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El Delectrico

BY Nuria Net | PUBLISHED: Wednesday, January 16th, 2008
El Delectrico

My friend Florencia went to Argentina and brought me Arrogante rock: Conversaciones con Babasónicos, the newly released book of interviews with the band by journalist Roque Casciero. The title comes from the song “Luces” from their last album, Anoche (2006) that says:

No Se Que Son Esas Luces
No Se Que Me Hablan De Rock & Roll
Esa Impostura Barata
Es Solo Pose e Imitacion
Sáquense Caretas Cállense Profetas
Oigan Un Cometa Gritar
Arrogante Rock

Arrogante Rock is a pretty straightforward collection of Q&As with the band members; about their childhoods, their passion for rock and roll and a chronological recount of the group’s trajectory, using each of their albums (8 studio albums and 4 “piratas” and remixes) as the backbone for the story. In the first chapter, Casciero asks each one “qué significa Babasónicos para cada uno de ustedes?” Bassist Gabriel “Gabo” Mannelli is the last one to respond, saying:

Babasónicos es una entidad que no va a dejar de existir por más que alguno pueda dejar de ser Babasónico, como en su momento pasó con Peggyn. En ese sentido, tengo la suerte de seguir siendo parte de este ente comprometido con que las cosas no estén siempre igual: construir un mundo de fantasia y hacer las cosas de manera no ortodoxa es un modo de forzar ese cambio. En términos artísticos, Babasónicos significa libertad. La riqueza interna está en que somos unos delirantes que logramos filtrar lo mejor del delirio de cada uno, la esencia, lo inasible, y esto colabora con la riqueza cultural. Por más que quieran taparlo con mierda, existe un hambre de cultura. Y nosotras, de alguna manera delirante, trabajamos para saciar esa hambre.”

Babasónicos performed here in Queens in 2004. I could’ve gone, Patricia invited me to go, but I didn’t. Don’t know why. That was the last time the original six members would play in New York together: Adrían “Dargelos” Rodriguez (voice), Diego “Uma-T” Tuñón (keys), Mariano “Roger” Domínguez (guitar), Diego “Uma” Rodríguez (guitar), Diego “Panza” Castellano (drums) and Gabo. They all have funny, ridiculous nicknames they don’t care about except the him, just Gabo. Gabo passed away on January 12 after fighting cancer for two years. He was 38 years old. I never met him, or had really heard about him. I’ve been a fan of Babasonicos for a few years, but didn’t know anything about the band or had seen them live until last year. But  when I heard the news of Gabo’s death, I was in the middle of reading Arrogante Rock, just as I was learning who each band member was. Así que la intriga me picó, Google, YouTube a full.

In chapter 19, the author asks Babasónicos how their song “Deléctrico” came about –it’s one of their biggest hits from 2001’s Jessico. Diego Uma says:

“Panza, Adrián y yo estábamos esperando a Gabo, que era el electricista porque fue a un colegio industrial. Era el único que sabía de polaridad y esas cosas, entonces era el Deléctrico. Pero Gabo no venía y Panza empezó a decir “va a venir o no va a venir Deléctrico?” Empezaron a joder así y Adrián le hizo una melodía en ese mismo momento, la cantábamos y nos reíamos todos. Después nos costó un huevo terminarla.”

So Gabo is Deléctrico!

Throughout the book Gabo comes out as pretty pessimistic. As a kid, he only cared about playing soccer en el barro, to get as dirty as possible, he says. He grew up under the care of his grandparents and as opposed to the other Babasónicos who had no career ambitions, he wanted to be an architect. He co-wrote a lot of the songs with Adrián, and says he hated recording Jessico, their breakthrough album, because it was too “easy.”

Here’s some footage from the 2004 show in Queens and an interview with Gabo done by Aaron Alvarez, who now works in Sony with tropical artists but is a rockero de siempre (Aaron, no sabía que también hacías entrevistas!). This is one of the few video interviews of Gabo I found on YouTube.


Here is my interview (along with Jun Olman) with Diego “Uma-T” before their show at BB Kings in March 2007 (you can hear Amigos Invisibles playing in the background). Unable to tour while undergoing chemo, Gabo had been replaced by Carca, a known figure in the Argentinean scene.


And just because, here’s “Rubi,” a cool song and even better video.
Another quote from the book, this time from Adrían:

“Desde que nací, lo único que provoca en la gente ese efecto de delirio, de contagio extático y catártico es la música cantada. Es el espectáculo más fervoroso. Sí el fútbol tiene más nivel de arengue y puede haber más compromiso en la furia…pero insultar a un árbrito no es tan complejo como estar de acuerdo en cantar lo mismo.”

Babasónicos July 2007, Mexico City. “Y que” y “Puesto.”

In the last chapter from Arrogante Rock, Gabo talks more in depth about his condition, how he was weak while recording Anoche, often only able to work one or two hours at a time. But he says it’s the album he enjoyed the most. And then, being unable to play, fantasizing about going incognito to the shows to see what it was like. Gabo:

“A partir de esto se vienen muchos cambios. Pero está bueno que pase eso, a pesar de que me tocó la parte más fea, que es la de poner el cuerpo.[…] Siempre tuve un costado bastante drástico, y ahora estoy peor, veo las cosas mucho más feas. Pero eso sirve para hacer todo más lindo, porque uno lo lleva para el lado bello. Tengo menos miedo que antes….”

Gabo did record what will be the next album, and the band is set to go to London in February to mix.

Descansa en paz Deléctrico!

Photo: Babasónicos at BB Kings, March 2007, song “Deléctrico” by Free! 



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