Nothing Broken Here

Nothing Broken Here

Aquí no se rompió nada

Adriana Díaz-Enciso

Initially, the emphasis on the socio-political context of a Latin America torn by violence, corruption and repression as a framework for the development of rock music in that part of the world seems to be a great asset in Rompan todo (Break It All), the documentary which has given so much to talk about since its Netflix premiere last December. 

The film is the joint creation of Nicolás Entel, director Picky Talarico, and producers Gustavo Santaolalla and Iván Entel. Whether the protagonist is Latin American rock or the producers in big record labels is not altogether clear.

The above-mentioned virtue of making explicit the close relationship between Latin American rock and the corrupt—when not brutal—regimes against which it often raises its voice undoubtedly offers a gripping and accurate perspective, with a legitimacy façade that at first gets us hooked. For a moment, it seems we’ll be going deep into a serious telling of this story, its complexity and its richness. The illusion, however, doesn’t last long. Once we’ve seen the series’ six episodes, what seemed to be a merit becomes its gravest contradiction: wishing to use the image of rock as rebelliousness in countries where to defy power is no joke, Break It All is nevertheless an apology of corporate rock and the relinquishing of any genuinely subversive intention at the service of a voracious industry’s greed.

This being the case, the title is as deceptive as it is inappropriate. This documentary doesn’t break anything. It rather leaves everything just the way it is and, even worse, fossilises it in the amber of Latin American rock’s supposed “official history” told through Netflix to probably millions of people, many of whom will, inevitably, believe it. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that the series’ creators incur in such incongruity out of cynicism, first, because I have no evidence, and then, because in its entangled weave of merits and massive blunders I think I can detect some ambivalence. After all, I don’t think we can say of any of them that they do not love music… in their own way. Santaolalla and his collaborators seem to want to believe in this story of insubordination and rupture, while they simultaneously make of record companies, with their cohort of producers, the film’s heroes. It’s not surprising, when Santaolalla has been for decades not only a respectable musician and producer, but also a representative figure of the music industry; therefore, his double vision presents an insoluble problem. You can’t run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.

It is not my intention to write an exhaustive review of the whole documentary, but I do want to state what I think are some of its fundamental flaws, since they reflect much of what is deplorable and damaging in rock’s culture. I will also make some relevant clarifications about the view this series offers on Mexican rock, the development of which I witnessed for some decades, and in particular on the Mexican band Santa Sabina (having been part of its history as the lyricist of many of its songs, and collaborating on occasion on some of their gig’s creative elements). I will talk about what I know, because it’s not in my nature to keep quiet when someone tries to appropriate a history in order to deform it and present it to the world as it best suits them.

The documentary has, of course, its virtues. Formally, it is “well made”.  There are in its narrative some thrilling moments, and I am grateful for having discovered through it some interesting bands and musicians from other countries. It was a delight to listen to Roco, from La Maldita Vecindad y los Hijos del Quinto Patio, and Café Tacuba’s members, talk with passion, lucidity and eloquence, as well as the contributions of Fito Páez, Santiago Auserón and Charly García (though little time is given to the latter, and I’m sure that he’d have had many more relevant things to say than other people who are granted a disproportionate space.) It is also interesting to listen to the perspective of a musician from another culture who has produced Latin American artists in the voice of David Byrne. Having said this, it’s inexplicable that, in this context, there is no mention at all of Adrian Belew, King Crimson’s guitar player and the producer of the Caifanes’ El silencio, Santa Sabina’s Símbolos, and Jaguares’ Crónicas de un laberinto (he also plays guitar in some tracks of all these albums). Why Byrne, but not Belew? There’s a whimsical feel to Break It All’s criteria, and with such arbitrary omissions, we cannot be surprised that the documentary betrays the lack of a thorough research of its subject. The problem is not one of form, but of content. And it is serious.

I am aware that it’s impossible to include in a project of these dimensions every single protagonist of rock music’s history in every Latin American country, and that inevitably there will always be exclusions. However, in view of the amount of time devoted to the reconstruction, or rather invention, of an imprecise official history dictated by the parameters of the record industry, it is clear that the omissions aren’t precisely accidental or owed to the impossibility to include it all, but rather the result of a preestablished discourse which suggests a profound incapacity to walk out of the industry’s bubble and turn back to what matters, which is the music, and the people for whom it has some meaning.

