This Friday Ozomatli unleash their new album ‘Ozomatli Presents Ozokidz‘, a record full of kids songs, that older folk can also dig. No strangers to the Australian festival circuit, the band will be touring Australia in the coming months on Harvest Festival. This week in The Hotseat, we catch up with percussionist Jiro Yamguchi from the group. Expand this post to take a ready. You can order a copy of the new album online [Here].
Name : Jiro Yamaguchi
Band : Ozomatli
Job In Band : Percussion
Website Address : www.ozomatli.com
Hometown : Los Angeles
Hometown is best known for : Food trucks, sunshine and smog, creative people
Best venue in your hometown : Hollywood Bowl
Favourite show you’ve seen in your hometown : Many shows but Jane’s Addiction back in the day, and The Boredoms.
Favourite show you’ve played in your hometown : Our weekly residency at the Dragonfly were crazy shows!
How did the band first come to exist? We started at a community centre in downtown Los Angeles called the Peace and Justice Centre. We helped raise money for the place by playing parties and charging at the door.
How long has the band been going? Our first gig was April 1, 1995.
Any particular story behind the name? Ozomatli is the Aztec god of dance. He is a monkey who represents the harvest, music and dance, and is mischievious and an orchestrator of the jungle. It was also our original drummers birth sign.
What’s your most recent release? Tell us a little about it… We are putting out a family record called “Ozomatli presents Ozokidz”. We figured since we are having kids and our fans are having kids, its the perfect time for us to put out a kids record.
Got a personal stand out achievement of your band to date? Yes! We have won 4 Grammy’s, played in Ulaanbatar Mongolia, and have kept the band together for 17 years.
OFF THE STAGE
Any particular band / album or song that you personally credit as a major influence? So many bands, the Clash, Santana, Los Van Van, Public Enemy, Fishbone
When you’re not doing band related stuff, what are you usually found doing? Bringing my daughter to pre-school and swim lessons
The thing you most look forward to just before a tour is… a good dinner with the family.
The thing you least look forward to before a tour is… packing and saying goodbye.
ON THE STAGE
When on offer, what’s your one must have item on the rider? Dark chocolate and cookies.
Favourite place you’ve toured… and why? Japan because the food is great, the audiences are wild and enthusiastic, and the soundchecks run smoothly.
Most memorable show you’ve played? and why? Playing in Nepal in front of 15,000 Nepalese who had never heard of us, and being told if they didn’t like us they would throw rocks (which is why the police in riot gear were positioned in front of the stage). Luckily they loved it and had a great time rocking with us.
Got a favourite song to play live? Cumbia De Los Muertos because its a fan favorite and we can open it up and jam if we want.
Any embarrassing on stage moments come to mind? Back in the day, not so much embarrassing as stupid, we decided to dedicate our set to freeing Mumia Abdul Jabaar when we were opening for the Offspring in Philadelphia. If you don’t know the case, google it. Most of the security there were off duty cops and the Offspring fans started throwing beers at us. When we were hightailing it out of the venue, our bus driver said, “this aint nothin. I used drive Ice-T and Bodycount!!”
What do you find is the hardest aspect of touring in a band today? The hardest part is travelling by air and dealing with TSA and airlines that are on the verge of bankruptcy.
You can pick any one album for your band to cover in full, what would it be and why? Remain in Light by the Talking Heads beacuse its a great album and we would be a lot of fun!
One venue you have yet to play that you would love to? How about the Sydney Opera house?
The chance comes up to fill in for a member of a band for one tour, which band would it be, and why? Iron Maiden because it would be crazy to experience that kind of fan loyalty.
A headline tour overseas comes up, tell us two bands you’d take along to support your band. Public Enemy and PSY
Got any final words? We have “Ozomatli presents Ozokidz” coming out September 28. We will also be touring Australia this November playing at the Harvest Fest as well as some side shows. Please check Ozomatli.com for the tour dates. Thanks!!
OZOMATLI – Ozomatli Presents Ozokidz
Available Friday 28th September via Breakaway Records.
Buy online [Here].