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June 10, 2007

My Name Is Kiko, I Live on the Second Floor

I have one Los Lobos album, Kiko, which is arguably the band's weirdest, the sort of album that a band will put out just to show that, yes, in fact, they can get arty and complex if they want to, so there. All I know is that the song "Kiko and the Lavender Moon" to me sounds like the sound track to the most drugged-out UB Iwerks black and white cartoon, like, ever. Love it. Also, the video itself is deeply strange:

Incidentally, I snaked this out of Warner Bros. official YouTube area, and it's got the embedding up and raring to go, which means it's totally kosher to show this here. It makes me happy when music companies finally get a friggin' clue. Because, you know, and no offense to Los Lobos or anything, it's not like MTV or even VH1 are showing much of this particular 15-year-old video any more.

Posted by john at June 10, 2007 03:26 PM

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John H | June 10, 2007 03:44 PM

La Bamba, it ain't...

Jon H | June 10, 2007 04:21 PM

Just at a guess - this didn't get much airplay, if any, on MTV or VH1 when it was *new*.

John Scalzi | June 10, 2007 04:23 PM

Yeah, probably not. I don't remember seeing it before, in any event.

enegim | June 10, 2007 04:45 PM

Very cool. Thank you.

The only Los Lobos album I have is La Pistola y El Corazon (recently got the CD to replace an old cassette). I love it truly, and this is very different, but...I think I need to add Kiko to the collection.

Lou | June 10, 2007 04:52 PM

I actually have a Sesame Street VHS that has Los Lobos Singing "Elmo and the Lavender Moon"-- One of My Daughter's favorite.

gin | June 10, 2007 04:55 PM

Try this one:
In Another Land
from the Rolling Stones'
Their Satanic Magesties Request

Chang, for rizzle. | June 10, 2007 05:17 PM


It was one of the saving graces of working in a record store back then for a musical troglodyte. He opened the CD and put it on and I nearly wept for fear of having to listen to a rehash of La Bamba. Oh, no, no, no! It's a great record and that particular song is way out there. I love the little bit of "THree BLind MIce" in the melody.

My favorite song of that album is "Dream in BLue." I think that's the title of it. Way cool, John, thanks!

Jude | June 10, 2007 05:19 PM


Nick Stump | June 10, 2007 05:39 PM

We opened for Los Lobos around 10 years ago and I can tell you they are one of the great live bands. They are so respected in the musicians community. Really nice, down to earth guys, dedicated players. Kiko shows the band at their most original and as they've been tagged over the years with the La Bamba curse, I recommend this record for the depth and artistry it shows. One of my favorite bands. Thanks for putting this up, John.

Robert | June 10, 2007 08:07 PM

True...it ain't la bamba. And thank god for that! I think the band has finally escaped the stereotyping that song brought with it. They still sometimes play it in concert.

Los Lobos is one of my favorite groups, all the way back to "How Will the Wolf Survive?" I interviewed band member Louis Perez a few years back -- just before they played an all-spanish show here in Phoenix -- and he was a nice guy, far more interested in talking about the books and art he was into than about the album LL had just recorded.

Whenever I hear 'Kiko' I can just see Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera drinking absinthe...and having visions that look a lot like that video.

Thanks for linking to the video here -- some years after it played on MTV I saw an exhibition of the artist's work at the UofA art museum in Tucson. But for the life of me can't remember the artist's name. Time to google...


Robert | June 10, 2007 08:16 PM

And to respond to John H's guess that this video didn't get much airplay back in the day, well...bad guess. It won the MTV Breakthrough Video award in 1993, and was also nominated in the "Best Direction" video.

If you think that "la bamba" is mainly what Los Lobos is all about -- you've got another think or two coming.

AliceB | June 10, 2007 08:35 PM

I could swear I heard this song either on Sesame Street or on one of their videos, probably 10 years ago, with different visuals, naturally.

F-L | June 10, 2007 08:36 PM

I've never seen that before - thanks for posting this.

lora | June 10, 2007 09:05 PM

I saw the video aired in '93, just the tag end. I got the album right away-without even checking to see if I liked any other tracks first. (It was a big purchase, spend all the baby sitting money and borrow the car to go to the mall!)

And I'm still enjoying Kiko and Los Lobos almost 15 years later. Still need to see them in concert.

Jon H | June 10, 2007 09:40 PM

Robert wrote: "It won the MTV Breakthrough Video award in 1993, and was also nominated in the "Best Direction" video."

Doesn't necessarily mean they played it much.

And I'm quite familiar with their work. I had/have this CD ( I think it was stolen) and I also have their 2-disc Just Another Band From East LA collection, which is quite good. I also have a Latin Playboys CD. Also, I saw Los Lobos play at the Chicago Fleadh about 10 years ago. (An outdoor Irish-themed festival which put me off such events for life.)

If I'm guilty of anything, it's not watching MTV after I hit college.

Tim Walker | June 10, 2007 10:48 PM

15 years? *sigh* I clearly remember when this thing came out. I was young then . . .

Robert | June 10, 2007 11:00 PM

Jon H --

Well, you could be right about a lack of airplay on MTV. I wasn't watching it regularly at that point, either. If it didn't get played much, it deserved to be.

Also glad to hear you're familiar with the band and offshoots. Not to mention that you saw the band while braving a fullcale fleadh to do so.

AliceB --

The band did play a version of Kiko on Sesame Street. They sang it as "Elmo and the Lavender Moon." It's also on YouTube.

And I found the name of the artist who designed and directed the video: Ondrej Rudavsky.


AliceB | June 11, 2007 12:26 AM

Thank you, Robert! Yes, that's exactly it. (For anyone else who's interested, you can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5AZhUQn0K0 )

Brian Slattery | June 11, 2007 09:17 AM

Thanks for giving Los Lobos some love, John. They have one of the most interesting careers in popular music, and if you visit their website (www.loslobos.org), you can hear almost all of it. Check out Colossal Head to erase your conception of what you think the band sounds likes. Then go back through it all again. It's worth it, I swear.

JerolJ | June 11, 2007 10:28 AM

The latest Los Lobos album The Ride was great - it had collaborations with all sorts of artists. My favorites though are Kiko and it's predecessor The Neighborhood.

Watching that video was a trip but am I though only one that had a Wayne n' Garth moment when that dancer turned to the camera. "Whoa, look at the unit on that guy!"

John H | June 11, 2007 11:04 AM

Chang: That 'Three Blind Mice' riff made me think of The Three Stooges on acid...

Nathan | June 11, 2007 01:02 PM


I may be completely nuts, but when I first listened to this, I could have sworn the "Three Blind Mice" riff was sampled from some 1940's cartoon...which would mean the cartoon probably sampled it from some other source. I haven't got the first clue how to find out if I'm right or wrong.

Any thoughts? (and the first one who answers that, yes, I am completely nuts, is a poopey-head.)

Poopy-Head | June 11, 2007 01:40 PM

Nathan, you're completely nuts...

SFC SKI | June 12, 2007 04:20 AM

Man, I didn't even know their was a video for this song! The video definitely fits to the song, surreal, both disturbing and comforting.

Great bands stand the test of time, and are usually not fully or widely appreciated, and Los Lobos is definitely one great band. Their albums yield all kinds of hidden sounds and feelings with repeated listenings.

If the last/only album you have is "Kiko", then get thee to your favorite music site and get "This Time" That's the album that brought me back into the Los Lobos pack after yeaers away. "Good Morning Aztlan" is also fantastic.

Since I am on the music soapbox, why not a thread about great yet underappreciated bands that are still out there playing? The Smithereens is another band that fits that bill.

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