Chicano Batman

Q&A with Chicano Batman's Carlos Arévalo
by John Noyd
June 2019

Chicano Batman - photo by Cortney Armitage

Chicano Batman
photo by Cortney Armitage

Formed in Los Angeles in 2008, Chicano Batman have experienced the vast spectrum of the music industry. Combining styles in an electric showcase of pure joy, the four-piece pilots a crazy trip on record and in performance. Madison is lucky enough to have them opening for Vampire Weekend’s sold-out Sylvee gig on June 11th. I had the chance to shoot CB’s guitarist Carlos Arévalo a few questions before they hit town.

MAXIMUM INK: Sounds like you worked really hard at a young age to get where you are today. What would you consider your first real break?
Our first real break as a band was in early 2015 when we landed a spot as tour support for Jack White. I was having lunch with Jack’s tour manager Lalo Medina, whom I met through Ikey Owens, and he mentioned Jack had an opening spot that needed to be filled for his Lazaretto Tour. He asked me if it was something Chicano Batman would be interested in taking part in, I immediately told him it would be an honor to be considered. He told me he’d ask Jack. A month later, he emailed me and said Jack wanted us for the tour. I believe the tour opportunity was really made possible by Ikey Owens, who had recently passed away a few months earlier but not before championing our band to Jack and his crew. I believe Jack and co. having us on board the tour was a way to honor Ikey’s memory since he was a big fan of our group. Landing the Jack White tour raised our national profile for sure.

MI: The band played a great rendition of, “This Land Is Your Land,” for a Johnnie Walker commercial.  How did that come about and did that kind of exposure lead to anything? 
Johnnie Walker asked us to take part in their “Keep Walking America” campaign, which sought to celebrate cultural progress and diversity during a contentious election year where Latinos and immigrants were being scape-goated for societal problems by certain politicians. As part of the campaign they asked us to reinterpret Woody Guthrie’s iconic song. We filmed the ad at The Compound Studio in Long Beach (where we recorded the song) and in the streets of Los Angeles. An interesting fact from the whole experience would be that Woody Guthrie’s daughter, Nora, liked our rendition of the song enough to ask us to perform it for an event she was speaking at for the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. 

MI: Your music has a wonderfully wild, sprawling quality to it. How, as an opening act with little time on stage, do you obtain maximum velocity?
As an opening act, our job is to warm up the audience and also win over some new fans. When on tour, we try our best to take care of our bodies by exercising, eating well, and getting good sleep so that we have maximum energy and passion for our performances every night. 

MI: The band has opened for big acts and played mega festivals. What personally, is your favorite kind of gig to play?
They are all different scenarios that have their own level of enjoyment but at the end of the day nothing beats headlining your own show packed with your fans singing along to every lyric. I truly believe we have some of the most passionate fans in the music industry and for that we are all grateful.

Here’s hoping once Madison gets a taste of the mighty Chicano Batman, the surging ranks of passionate fans will bring them back to play their favorite kind of gig.

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Chicano Batman
CD: Freedom Is Free Record Label: ATO Records
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