The Texas-based alternative rock band Look Mexico is actually looking in the other direction these days.
On the verge of the group’s first-ever Canadian tour, which stops at The Vat in Red Deer on Friday, June 4, lead guitarist Ryan Slate admitted he isn’t sure what to expect from northern fans.
He’s hoping for a good reception, since so many of the young band’s online listeners are Canadian and have been urging Look Mexico to tour in this country.
“We’re excited,” said Slate. “We’ve heard it’s supposed to be beautiful up there that time of year. . . .”
But he confess he’s never actually been out of the U.S. before. “We just got our passports yesterday. . . . ”
And already Slate and other Look Mexico members (lead singer and trumpet player Matt Agrella, drummer Alex Gooding, bassist Ryan Smith, and keyboardist Dave Pinkham) are being warned to prepare for the same border hassles everyone else seems to be experiencing.
It’s all part of becoming more “jaded” — which is the word Slate uses to describe the theme of You Stay. I Go. No Following — the first single from the group’s second To Bed To Battle album.
The tune with a catchy drum-beat intro and chorus of “thank you for absolutely nothing” was a cry of frustration, said the 26-year-old. “We were angry and just kind of disappointed in the industry.”
Members of the then Florida-based band had signed with a small, independent record label. They figured with hard work, good songs and a lot of promotional touring, they were finally going to get somewhere.
But after four years of touring for up to eight months annually, “We still had minimum wage jobs and we were struggling to do anything. We were still crashing on our friends’ couches and still trying to get by,” recalled Slate.
The band is now with Suburbia Home Records and has relocated from Tallahassee to the more musically plugged-in Austin, Tex.
Look Mexico has a manager for the first time and “things are going a lot better because he’s helped us out with his connections.”
Before that we didn’t have any friends — or at least nobody famous,” said Slate with a wry laugh.
He doesn’t think anyone misrepresented how difficult the music business would be. “Basically, we were just kids when we did the first record. We were green at the time and just getting to know the business.”
Look Mexico’s recently To Bed To Battle has been praised by critics for having a more mature sound, with thoughtful, witty lyrics and solid rhythmic hooks.
Songs with characteristically wacky titles, such as They Offered Me a Deal (I Said No, Naturally), often feature themes about growing up. For instance, Just Like Old Times takes a dig at all the unbelievers who have told band members it’s time to get a real job.
“We’re not going to quit,” said Slate, a political science graduate who’s been delivering pizza for the last eight years to supplement his music income. “I think we’ve still got music to make. When I think of this band breaking up, it doesn’t make sense to me. I think we really like playing together.”
For more information about the concert, call 403-346-5636.