bill bodkin is building a mystery…
Lucha libre is one of the most respected forms of professional wrestling out there. It’s popularity rivals that of soccer in its native land of Mexico and some of the greatest competitors ever to compete in Japan have been influenced by the men under the mask.
For me, the world of lucha, was introduced to me through my late great dad, who would extoll the virtues of the Mexican luchador, Mil Mascaras — ‘The Man of a Thousand Masks.’ Seeing his face light up talking about the aerial artistry of Mil was a sight to be seen. Years later we’d get the privilege of seeing our favorite masked man, Jushin “Thunder” Liger wrestler against current superstars CM Punk and Daniel Bryan at the former Rexplex in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
So when the legion of masked musicians known as The Mystery Men approached me about performing at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, NJ on February 21st, it was a no-brainer. Since the masked men of wrestling had been such an integral part of my life, it made sense to have a band who celebrated this culture be a part of one of the coolest parts of my life right now. It may sound silly, but I’m a silly, sentimental bastard.
The band, consisting of lucha loving ‘rock ‘n’ roll lucha warriors’ aren’t just a gimmick band — they’re the real deal. They know how to bring a groove-centrice sense of rock ‘n’ roll awesome to any stage they perform on. And their onstage act is so entertaining and so engaging, it’s something Jersey Shore music fans will really dig.
Pop-Break recently spoke with the band’s manager and drummer Manny Gonzales about the band’s beginnings, their love for lucha and there place in the Asbury Park music scene.
Our Band Consists Of: Rock and Roll Lucha Warriors
We’re Been Performing Since: The Beginning of Time
We’re Based Out Of: The Grimlak System
Find Our Current Music (online, in stores at): soundcloud.com/themysterymen
New Record To Be Released: Summer 2013
Our Sound Has Been Likened To: Persian Anthem Trance
Awesome/Famous Bands We’ve Performed With: Sinking Ship, The Mixxtape, Viva Le Vox, The Hornitz, Karmic Juggernaut, The Red Desert, Psychadelphia, Saltwater Allstars, The Wayward Sons of the Buffalo Apocalypse, Chuck Taylor and the Kentucky Gentlemen, to name a few. Do you mean besides Creed & Nickelback?!
Pop-Break: So are you guys a band of luchadors or luchadors are in a band?
Manny Gonzales: Both. Here on planet Earth, we are a band of luchadores. In between shows, we take our rocket ship back to The Grimlak System and defend our 6 man Tag Titles that we won 300 years ago, as fighting champions that turn down no challenge. No team in the entire cosmos has been able to take our titles away from us in over 2000 matches. Its kind of a big deal. I’d love to show you the belts but the cosmic material they are made out of would melt your human eyeballs and turn them into a puddle of steaming occular plasma and I wouldn’t want to do that to you cause you’re cool.
PB: What brought you guys together?
MG: A bolt of lightning came down from the skies and produced three warriors from another planet, who were born to rock like no one has ever seen before. No three individuals have ever been able to freely communicate with each other, and the universe, using only sounds produced by musical instruments as opposed to sentences composed by words. It’s very esoteric. We’ve come to rid this planet of musical mediocrity and do something never done before as true innovators in today’s modern era, yet its something very few people can understand or appreciate, not unlike most misunderstood geniuses that came before us. What we do comes from a very pure and clean place within our hearts and souls. We don’t do this for critical acclaim, we don’t do this for approval from our peers, we do this because its IN us and we have to express ourselves musically as well as artistically, ya dig?
PB: In a fair match who would win — Jushin Liger or original Tiger Mask?
MG: Wow! Way to bring the HEAT – no softball interview questions here at Pop-Break.com. Dag, yo. It’s so tough because you are talking about two of the greatest icons in the history of Japanese wrestling. In what would be an epic 60 minute, 2 out of 3 falls contest — after a dazzling display of both high flying feats & hard nosed technical mat wrestling — I’d have to give the edge to the original Tiger Mask, by the slimmest of margins. The fans would be the true winners of that one.