I will talk here about what, according to my experience, was ignored as far as Mexican rock is concerned. Readers will then be able to extrapolate some conclusions, which I hope will help us get an idea of how much will have also been ignored regarding the history of rock in the other countries covered by the documentary.

I’ll start by manifesting my surprise that, apart from La Cuca… and Maná, rock created in Guadalajara isn’t mentioned: nothing, for example, about Gerardo Enciso. Or about El Personal, who made a brilliant and merciless portrait of Guadalajara’s ultra-conservative society with delightful humour and wit. Around the 1980s, that city’s repressive and suffocating atmosphere became the breeding ground, by opposition, of a creative explosion which cannot be ignored in a panorama of Mexican rock, about which the creators of Break It All seem to have known nothing. I’m thinking of Gerardo Enciso playing at the “Jim Morrison stage”, which wasn’t more than a vacant lot where hundreds of youths from different barrios gathered, and where musicians came to play bringing their own portable generator, or of how a culture of genuine local rock was gradually created through media such as the programming of Dimensión del Rock in Radio Universidad de Guadalajara, started by Carlos Ramírez Powell, with had in chavos banda (street gangs) a big proportion of its listeners. I can talk about its repercussion in the development of rock as a way of life in the streets of Guadalajara because I was part of the team of presenters and producers of those programmes for some years in the 1980s. Rock programming in Radio U de G is still alive, and for decades has been a fundamental part of rock culture in that city.  I wonder if the creators of Break It All didn’t think of approaching, for instance, Rodolfo “Che” Bañuelos, who’s been working there since 1981 as the presenter and producer of a variety of programmes, including his indispensable Déjalo Sangrar (“Let It Bleed”) and, importantly, the executive producer of a weekly program that had in the chavos banda of different neighbourhoods its presenters and protagonists. If we consider the conditions of marginality in which young people live in some of those barrios, we will understand that spaces such as these embody a genuine social and political dimension of rock; perhaps less flashy than archive footage of coup d’états and repression, but equally real and legitimate.

Although I understand that the documentary’s makers wanted the story to be told to the camera only by musicians and producers, it would have been fruitful if they had considered among their sources people like “Che” Bañuelos, the creators of other important radio programmes (such as those of Rock 101 in the Mexican capital) and rock journalists, because this is how culture, in any of its manifestations, is created: among people who hold a conversation, exchange and share ideas, knowledge, passions, life experience. Culture is not created in transnational record companies (nor transnationals of any kind), however vast their ambivalent and vampiric importance may be.

I find a similar deficiency in the lack of recognition of publications such as La regla rota and, later, la Pusmoderna, under the direction of Rogelio Villarreal and Mongo, or of many of the venues where everything that mattered was happening. The Bar 9 in Mexico City is only mentioned in passing. That gay club was a crucial seedbed at the high point of the emergence of rock in Spanish, with its exchange of music, visual and scenic arts, and the LUCC, the Tutti Frutti, and the Foro Alicia are also ignored, as much as the Roxy in Guadalajara—the abandoned cinema that Rogelio Flores, gallery owner and a dogged cultural promoter turned into one of the most important rock stages in that city.

Instead of distributing the available time among interviewees who, apart from the musicians, are also genuine spokespersons of the vigorous reach of rock culture in Mexico, Break It All devotes a disproportionate amount of time to people like Javier Bátiz, who of course deserves recognition and a place in the documentary, but not as one of its main interlocutors, when his interventions are full of commonplaces, barely articulated ideas and a tiresome ego which make of his presence almost a caricature.

