12132018Thu
Last updateFri, 07 Dec 2018 11am

A band rises through ‘force of will,’ makes the big time

Thousands of bands all over the world spend years perfecting their craft and never get the chance to walk out on a prestigious stage in front of a large audience.

It took The Big Boys six years of struggle, intense work and belief.  

Last weekend, the Guadalajara band rocked the Teatro Diana to a series of covers by the likes of The Beatles, Doors, Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Radiohead, Police and others.  

But this was no ordinary concert.

The six members have one thing in common, apart from a burning desire to go as far as they can in the cut-throat world of entertainment.

All suffer from varying varieties of muscular dystrophy.  

“I’m nervous. I guess we all will be. This is big,” drummer Oscar Ramirez said after the band’s final rehearsal two days before the show.  

The biggest audience the band had played to previously was a few hundred at a local school.  

Their manager, Miguel Sevilla, said the chance to perform at the Diana was “testament to the faith they had to follow their dream … There were many obstacles and many reasons why they could have given up.  Their force of will shows these things can be achieved.”

The band evolved from singing and music classes held under the umbrella of the Asociacion de Distrofia Muscular del Occidente.  

“We were given a project of having to learn one song in a month. It was Creedence’s ‘Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” said lead guitarist Manuel Hernandez. “We kind of went on from there.”

Bassist Juan Luis Sanchez couldn’t play a note when he started the classes and admits to spending hours online improving his technique, learning from idols such as Paul McCartney.

The final rehearsal typified the sort of problems that usually don’t befall other bands.  The two vocalists, Carlos Lopez and Gerardo Madrigal, both of whom use respirators and are confined to wheelchairs, were feeling poorly and decided to stay at home.  

Whatever their state of health, none of the six were prepared to miss Friday’s evening gig at one of Guadalajara’s most important venues.

Although the theater was not entirely full, the audience gave the band a huge reception when they took the stage to perform the opening number: appropriately “Have You Ever Seen the Rain.”

The band followed up with a string of classics: “Don’t Let Me Down,” “And I Love Her,” Every Breath You Take,” “Satisfaction,” “Creep,” “The Blues Roadhouse” and more.

A huge bonus was to share the stage with invited guest Hector Quintana, the percussionist of Mana, one of Mexico’s most famous bands. And for the rousing finale they were joined by El Cala and Arturo Ybarra of legendary rockers Rostros Ocultos for two of their classic numbers, “Hoy quisiera que estuvieras aquí” and “El final.”

One of the most emotional moments of the concert was when Lopez began to sing “A tu lado,” a ballad he composed and the only original song in the entire set. 

The band hopes their first taste of the “big time” will not be the last.

“We see this as a beginning step.  We’d really like to kick on and compose more of our own material,” Ramirez said.

Sevilla sees no reason why not. 

“The project has gathered steam and has gone further than we ever imagined. It has its own life. Like the logo of The Big Boys, it has wings, and is flying on its own.”

Sevilla revealed that The Big Boys members will keep most of the proceeds from the Teatro Diana concert and a CD of their covers that he produced, noting that their illness can be extremely costly with significant expenses required for medications and equipment. A portion of the takings, he said, is earmarked for the Asociacion de Distrofia Muscular del Occidente. For more details see admo.org.mx.

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