PB: What are your thoughts about El Generico signing with WWE?
MG: We think its awesome! Anyone who has spent their entire lives traveling the world to ply their craft to be the best they can be, spending years living out of a suitcase, traveling hundreds of miles to perform in tiny venues for a “hot dog and a handshake” so-to-speak, then finally be able to have all those years of hard work pay off and get the opportunity of a lifetime to perform in-front of thousands of people every night is a beautiful thing to see. Some would feel a twinge of bitterness feeling that their favorite act on the card was a “Sell Out” so to speak, but if you really have a connection to that act, logic would dictate that you would only want the best for them and that is how we feel about El Generico. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy and we wish him nothing but the best. The coolest part about it is that it looks like he will keep his gimmick so everyone wins. OLE!
PB: On our February 21 show you’ll be performing what you’re calling The Great American Mystery Bash. Can you go into greater detail what this type of show is?
MG: We’re already a lot to handle when we’re in our normal state of bass, drums and guitar — but for you and the fine people of Asbury Park NJ, we decided to take this one up a notch. We’ve got some special guests lined up outside of our traditional line-up and have some cool surprises planned — none of which I’m going to give away here (duh) so you’ll just have to come down to The Wonderbar on Thursday night and see what we’ve got in store for you. Its going to be different, thats for sure and you can take that to the bank, Jack!
PB: What can people expect from you live? And should they be on the guard against unexpected hurricanranas?
MG: Expect the Unexpected.
Expect to see something you’ve Never seen before.
Expect to Drink Too Much
Expect to Dance
Expect to Have Fun.
Expect to watch the elbow!
Expect a Great Show you can’t get Anywhere else.
PB: You guys are part of the Asbury music scene. What are your thoughts about it current state and where your band fits in.
MG: If I can be serious for a minute … I’ll give you the straight shoot: Generally speaking, people are afraid of things that they do not understand. Because what we do is so esoteric, so different and left of center of everything else going on around here, the average Asburian has no reference point to make sense out of us, therefore we don’t really fit into a “scene” per say. We’ve played with rock bands, jambands, metal bands, Latin bands, we’ve even played with a Latin metal band that jams and rocks at the same time!
I can liken it to what people thought of Thelonious Monk’s early work before he did that whole record of Duke Ellington tunes. Much like Monk’s form of Jazz, we confuse a lot of people and that is by design. We take pride in “out weirding the weirdos” as we like to say, especially in a town so chock full of ’em. Musical legends live and play in this town all the time, the rich, vast musical history of Asbury Park N.J. is second to none. Its up to us to set ourselves aside from all of those who come before us and be innovators. If we get on stage and simply get a reaction, positive OR negative, out of the historically critical and jaded audience in this town, then we did our jobs as artists. This ain’t your mom’s rock and roll show, if you want to see something new, fresh, different, innovative, exciting and dangerous all in one place – you came to see the right band.
PB: What are your plans for the band in 2013?
MG: We’ll be releasing our full length album Card Subject To Change this spring/summer in both physical and digital release. We’ve got some plans around that release to play lots of places up and down the East Coast surrounding the release of the album over the next few months. Those plans also include an official music video for one of the songs of the album, which was filmed at the mecca of musical history in Asbury Park NJ, The Stone Pony and and it will be physically distributed/submitted to places all over the country.
I’d love to return to all the kick ass places we’ve already been from Maine to Maryland and all points in between to spread the mysterious gospel from town to town, and Testify, if you will, the good news of Lucha Rock. People can look at us and initially dismiss us as some kind of freak-show, but when it comes right down to what matters – THE MUSIC – they will have no choice but to recognize that we’re all business once we hit the stage and the first crash drops……and thats the bottom line.
The Mystery Men will be planca-ing into The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, NJ with Matt Scuteri & The Jive Stewards and Gay Guy/Straight Guy on Thursday, February 21st. Tickets are $5. Show at 9pm.