"It was all pretty much an experiment" says John Garcia, the third original member of Desorden, the band that later evolved into Los Skarnales. "We had to borrow instruments and learned to play them as we went along. But hey, were really good at making loud noises!"
And so began the desmadre that would become Los Skarnales, with family and friends and friends of friends who just decided to have fun and play some tunes. The band celebrates 20 years tonight at Fitzgerald's, which is where I saw them play back when I was a senior in high school around 1997 and 1998.
You could tell right away that they were something special, something fierce and emotional, fueled by beer and the love for ska and punk music.
Over the years, because of school, marriage, fatherhood and an endless number of life callings, the band members came and went. The only constant has been Felipe, although the soul of every one of the more than 30 bandmates lives on with every song, show and recording.
Some went on to play with and start their own bands, such as Nick Gaitan & the Umbrella Man, and Ryan Scroggins and The Trenchtown Texans. You can also tie former members to 30FootFall (Chris LaForge), Los Pistoleros de Tejas (Roberto Rodriguez), The Suffers (Pat Kelly, Adam Castañeda, Jon Durbin, Michael Razo, Jose "Chapy" Luna, Kevin Bernier), Bandulus (Jeremy Peña), Chadd Thomas & the Crazy Kings (R.I.P.), Sam Navarro & the Lone Star Devils, The Southern Backtones and probably so many more that have been forgotten along the way.
What I'm trying to say is...the band that thought it could became the band that wouldn't stop providing Houston and the world with an amazingly talented list of musicians, and we as Houstonians should take great pride that a band such as Los Skarnales calls Houston home.
Dalé shine, vatos!
Click below to cycle through the interactive Los Skarnales family tree.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.