Rock in Mexico, even if the Break It All producers find it hard to believe, wasn’t born with the arrival of the Rock en tu idioma (“Rock in your Language”) campaign. It was created in the streets and public spaces, in venues, journals and radio stations such as those mentioned above; between musicians, audience and critics passionate about the music genre and united by a critical stance towards the establishment and power. Clearly, they ignore this. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be omissions as shameful in their listing of Mexican bands and musicians. I’m thinking of examples as diverse as Real de Catorce, La barranca, Los de abajo, Simples mortales, Jorge Reyes, Arturo Meza, Guillermo Briseño, Nina Galindo, Hebe Rosell, Cecilia Toussaint, Los músicos de José, Panteón Rococó, Juguete rabioso, among others. Not a single Mexican punk band is mentioned either. One particularly unforgivable absence is that of Jaime López, one of the best Mexican rock lyricists spearheading the rock movement in the 80s, unsurpassable bard of urban culture, and the creator of iconic pieces such as “Chilanga banda”, of which Café Tacuba, whose members do know their history, made a cover. I want Santaolalla and his friends to explain to us from which distant watchtower they’re contemplating the Mexican rock scene, to leave out the above-mentioned musicians and others that have been pointed at in the debate that followed the documentary’s premiere, and I want them to tell us as well with what right, in what is supposed to be a history—a truthful one, it should be expected—of Latin American rock.

The only thing that is clear to me is that they simply weren’t there while all this was happening. They were, yes, in Mexico, on and off; in their record companies and their hotels and their VIP areas, but they weren’t there, where this history was being made. They missed it all. I know, because I did happen to be there.

Because I was there, I know that the place of Caifanes in the history of Mexican rock isn’t limited to “La negra Tomasa”, and that in Break It All they’re contented with just mentioning that song, without interviewing any of the band’s members (they include only archive interviews), without mentioning the band’s origin in Las Insólitas Imágenes de Aurora, the albums that came after the EP with that big hit, the impact of Caifanes, their debut album, in Mexican rock’s scene, or even the existence of Jaguares, is incomprehensible. The only explanation I find is that its producers focused on the band’s best sold song because, from their perspective, that’s what matters. In a way, Óscar López, makes that clear; that song was produced by him and, as he says, excited, “it sold over one million copies. It was incredible.” That the rest of Caifanes’ work, with a huge commercial success, seemed nothing much to them is a loud alarm signal for the audience. Caifanes was to Mexico what Soda Stereo was to Argentina, and together they were the arrowhead that sparked a revolution of rock in Spanish which has benefited all the bands that came after.

Which leads me to the way in which Soda Stereo is presented in the series as a central figure. The message is rather clear, and it is actually spelled out: with Soda, the record industry realised that Latin American rock could be a good business. Companies, we are told by Humberto Calderón (a member of the band Neón, who also had under his direction Culebra, a BMG label dedicated to rock in Spanish), saw the amount of “products” in Spanish coming from other countries, and that’s why “Rock en tu idioma” was invented. “And then”, he adds, “the much loved, much hated Óscar López makes his appearance”.

Thus, the blind faith in the corporate element as the source of rock in Spanish’s boom is laid bare. We hear, indeed, Óscar López tell us how “the absolute decision of who I signed and produced” was his; how he “gave” the Maldita Vecindad to Santaolalla and Aníbal Kerpel, as if they were his property; he also talks about his goal of having five Mexican rock albums under his belt in two months. He says all this with the arrogance of the record producer’s cliché.

Rock in Latin America in the 1980s was, of course, in need of reaching a higher level of professionalism in the production of albums and concerts. It was necessary for music’s sake, out of respect for the musicians’ work and out of respect for the audience. With regards to Soda Stereo, I have nothing to say against them. Excellent musicians, they revitalised rock’s scene in Latin America and, indeed, on showing that things could be done differently, opened the door for those who came behind.

In 1987, when I was still living in Guadalajara, I happened to be close to the organisation of Soda Stereo’s gigs during what must have been their first visit to Mexico, organised by the firm Morsa. One of them was on a hotel’s ice rink; back then there were no true rock venues in Mexico. It was exciting to witness a way of taking the stage which hadn’t been seen before in our country. I seem to remember that my minimal contribution was through the Magritte gallery, whose director was the enthusiastic Rogelio Flores we have already mentioned, and my job was to coordinate a press conference. It was a joy to talk with these passionate and intelligent musicians. Their success was well deserved, Gustavo Cerati’s death has been a loss that we all mourn, and I won’t question the fact that they have such a prominent place in Break It All.

