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Interview:
Mexican Guitar Duo Surprised By Success
 

By GARY GRAFF
of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Nobody is more surprised that there’s interest in Rodrigo y Gabriela than, well, Rodrigo y Gabriela themselves.

“We are very surprised, because what we do, on paper, wouldn’t be the most appealing to the media or anything else because we are just two guitars with no voice,” says Gabriela Quintero, who struck out as an acoustic instrumental duo with Rodrigo Sanchez in 2000, after the two native Mexicans played in the thrash metal band Tierra Acida.

They’ve since recorded six albums — including last year’s “11:11,” which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s World Music chart — and have been embraced not only by critics, but also by late-night TV hosts and even ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” which used the duo’s music on one of its games during the 2009 season.

“We focus on what we do, musically speaking,” explains Quintero, 36. “We have our musical goals, and in a way that helps. People like that. They like a band that is so committed to their own music.

“And I think nowadays with a lot of bands that are famous, they tour around the world and tend to be more focused on other stuff, like sponsorships. We just have our music.”

Rodrigo y Gabriela also have their versions of other people’s music. The duo has earned its greatest notoriety — via YouTube and other outlets — with covers of songs such as Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and Metallica’s “Orion.” “11:11,” however takes another route, paying homage to different styles — including Jimi Hendrix, Paco De Lucia, Pink Floyd and Carlos Santana — while “Atman” salutes the late Dimebag Darrell with a guest appearance by Testament’s Alex Skolnick.

“It’s a very personal (album),” Quintero explains. “We get inspired by music and by all the musicians. It was a way to say thanks to artists we have been listening to for all these years.

“The people who like our music, they don’t necessarily know all these musicians. But the good thing is, they might like it. It was a way to promote this (other) music through our music. The two things go hand and hand, and our fans can hear their music, and maybe some of their fans will hear this and check us out, too.”



Rodrigo y Gabriela and the Alex Skolnick Trio perform at 8 p.m. Saturday (March 6) at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 day of show. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.



Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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