Peruvian rock band formed in 1969 in Lima. Interview with guitarist Enrique “Pico” Ego Aguirre Pajuelo
Who were your major influences?
In the beginning of my career being a rock musician, here in Perú there’s not to much music coming from the USA and Europe, only the commercial music (radio hits 1964) and some other Latin American pop music, but when I started, I heard some of the Beach Boys, the Ventures, and other surf-garage bands of the middle of 1960’s from the USA (later the music that comes from UK). I was 14 years old and my father (who is an amateur-semi pro musician) showed me the first chords in the guitar (an acoustic jumbo). The family from my father’s side is all involved in the arts: lots of musicians, actors, male and female classical and popular singers etc. My father plays piano and contrabass in a jazz band. My first steps in the music were when I learned piano classes when I was 7 years old. But when I was 10, I got bored and later discovered the “rock sound” and the guitar revealed a new world to me. But the piano still helped me in a solid musical basics. Back to my roots, I started with friends of my city, here in Miraflores - Lima, Peru, and tried to make some of the songs (instrumentals) and surf music, but later, the new “wave” of the sound came from the UK. “The British invasion” and some other songs from the instrumental groups that I mentioned before, but we played the songs in English and some we changed to Spanish. First I played rhythm guitar, months later bass and when the lead player had to go (because school mismatch), I took the lead guitar, urgently and became the lead guitar (until now). In conclusion, my first guitar heroes and major influences are Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Tommy Iommi, Ritchie Blackmore, Carlos Santana, and groups like Yardbirds, Cream, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep, and others from “the creative force of the 70’s”. (“for me; when all the good music starts”). There are many musicians and groups, to much to mention here.
My main band in the middle of the 60’s (beginning in 1964) was “Los Shain’s”, with a lot of work, concerts, TV, tours all around the country and 6 LP’s and near 40 of the 45 rpm single discs. With this band we were the most successful and popular in the country (see “Los Shain’s” in the internet and there is a lot of info about), and some music videos in “Youtube” too). With some changes we played near the year 1969, when I tried to do some different kind of sound, coming from that time: pop, rock (1964-69). I’m going more into the primary hard sound-distortion oriented style of the “hippie Woodstock era”, and later the “hard rock”. With “Los Shain’s” we made good music and the members of the band were really good musicians too, but they were not in the “vibe” of the new sound that I discovered and was my new horizon. And then I made “the new Shain’s” with another people that were into this new kind of sound that I was looking for. With this band, we made one LP and a mini LP with 4 songs. They are a cover songs from Cream, Hendrix, Blind Faith, Black Sabbath and some of our own material. This becomes the “pre-Pax”.
Can you elaborate the formation of Pax?
When I was ready with the exact kind of musicians, (at the middle of 1969). We were searching for a name that would be easy to remember, simple and easy phonetically for the Spanish spoken people here in Peru. We prepared a list with all the members of the band (we are four) and when I saw: “Pax”, it become the chosen one, because it has all the above features. We don’t know exactly who was the “father” but I adopted the name, because I was until now the director of the band, and registered the name. The main idea of the band was to make our own songs, and only few hard rock covers, but with our style.
We made one 45 on “Sono radio” (“Firefly”/“Resurrection of the Sun”) before the LP, and after this we changed to “El Virrey” and made “Radar Love”, “Dark Rose”, “Mr. Skin”—“exorcism”. In the year 1984 we made (with new members) a 45 rpm “Radar Love” in Spanish and a song “Exrterminio”, the music is mine and lyrics by the bass player and lead singer Jorge Mora Silva.
In 1970 you released May God and Your Will Land You and Your Soul Miles Away. What do you remember from recording and producing it?
To make our LP, this was our production, and also our idea. The songs and part of the technical direction because I’m sound engineer too (but the people in the company didn’t work good enough to transfer the tape to the acetate master, with a lot of noise, not present in the master tape. When this record was transferred to CD in the 80’s, the problem was corrected. The idea of the cover was made by our drummer (Miguel Flores), to give a subliminal message against the military dictatorship that ruled the country at the time. The picture inside the record was made by a friend with our idea and the back cover picture was by a friend of Miguel, the drummer. I don’t know about how many copies we sold, because “Sono radio” was broken few years after this, but I suspect it was a good quantity. In the 80’s we made a deal with a UK company to make this available on CD. After this the sales became more and more successful.