However, the emphasis placed on them as the band that opens the magnificent door to big productions reveals a worrying message from the documentary’s creators: Latin American rock starts to really matter the moment it becomes corporate, and for the big companies, taking risks is only worth it with those bands which promise colossal sales. Soda Stereo was a great band; yes. And yes again: they had a marked pop element which guaranteed that the investment would be profitable. Since nobody’s going to question their quality, nor their worth as detonators of the international recognition of rock in Spanish, Break It All uses them as a banner to endorse their distortion of history, which with each episode makes more and more artificial the supposed importance that the relationship between the socio-political context and rock has for its producers.

Perhaps this criterion is also the reason why, in the case of Fito Páez, they only mention the album El amor después del amor, ignoring the importance of the visceral and beautiful Ciudad de pobres corazones or Ey! as key albums in Latin American rock. According to Break It All, Páez’s story starts with the first album in which he had an ideal production, with a huge budget.

We might think that the documentary wants to prove that rock made in Latin America has a solid history, and that it’s on a par with that from any other country, and of course, there are many artists in Latin American rock who fully fit that description. However, when the story is told from the parameters of sales and commercial success, it is inevitable that, among those artists represented, many commercial phenomena of a mediocre quality will sneak in. In Break It All, a predominant place is given to some bands whose importance in strictly musical terms is null, but who have sold many records. I won’t say names because I truly don’t want to offend anybody—times are hard enough for everybody—, but whoever watches the documentary will be able to draw their own conclusions, as many of its critics have indeed done already.

The inclusion of some such musicians as protagonists of this history is the more offensive when the omissions are so many and so grievous. Furthermore, it has a counterproductive effect: the overall result is a documentary showcasing artists of such inconsistent quality that the international audience might be forgiven if, after watching it, they think that, excepting some great musicians we do get a glimpse of, there is a somewhat Third World thing about Latin American rock.

This inconsistency in the choice of musicians can be explained, on the one hand, when we remember that Picky Talarico, the series’ director, has directed music videos of whoever crosses his path. As an example, let’s mention Paulina Rubio, and then wonder if there might not be some confusion in the sensitivities of this rock history’s makers. Things are even clearer when we listen to the reasons why Humberto Calderón and Óscar López—the (Argentinian) emperor of Mexican rock, who for years held rock en tu idioma in his grasp—respect Maná so much. According to Calderón, they are “Mexico’s greatest band” because it’s the one that “moves more tickets”, and therefore, whether “it’s rock or isn’t rock” doesn’t matter (“Fuck it!”, he cries out, in a fit of enthusiasm). But wasn’t this, precisely, a documentary on the history of rock in Latin America? López, for his part, tells us that Maná fills stages that are only filled by international artists, something that no other Latin American band does. Things are bad indeed if those are our historians’ parameters for an artist’s value. We all know that anyone can fill a stadium if there is enough investment in promotion. There are extraordinary, sublime artists who fill them, but the same thing is done by unmentionable rubbish. We see it every day in what we call the showbusiness industry. Unfortunately, the human condition is susceptible to manipulation and herd behaviour. It is absurd to surrender our discernment to the judgment of the masses. Even Hitler filled stadiums!

That for Óscar López quality means commercial potential is something we have known for a long time. Break It All’s creators are on his side. Otherwise, we can’t explain the attention given to Miguel Mateos (yes, I know I wasn’t going to name names, but with Mateos I really can’t hold back). No Jaime López. Miguel Mateos, yes.

Turn the TV off; let’s get the hell out of here.

What’s the point, then, of all that discourse about Latin American rock as an expression that responds to the continent’s socio-political turmoil? The more we get into Break It All, the more we can see that it isn’t an accessory, but something worse: a hook to legitimise before the audience, who will surely want rock to be rebellious, this story that extols corporate rock and knows no other outlook than that of the producers who come aboard their Pinta, their Niña and their Santa María (now all the way from Argentina) to discover Mexican rock.

That discourse tumbles down resoundingly in the episode where they mention the uprising in Mexico of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (National Liberation Zapatista Army, EZLN), in 1994. I’ve read an interview by Betto Arcos for NPR in which Nicolás Entel states: “In many many ways, we’re not telling the story of rock in Latin America but we’re telling the story of Latin America, through the point of view of rock,” giving an account of “the most important events in politics, economics, crime and arts in Latin America”.

