Spanish rockers? We think not!

By Evan Serpick
Updated October 04, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT
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With artists like Enrique Iglesias and Shakira ruling mainstream radio and the Latin Grammys enjoying a prime-time TV slot, it’s clear that Latin music is hot. But the Spanish language has long found a casa in indie rock, as evidenced by the following rockers en espanol.

YO LA TENGO

TRANSLATION ”I’ve Got It” NO. OF HISPANIC MEMBERS 0 ¿POR QUE? The name is a play on the cry of Mets center fielder Richie Ashburn when he claimed a fly ball. LEAST SPANISH THING ABOUT THEM Four words: lead singer Ira Kaplan. IF THEY WERE A TACO BELL MENU ITEM, THEY’D BE A… Chicken chalupa (a la their song ”Return to Hot Chicken”).

DESAPARECIDOS

TRANSLATION ”The Disappeared” NO. OF HISPANIC MEMBERS 0 ¿POR QUE? To signal solidarity with South American dissidents of the same name. LEAST SPANISH THING ABOUT THEM Their last album title, Read Music/Speak Spanish, came from a ”to-do” list made by singer Conor Oberst. IF THEY WERE A TACO BELL MENU ITEM, THEY’D BE A… Bean burrito (Oberst’s a vegan).

GOMEZ

TRANSLATION ”Gomez” NO. OF HISPANIC MEMBERS 0 ¿POR QUE? Before a show, the still-unnamed band put up a sign alerting an amigo: ”Gomez, the gig is here.” It stuck. LEAST SPANISH THING ABOUT THEM ”Whippin’ Piccadilly” song. IF THEY WERE A TACO BELL MENU ITEM, THEY’D BE A… Cheesy enchilada (”Tijuana Lady” lyric: ”Enchilada desperado days…be with me again”).

CATO SALSA EXPERIENCE

TRANSLATION ”Cato Sauce Experience” NO. OF HISPANIC MEMBERS 0 ¿POR QUE? Their spicy moniker is a cross between a friend’s pet name for frontman Cato Thomassen and an homage to the Jimi Hendrix Experience. LEAST SPANISH THING ABOUT THEM Their hometown of Oslo, Norway. IF THEY WERE A TACO BELL MENU ITEM, THEY’D BE A… Side order of salsa.

TACO

TRANSLATION ”Taco” NO. OF HISPANIC MEMBERS 0 ¿POR QUE? The dapper one-hit wonder’s name is actually Taco Ockerse (he’s from Indonesia — go figure). LEAST SPANISH THING ABOUT HIM His tenuous claim to fame, the 1982 chart-topper ”Puttin’ on the Ritz,” is strictly for gringos. IF HE WERE A TACO BELL MENU ITEM, HE’D BE A… Taco. Duh.

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