Los Lobos drummer Louie Perez once described the music of the longtime Angeleno rock band as "the soundtrack of the barrio," and for more than 20 years now the band's affecting, homegrown rock 'n' roll has been powered by a strong sense of community and family.
Family activities are what the band is looking forward to this summer, when they manage to get some time off from a rigorous touring schedule. "Whenever we have free time, we have to take the kids out to this and that," laughs bassist Conrad Lozano. "What will be popular around our band will be kiddie movies and rock 'n' roll concerts. My 16-year-old daughter's already asking me about going to 'Lollapalooza.' Luckily that's something I don't mind going to."
Lozano has the oldest kids among the members of Los Lobos, which includes guitarists David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas, and saxophonist Steve Berlin. Lozano's looking forward to seeing Jack Nicholson in "Wolf," but says he's sure that the players with younger kids will be discussing the merits of Disney's "The Lion King" on the tour bus by the end of the summer.
"The story of our life is that we miss a lot of the shows and events we'd like to be at because we're out working, but that's not as bad as missing kids' birthdays and wives' birthdays," says Lozano. "When you're on the road for weeks and then come home, there's all kinds of things to catch up on. Free time becomes family time."
Lozano and his kids are lucky enough to have a common interest in rock 'n' roll. "Whenever I do have a chance, I love to get out to see shows around town, and what I go to see are rock 'n' roll bands. Now my kids are into it too, so we go out together."
Occasionally Lozano is able to combine work and family time. "My son's a big Eagles fan, and wanted to go to the shows out here. But Los Lobos is opening for the Eagles in Phoenix and Las Vegas, so I'll bring him out to those and it will be a better time for both of us."
Aside from the rocking and rolling, Lozano wants to bring his kids to a wide range of cultural events this summer. He says he feels terrible that he never saw "Phantom of the Opera," and wants to get the family to some Los Angeles theater productions this summer. He'll also make a point of catching a couple of the auto swap meets and quarter-mile races at the Pomona Fairplex.
"That swap meet's a killer," he says. "The cars they bring in down there are just incredible. That always becomes a big family day for us."
Lozano says that Los Lobos is still a very happy musical family, but the members don't have a lot of time to spend with one another when they're not performing. "We used to get together a lot for weekend barbecues and picnics, but we're spread out a bit now and on different schedules so it's a lot harder."
There is one series of L.A. events that will get the band together in their free time, however. "Los Lobos is a band of big baseball fans," says Lozano. "I have a friend who works at Dodger Stadium, and he said we should let him know when we want to come down for a game. I think we'll definitely take him up on that."*