Really? How come then that the Zapatista uprising, one of the rebellions with a biggest impact on the recent history of Latin America and the world and, in the documentary’s context, on Mexican youth and rock culture, doesn’t deserve in Break It All more than two minutes before the opening credits of the last episode, as if to quickly get done with it? It’s never mentioned again.

Though in that brief space there’s some allusion made to the concerts organised in support of the Zapatista communities, the producers don’t peek into the movement that grew around them. Those concerts were organised by musicians and students, in particular members of the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s Ricardo Pozas Caravan. This effort was joined by NGOs and artists. I know, because I was also part of it, in the information commission. Our first collective was called “La Bola”, thus named by Botellita de Jerez’s Paco Barrios, and it brought together the work of quite a lot of people, carrying out mass concerts, firmly excluding access to the police (something that, in Mexico, is not easy or without risks), on occasion in marginal areas of the capital. Not only did we gather financial, alimentary and other basic needs’ support for those communities affected by violence and the displaced population; we also gave information about what was really happening in Chiapas, at a time when mass media were hiding it or gravely distorting it. After the Acteal massacre in 1997, we organised a tour with bands playing on trucks and giving information through the Mexican capital, which ended in a mass concert around the Independence Angel monument and was followed with a musicians and students’ caravan to Polhó, the refugee camp. The money raised was used to pay for the concerts’ production, to organise several caravans to Chiapas, to offer support to productive community projects of the “Roberto Barrios” autonomous Aguascalientes, or support the transport of the 1,111 Zapatista representatives in their visit to Mexico City in 1997. Furthermore, on taking the bands to marginal areas in the city, the concerts gave an opportunity to listen to them to young people who perhaps wouldn’t have the means to do so otherwise, thus establishing a bridge between music and youths to whom Mexican society denied everything. Muévete, gira por la libertad (“Move! A Tour for Freedom”); 12 Serpiente. Rock por la paz y la tolerancia (“12 Snake. Rock for Peace and Tolerance”); El rock de la consulta (“The Consultation Rock”)… They are in the memory of thousands of people; there’s been extensive writing about them, but for the Break It All producers they barely mean a perfunctory mention before even entering fully into their documentary’s last episode. Isn’t this mobilisation, which included many of the best Mexican rock bands at the time, really worth being better told in a documentary that boasts of “telling the story of Latin America, through the point of view of rock”? Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice said.

One of these concerts had the double mission of both supporting the Zapatista communities and challenging the prohibition of free open-air concerts that the government was trying to impose—which would have taken us back to the disastrous repression against rock in the 1970s and early 1980s shown in the documentary—after some riots in a Caifanes gig in 1995 at the esplanade of the Venustiano Carranza municipality.

In the negligible mention of these concerts in Break It All, the name of Santa Sabina comes up, and for a few seconds we listen to Rita Guerrero talking onstage, but nothing is said about the essential role she and the band played in their organisation (sadly missed Armando Vega Gil makes it clear in the film Rita, el documental, by director Arturo Díaz Santana). I would have thought that all this would be of some importance for anyone interested in the relationship between rock and politics in Latin America, as well as Santa Sabina’s song “Olvido”, with Rita’s lyrics, dedicated to the Zapatista struggle, which isn’t discussed either. 

And now that we mention Santa Sabina, let’s take a look at what they say in this documentary about them, unquestionably one of the most important Mexican rock bands. The members of Café Tacuba, La Maldita Vecindad and Julieta Venegas talk about it with admiration and affection. Humberto Calderón says: “There are some bands which it’s an honour to have. Culebra was honoured to have Santa”. I’m not sure we can say that the feeling was reciprocal.

