with Edgar Efilms

Songbyrd Presents
Downstairs, 21+

DOORS: 10:00 PM // SHOW: 11:00 PM



Saturday December 29, 2018

Songbyrd Presents


When we think of rock-and-roll, we tend to think of the United States, Britain in a pinch. Peru? Not so much.

But the same power chords that energized the kids of America echoed all the way to Lima, where in 1964 Erwin Flores, César “Papi” Castrillón, Rolando “El Chino” Carpio and Francisco “Pancho” Guevara answered the call. They formed Los Saicos, a band whose passionate, garage-rock stylings captivated South America, only to evaporate when the group broke up after not much more than a year. Years later, the band’s songs were rediscovered by a new generation of music fans.

The oddest twist: For decades, half the members of Los Saicos have lived in the Washington area.

“It’s very nice to have a tribute band, to tell you the truth,” said Erwin, 72, who sang and played guitar in Los Saicos.

It was Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” that inspired a young Erwin. “The first time I heard that, to tell you the truth, I almost fainted,” he said. “I was catatonic. I didn’t know what happened. That was a break with the past.”

For singer and bass player Papi, 72, Elvis Presley was the gateway drug. “He changed my attitude, my way of being,” said Papi, who, after hearing Elvis, favored tight jeans, black shirts and black leather jackets.

“I got home one night and in my bed there was a Bible,” Papi said. One of his parents had put it there in hopes it would exorcise his rock-and-roll demons. It didn’t.

Los Saicos — the name sounds like “Psychos” but was adopted by dropping the “d” from “Sadicos,” which means “sadists” — sound a bit like the Sonics or the Kingsmen, bands from the left coast of North America, just as Los Saicos were from the left coast of South America.