Night Music: El Gran Silencio, “Chúntaro Style”

This is a punk band. They pay respect to traditional styles, the way punk bands do when they cover C’mon Everybody, and they play fast and the louder the better. They’re from Monterey, Mexico, and this video is a delightful introduction to a band that might even have a better name than the Circle Jerks (if I’m getting philosophical). I like mixing things up in the music, I like fusion (thank god for Bitches Brew), and I like an accordion. So El Gran Silencio hits about eight of my sweet spots simultaneously. Plus there’s the dancing.

11 thoughts on “Night Music: El Gran Silencio, “Chúntaro Style”

  1. Sounds like when I pull up next to a car full of Puerto Ricans in downtown Allentown. What’s a punk band without guitars and I can’t hear any. Thumbs down.

  2. I was thinking more about this song at the gym this morning and this struck me – what’s different about this than those Mexican cowboy bands with big hats and matching fringy, sequin-zy shirts? Or what’s different about this than the freakin’ old guy bands who play in suspenders around my area? Do punk costumes and jumping in the air and videos of skateboarders make punk? No. This is POLKA goddammit. Plain and simple. Put on your freakin’ lederhosen, Peter. You’ve been bilked.

  3. That song is just dumb. Fusion has to be a combination of something and something. All I see with Gran Churros is a combination of polka and polka (with punk disguises). I saw this band with my parents before Christmas. What’s the difference between them and the Mexican guys, louder drums?

  4. I looked for you on the dance floor of the jimmy Sturr clip but I guess you were at a different show.

    Polka is a big part of Mexican dance music and this is a song about yokels who come to the city, so there’s a reason to polka. But there are also rock drums and reggeaton riddims and tons of percussion that would give Jimmy Sturr either a heart attack or a four-hour hardon.

    In any case, I like polka, especially Mexican polka, so I guess there’s that, too. I have a friend who is in the WIsconsin Polka Hall of Fame and I have been to a polka show at the Serbian Hall in Milwaukee with him, which is a wild scene. Not as wild, I bet, as a show by El Gran Silencio in the Serbian Hall in Monterey. But that’s what I hear. Maybe you should go with your parents.

  5. Yeah, I like this song better. Kind of like “Wipeout” being played by Madness with an accordian and Offspring singing along in Spanish.

    And I don’t hate polka either. I’m not quite into it (kind of like death metal), but I see elements of – believe it or not – hardcore in it. I can see myself playing it when I’m so old I look silly even in a country band.

  6. I see “Chúntaro Style” as sort of Los Lobos run amok, or Los Lobos meets the Flatliners. I am not a big dance-video fan per se, but I kind of liked this. It certainly has attitude, which the Polka clip does not.

    Peter: Liked “Bitches Brew,” but “A Tribute to Jack Johnson” was the fusion disc that really nailed my socks to the floor.

  7. I don’t remember who said this, either one of my friends or Lester Bangs or possibly even me, on jazz-rock fusion: “they can’t do good rock and they can’t do good jazz so they combine the two and get one real piece of shit.”… Although I liked the John McLaughlin song when they break into a blues about halfway through, can’t remember the title. One of my friends was trying to stuff it down my throat and I was retching and all of a sudden it’s like “Wow, a song!” Here’s my idea of fusion – reggae jazz!

    • A lot of fusion, yes. The fusion band Spyro Gyra came from my home town, I was buddies with one of the Gyra’s older brothers (Jay Beckenstein), and those guys could play. They loved Zappa and Beefheart, and they also loved approval. There has been far worse music perpetrated on the world, but by trying to split the difference they ended up with something that appealed most to the (substantial and paying) least common denominator.

      Miles Davis gets to play anything he wants and it’s on you to try to figure it out. He can call it fusion but that’s just conversation and marketing. I’m sure if he really tried to play rock he would have kicked the Bad Brains’ asses. Bitches Brew and Tribute to Jack Johnson use some rock rhythm settings, but they represent high-level ambitious jazz played by the best players in the world without exception. The fusion was jazz and marketing as much as jazz and rock.

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