Culebra, as we’ve already stated, was the BMG Ariola label recording Latin American bands, created by Calderón himself. However, as we have seen, Óscar López was in command of rock en tu idioma, and though supposedly the whole raison d’être of a label like Culebra was to promote rock as music that offered an alternative to the mainstream, the pressure on Santa Sabina to becoming more commercial was there from the start. At some point BMG told them that they weren’t interested in bands which didn’t sell over 200 thousand copies, something which was bound to be very difficult if the band in question didn’t receive enough support or promotion. I’ll give you an example: some twenty years ago I got the Borderline—a small but important venue in London, where I’ve been living since 1999—interested in featuring Santa Sabina; their gig there would open the chance of organising a small tour through the English capital and perhaps other cities; this would have been a good opportunity to offer to Santa some of the international exposure that the record company was actively seeking for more commercial bands, but BMG refused to pay for the plane tickets. The relationship between Santa Sabina and BMG ended because of the latter’s lack of support, and because of the conditions according to which the material for a new album would depend on whether it was approved or not by Óscar López. When the band refused to comply with these restrictions, they were released from their contract and became independent. This is how they created Mar adentro en la sangre, Espiral and the live album of their 15th anniversary, but none of this is mentioned in the documentary. I think it would have been important, so that the audience could get a full perspective of the history of Latin American rock, to tell how one of Mexico’s most important bands decides to turn its back on the record companies’ commercial model and venture into a completely independent project, preserving their artistic integrity at all costs. This, of course, doesn’t fit the vision of Break It All’s creators, and the way they pretend to get round Santa Sabina’s split with the music industry is indicative of their principles. Mind you, a few months after Rita passed away, Sony Music released a slovenly Santa Sabina four CD compilation for its series Recupera tus clásicos. They wouldn’t miss the chance for sales that always comes along an artist’s death, would they?

Perhaps all this is the reason why none of the band’s members was interviewed. It would have been, I suspect, rather awkward.

I found, by the way, the way Humberto Calderón talks about Rita quite odd. No doubt he does so with admiration. However, after he says that Rita died of cancer, where it might have been appropriate to talk about the enormous void she left in Mexican rock (and Early Music as well), he states that “she had a sad life in many things [sic]”. I couldn’t even feel indignation—the claim is so absurd. Rita, who was a sister to me, had one of the happiest and most fulfilled lives I’ve been a witness of. She always did whatever she wanted (something that people at BMG had ample opportunity to appreciate), and her creative freedom was the spur and sustenance of a deeply rewarding life. It is of course utterly sad that she died so young. But her life? What is indeed sad is to open your mouth having no idea what you’re talking about, and more so in public. Even more if you’re describing another person, and worse if that person isn’t with us anymore. When you do that in a documentary that will be seen by countless people all over the world, you are making a big mistake. I truly believe that Humberto Calderón didn’t have bad intentions, but he wasn’t a friend of Rita’s, he didn’t know her beyond the record label’s professional context, and I’d very much like him to clarify where he got that nonsense about Rita’s life having been sad from.

Towards the end of Break It All, as it has already been stated in other reviews, they talk about women in Latin American rock “all in a heap”, projecting a collage of many of them without even telling us who they are. I want to know who all those women are, and I don’t understand why they have to be relegated to a patronising separate mention, as if they belonged to another species.

I reiterate that there is much that is relevant in Break It All. It features many musicians who have made valuable contributions to rock music in Latin America, and who are truly some of its protagonists; several of those interviewed tell the story from a fascinating perspective (I don’t mention them all here for matters of space). However, the absences, at least in respect to Mexico, are unjustifiable; they betray ignorance and a lack of respect for the work of a lifetime of many musicians, particularly those who started the rock in Spanish movement way before Rock en tu idioma existed. You don’t need to be too sagacious to imagine that the same thing must happen in relation to other countries. In my opinion, such omissions are due to the direst fundamentals and flaws of the documentary.

When I talk about fundamentals, I mean the way rock is understood from the heights of the big record labels, producers and managers. Rock music has been a very important part of my life, and I’m happy if there are documentaries recording its history, but with regard to what we call the music industry, I believe it is convenient to keep—using the language of our times—a safe distance. That industry’s spokespersons live in a bubble, convinced that millionaire sales records, multitudinous concerts, music videos shiny with trick effects and a surplus of feigned emotions and artificial aesthetics are the contents of the artistic manifestation they live on. It isn’t so. It is true that people like Santaolalla, Óscar López and their friends have carried out—though not always—invaluable work with their productions, and that they have made some great musicians visible to a bigger audience. Again, I do appreciate that work and I don’t mean to negate it, but they seem to forget that producers do not “make” the artist. Ever. To make an artist of another human being is impossible. Producing the work of an artist from the perspective prevailing in that bubble thus becomes either the exploitation of somebody else’s talent, or the cynical production of “stars”, even if they have no talent whatsoever.

