Masked Avengers

Forget the headgear. Los Straitjackets are having a seriously good time deconstructing instrumental pop.

That includes venturing into such uncharted waters as the Russian club scene, where the band was a huge hit. "We were offered two weeks at this club in Moscow. How could we turn that down? It was wild," recalls Amis. "That was a really fun time, because those people pretty much have freedom for the first time in their history, and they're just having a blast and enjoying it. They're having a big party over there."

As folks from Moscow to America now know, there's much more to Los Straitjackets than their face coverings. Nonetheless, the Mexican wrestling masks do raise a number of questions, such as, Doesn't it get hot under those things on stage? "It gets hot on stage anyway," Amis says. "Doesn't matter. You get used to it. In the Raybeats, we played in suits. Those got hot. I think those got hotter than the masks do."

Los Straitjackets: Doing their part to put Celine Dion on the breadline.
Sears Portrait Studio 1999
Los Straitjackets: Doing their part to put Celine Dion on the breadline.

And have they learned that the masks also can work against them? Amis recalls one incident with a chuckle: "One time we did a radio interview, and it was on the top floor of an office building in downtown Nashville. We got on the elevator, the four of us, and some lady got on the elevator. And I pulled out a duffel bag, and we all put on masks. Security was alerted by the time we got to the radio station. You have to be careful where you wear them."

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