Would you share your insight on the albums’ tracks?
“A Storyless Junkie”
Is a typical hard song with a message for the people involved in drugs, with a powerful riff and double bass drum work (one of my best songs of all the time).
“Rock an’ Ball”
Good old rock ‘n’ roll with a touch of Jeff Beck’s sound. Idea from the bass player, Mr. Mark Aguilar (that comes from the USA) and me.
“Green Paper (Toilet)”
Kind of country rock (especially at the end) song from the idea of the drummer Miguel Flores.
“Sittin’ on My Head”
Psychedelic sound with a touch of Jimi Hendrix (especially the wah wah pedal).
The sound of the hard progressive rock, flavor of Deep Purple and the pure rock sound of the 70’s.
A song made by the bass player Mark Aguilar (with strings orchestra) in memorial of a very special girl for him. At the end changes made by me with a Led Zeppelin inspiration idea.
“Pig Pen Boogie”
A powerful heavy boogie with good drum work and a Latin flavor changes in the middle of the song.
“Shake Your Ass”
The close with something fun (made in real time at the rehearsal break time). Most of the song was by me (the music) and the bass player (Mark Aguilar) do the lyrics, except the ones indicated.
Did you tour? Any stories you would like to share?
With the band (in three different periods:70’s-80’s and now) we made a lot of touring over all the country, some alone and others with a different bands. Ufff..., as you can imagine I have many of them and there is no room and time for this, but most of all it was good experience (like the fans take out some of the clothes, the girls.......humm, you know. Ha, ha! But there is one special that I remember. We went to a stadium to make a concert and our car driver made a traffic infraction, a police stopped the car and we were out of time to make our presentation, he recognized the band and told us if we have tickets to the concert, we gave them to him and finish all, he said “good luck, see you later Pax.”.
What influenced you the most? Hendrix?
That’s right, but I would also like to mention Ritchie Blackmore. I’m really a musician with an inspiration at the time (the feeling at the moment of playing anywhere). Maybe I would make a solo differently. It depends on my time and circumstances. “I believe in the 50-50 balance: 50% of technical and 50 % of inspiration-feeling”. No more, no less.
What happened next?
This happens like I told you in the touring circumstances and experiences and the things that happened until now...
You also played in Gerardo Manuel & El Humo.
Gerardo Manuel was the third lead singer in my first band in the middle 60’s - “Los Shain’s”, and when we took different musical experiences but still stay friends, he called me about a new solo experience with the multi groups (from different bands), and told me if I can make the guitar and keyboard work in this project (remember I made all the keyboards in Pax, some in a live work with the guitar in my shoulder, using the keyboard and before take again the guitar. About the technical work, and the arrangements in this project I know, but the part of the idea of the art cover, I believe it was an idea of Gerardo and “el virrey”.
Machu Picchu 2000 was your next album. Your sound changed...
It’s the same ,but with less of my participation (in guitar and moog synthesizer on a few).
Did you tour with them?
The idea of this band/project is to make a group that in Spanish “humo” means “smoke” and with this idea, the people who are there may play sometimes and change, and changes...and becomes “smoke”. You try to understand the idea. With no real compromises at all. There were only few tours with me.
What happened next?
I was making music with Pax, and when the moment became more dangerous for making rock music in Perú , because the military, I made some projects with not to much public because the censors I left the band in a “cryogenic break” until Pax was re-born in the 80’s with the back of the democracy and all starts again.
In this moment I’m writing this for you... ha,ha! Seriously, I’m playing gigs, touring, making new songs... with Pax, the same members of the 1980’s era: Jorge “Coco” Silva Mora (bass and lead vocals), Nicolas Mantani Awapara (drums) and me, Enrique “Pico” Ego Aguirre Pajuelo (guitar, keyboards and vocals).
I have to thank you to. You’re doing an amazing work with It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine. Congratulations. We are preparing a new CD with the band and with some fresh new songs and the renewal of the 1970-80’s songs with the kind of sound that we do now. And “still hard rock forever”!
- Klemen Breznikar
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