If this is a threat to every manifestation of art and culture in the society we live in, defined by consumerism and the obsession to find infinite “entertainment”, thus annulling all meaning, in the rock milieu it is significantly stressed, due, I gather, to the fact that substantial amounts of money are involved, and because it’s a breeding ground of such delirious egos that sometimes, looking at some of its stars and accompanying retinue, we ought to be forgiven if we have serious doubts regarding the evolution of the human species.

It seems to me that Break It All’s creators, despite the commendable work that they have done, and which I gladly acknowledge, live in that bubble, and that is the reason why in this documentary they incur in the grave mistake of the duplicity of their discourse. The decoy they use of the political context as a frame for Latin American rock’s history, and the supposedly rebellious cry in the title, are nothing but the vehicle for a bunch of Argentinian guys to come and tell us how they discovered everything, co-opted it, recorded it and gave it to the world, and how perpetually grateful we must be to them for making their chosen musicians do what, according to them, seems to be the only true criterion for going down in history: to please the masses and sell many records.

What a pity, and what a waste.

*Image by Maria Eklind

There are 7 comments for this article
  1. Beber rojas at 10:27 pm

    No tenia el gusto de conocerte, me gusto mucho tu texto, pero eo que se hace tremendo alboroto por que el dueño del show(SANTAOLALLA) hablo de sus amigos y de lo que el conoce, por que no mejor nosotros los mexicanos le damos el reconocimiento a alguien como Ricardo Rico y toda la información que ha buscado desde hace años en esos videos que sube a YouTube donde ha entrevistado a muchos músicos de rock mexicano, desde el aknes de masacre 68 , pasando por Diego Herrera, Andrés haro y varias mujeres que han estado en el rock de Méxicano, con su programa buscando el rock mexicano, te lo recomiendo ampliamente, saludos.

  2. Tenoch Ramos Vergés at 12:40 pm

    Felicidades Adriana! Impecable escrito! de verdad maravilloso, y mas maravilloso seria que mucha, mucha gente lo leyera! Felicidades!

  3. Jaime Espinosa Cotto at 2:49 pm

    No puedo estar más de acuerdo en su brillante escrito. Gracias por la información de haberlo vivido y no escribir de lo que se desconoce. Mi admiración y respeto.

  4. Carlos Cortes at 9:25 am

    Wow! No me sorprende en realidad viniendo de la gran escritora Adriana Díaz Enciso, que forma parte de la historia del rock mexicano de la mano de una de las grandes agrupaciones; Santa Sabina. Maravillosa reseña. Felicidades

  5. Alejandro Barranco at 6:05 pm

    Hola, me ha gustado el artículo, escrito con lucidez, compromiso y pasión, se hacen observaciones importantísimas del rock en México. Ahora, por mi parte me atrevo a hacer también algunas observaciones a este artículo:
    1. Lo que yo entendí como la idea principal es la incongruencia o contradicción existente entre un movimiento que nace como contracultural y termina convirtiéndose en un suceso mainstream, a este respecto, cabe mencionar que en sus orígenes anglosajones el rock no era contracultural, al contrario, recibió gran difusión por los medios masivos de comunicación: Radio y TV. En América Latina en cambio, se nutrió de la contracultura, el folk y la canción de protesta, aunque no en todos los países fué así, en México por ejemplo, en sus inicios, el rock fue una copia casi al carbón de el rock Estadounidense. Entonces, me parece que el rock latinoamericano siguió el camino del anglosajón, un destino corporativo difícil de evitar.
    2. Aunque no se menciona en el artículo de manera literal, hay un personaje o estereotipo que encarna el rock corporativo: la figura del Rockstar. Esta figura, me parece, ha sido un ejemplo u objetivo a lograr por muchos músicos (Saúl Hernández por ejemplo, y no pretendo ser irrespetuoso) de tal manera que han contribuído negativamente al desarrollo del rock, ese es un tema que permea a todo el rock, en todo el mundo y que no se menciona ni en el documental ni en este artículo
    3. En este artículo se radicalizado el tema de la música a tal grado de casi llevarlo todo a un absurdo maniqueísmo donde los malos son como siempre la gente que detenta el poder (económico o político o ambos) y los buenos los rebeldes o insurrectos. Como sabemos, el arte ha sido objeto de comercio y el rock no es la excepción pero eso es algo inherente a la era industrial en la que nació y se desarrolló el rock, no es algo de lo que se pueda culpar al productor del documental
    4. El mensaje que yo percibí del documental “Rompan todo” tiene que ver con la búsqueda de una identidad músico-social (si es que eso existe) del rock en latinoaméricano y futuro (hasta cierto punto desesperanzador) del rock
    5. Algunas opiniones expresadas en el artículo demasiado subjetivas, demasiado duras, con un conocimiento, es cierto, pero también con desconocimiento, por ejemplo: Miguel Mateos en sus inicios cantaba un rock más duro, citaré una frase de una de sus canciones: “Huevos, en la Argentina hace falta huevos”… ese rock se fue haciendo más comercial, pero la historia de casi todos los rockeros del mundo es así!
    6. Como dije anteriormente, es muy buen artículo el que ha escrito y me ha movido a reflexionar, la conclusión que yo saco es la siguiente: Todos aquellos que amamos el rock deseamos que éste se convierta en una auténtica expresión de la gente
    Un saludo y hasta pronto!

