have done three albums since. So essentially this album, or for that matter any of de Lozanne’s solo material, is all but faded into obscurity over time with Fobia active.
At the time of writing this, I hadn’t heard the album in at least ten years and most definitely hearing it brought back a lot of memories from summer and fall of 1999 when the album came out and was still fresh. While many think of albums that the whole world hears about or makes headlines this is one of those totally random ones that stand out in my mind.