Gypsy Pistoleros – The Mescalito Vampires
Review By – The Dark Cookie
I’ve seen GYPSY PISTOLEROS described as “ideal house band for the fictitious Titty Twister bar of Rodriguez’s From Dusk till Dawn” and “The Greatest Flamenco Sleaze Glam band ever!”, and, you know what I cannot disagree with these sentiments. Their spicy Tex-Mex take on sleazy, punk ‘n’ roll sets their sound in a unique parallel dimension, where every day is The Day Of The Dead, and men are all sombrero wearing, pistol touting “sons of beetches” and women are all statuesque, hard drinking beauties with their Flamenco skirts shimmying in the hot desert breeze. I think all this Mexicali imagery is getting to me, so let’s get on with the review Gringo!
“The Mescalito Vampires” is the current long player from this outfit which is the bastard love-child of Gypsy Lee Pistolero and has its roots way back in the 90’s. The band have been releasing music since 2005, and pleasing live music fans at festivals and supporting such bands as LA GUNS, MOTORHEAD, ZZ TOP etc.
Opening the album with the sound of an urgently ringing telephone, which immediately becomes urgent guitars of “Lost In A Town Called Nowhere”. The song sets the tone, it is a fast pace rocker, built on an infectious groove and loud guitars. The underlying Tex-Mex touches, the horns, the beat enhance the song, not overpower it, they add a dimension to the music.
Whereas “Viva la Revolution, Viva Zapata” wears its Latino colours like a Lucha libre wrestler wears his mask, both throw us into the ropes before slamming us to the floor. As does the title track “Mescalito Vampires (Welcome to the Hotel de la Muerta)”, a mad sleazy, twisted take on THE EAGLES “Hotel California”, with added Tequila and a weird little surfer music guitar riff thrown in to keep us guessing.
“Soho Daze, Just Another Friday Night” is a bit of a different swerve, and we are firmly in dirty 80 London with the TYLA and DOGS D’AMORE or HANOI ROCKS et-al. yes, there is that underpinning PISTOLERO sound of the horns and Gypsy Lee’s vocal styling, and jangly guitar sound.
But it isn’t long before we are back in the heavy rockin Flamenco territory with “Roses, Gallows and the Wild Preachers Daughter”, which yes sounds like a VOL BEAT album title, but the song is all GYPSY. I ask you who’s heart isn’t lifted by a blare of the horns, and who’s feet don’t stamp along to the beat!
“The Forsaken” is the theme tune to the Western I want to watch! And the guitar solo is as heavy as all heck! “The Name’s Django” is a great change of pace. A cowboy ballad of a Gun-slinger on his way to the firing squad. And the last of our cowboy trio is “Cisco Kid” as told by the itinerant passing Mexican band. Makes me want to pull the brim of my sombrero down, light my cheroot, and make sure my holsters are free and I can draw easy and fast!
“Wild is the Wind”, what can I say, but wow! the vocals! the guitars! Strong moving song! ‘nuff said!
There have been loads of versions of LOVE’s song “Alone Again Or”, some good (UFO, The Damned), some not so good (THE BOO RADLEYS?), and luckily this version falls firmly into the former category. What they do to the song, simply giving it the GYPSY PISTERLERO touches and not taking it too far from the core song is beautiful. And to show they don’t have to do a cover to do a sweet and powerful ballad, “Sangre on the Roses” shows they have all the right chops to do it themselves. It is all their own, with the GP sound and Tex-Mex touches, but again only enhancing the depth of the music.
It would have been all too easy for this to fall into being a gimmicky parody, Mexican style and no rock and roll substance, all cod-Mexican flourishes for the sake of it, not adding a twist and a layer under the ability to write catchy songs. Luckily, NO, not luck but because all the musicians involved are at the top of their game who obviously have a passion for their music, this is a catchy sublime piece of work. Does it make me want another Tequila? Of course, it does! But who cares! It is party time amigo’s!
Would this work without all the “bits”? yes it Would. But do they add to the feel and most importantly the fun! Well simply listen to the last track “Gonna Die With a Gun in My Hand”, and you too will want to be pulling on the poncho and getting on that mule and heading to the cantina for another shot of Mezcal!
Last word goes to the track that isn’t on the Album (needs to be on the release boys!) and definitely should have been the UK Christmas No.1, not them bloody Sausage Roll people again! “Livin La Vida Loco (World Anthem)” is as much fun as you can have with your clothes on! OK take them off and go dancing in the rain too if you want too!
5 out of 5
Gypsy Lee Pistolero – Vox, bad rumba guitar
Mark Westwood (Shadowland, Clive Nolan, GLP) – Great Guitars
Gaz Le Bass – Double Bass (The Delray Rockets)
Jan Vincent Vellazco (Pendragon, Ghost, PIG) – Drums
Kris Jones - Trumpet
Social Media Links:
1. Lost in a Town called Nowhere
2. Viva la Revolution, Viva Zapata
3. Mescalito Vampires (Welcome to the Hotel de la Muerta)
4. Soho Daze, Just Another Friday Night
5.Roses, Gallows and the Wild Preachers Daughter
6. The Forsaken
7. The Name’s Django
8. Cisco Kid
9. Wild is the Wind
10. Alone Again Or
11. Sangre on the Roses
12. Gonna Die With a Gun in My Hand