  6. Falco at 4:45 am

    Entiendo de donde viene la autora, pero creo que lo que tanto le molesta de la producción de Rompan Todo, respecto a que viven en una burbuja, es algo que paradójicamente también es evidente en el escrito. Lo digo porque los primeros reclamos a la producción de no incluir ciertas bandas de Guadalajara en el documental, y ver eso por haber sido parte de ese movimiento específico, parece un reclamo ensimismado, teniendo en cuenta que precisamente una de las críticas grandes del documental es que anuncie cubrir una historia de todo Latinoamérica, pero termine hablando solo de México y Argentina, y solo tangencialmente de Colombia y Chile. Es más importante incluir una banda de Guadalajara que mencionar que pasaba en todo Venezuela, o en centro américa?
    Lo que rescato de esta crítica es la propuesta de que realmente es una historia contada pro a industria discográfica, donde primó lo que fue exitoso comercialmente sobre todo lo demás. Es válido, pero también me hace preguntarme, que grupos de rock podrían considerarse latinoamericanos, en el sentido que hayan traspasado fronteras, sin tener una industria musical y de distribución detrás? Es que sería genial hacer un documental, donde se hablen de todos esos grupos en cada país, que fueron influyentes en su entorno, que sentaron las bases de un movimiento de rebeldía, que nos tocó a muchos, y que tenían en común, si bien nunca se hayan cruzado. Pero ese sería otro documental.
    Yo por mi parte agradezco mucho la existencia de Rompan todo, pues me parece que si que vi un paralelismo con la política y los movimientos sociales y el desarrollo del género, ha generado mucha discusión sobre un tema super interesante, y además me dio a conocer grupos que no sabia que existían (redonditos de ricota, Botellita de Jerez, o la figura de Santaolalla detrás de tantas bandas tan influyentes fue algo nuevo para mi), y claro que me hubiera gustado que hubiera agregado X o y grupos (por ejemplo, en los 90’s en Bogotá había una escena Ska y punk en Bogotá muy activa) pero me pregunto que tanto influyeron fuera de sus fronteras esos grupos, y entonces se me pasa. Me hubiera gustado saber que pasaba en Perú, en Ecuador, En Bolivia, en Panamá, en Paraguay, en fin, una idea mas holística de un tema con tanta carne como sería abarcar una historia latinoamericana del rock.
    Me quedé con las ganas de entender mejor cual sería ese artista independiente, influyente, que traspase fronteras, que fuera mainstream sin tener nada ver con esa industria musical que genera tanto escozor. Genuinamente es algo que me pregunto, pues viendo el documental fue evidente para mi que es un poco como que viene primero el huevo o la gallina, respecto al éxito de Soda Stereo o Café Tacuba, que seguramente lograron traspasar fronteras al contar con una maquinaria fuerte de distribución, pero que no pudiera existir si no fueran artísticamente tan buenos que generaran esa atención el público. Y logrando ese éxito, no siendo tan pop como uno pensaría para el éxito que tuvieron.

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