Carnal Knowledge

Former Los Skarnales frontman Felipe Galvan resurrects the Pachuca boogie

To find trombonist Michael Razo and trumpeter Jon Durbin, they turned to the good old-fashioned Internet. "It was a pain in the ass looking for the horn players," Galvan says. "Luckily with the MySpace bullshit going on, you can post a bulletin and a lot of people get it and we got a real good response."

As the septet started rehearsing, their sound quickly started evolving more toward what Los Skarnales had been before. The subtle shift in name — dropping the "ska" — had seemed a good idea at the time, as Galvan wanted to focus more on the jump blues and Pachuco boogie and other back-to-the-future sounds. That soon changed.

"We were all like, 'Yeah, yeah, '40s and '50s jump blues and rumba, mambo and this and that,'" Galvan remembers. "So we started doing that, but once we were there, bro, we couldn't keep away from the good Jamaican ska and rocksteady, so we started messing with that. And after that, it was just like, 'Fuck it, let's just do ­whatever.'"


Felipe Galvan y Sus Carnales perform Saturday, September 8, at the Continental Club, 3700 Main, 713-533-9525. Jungle Rockers, D.J. Tiburon and Heart and Soul SoundSystem are also on the bill.

That "whatever" includes popular Skarnales songs. "At first we were like, 'Naw, let's make it fresh and new,'" Galvan says. "But then we were like, 'Fuck it.' Eighty percent of the songs me and José wrote. And another good percentage were written by Patrick the drummer."

But don't expect Sus Carnales to be carbon copies of Los Skarnales. There will be a more pronounced Pachuco/jump blues feel, and new coats of paint will be slapped on the band's older tunes. "We're trying to balance it right, where we're giving something fresh, like maybe giving some of the old songs new arrangements," Galvan says. "And that could just be having the horns on there, because we haven't had horns in a real long time."

Galvan believes that taking his time before coming back has been worth it. It has given his band the chance to mesh, and given some members, like roots-rocking bassist Supra, a chance to master new styles. "He was used to country and rockabilly, and we do a lot of rumbas and cumbias. And even with the Jamaican ska and rocksteady, he was like, 'Man, I've never played any of this stuff before.' But he's so badass, after a while it sounded like he had been playing it all his life."

"We're all real excited about it," Galvan says. "It took us a while to be where we felt like we were good enough to do a show, but we are now. We hope people come out and have their say-so. They can be like, 'It's cool' or 'You suck,' but we're happy about it. We just can't wait for the September eighth. I just hope we can be as good as those bands with the other guys who used to be in Skarnales."

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