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Rusty Eye: The Mexican Metal band that went to Los Angeles to succeed.
An example of persistence and hard work with this Trio based in the heart of the Sunset Strip.
By Sergio Alvite
Purists will say that Metal has to be sung in English language. The least conservative will tell you singing in Spanish ain’t that bad. Rusty Eye sings in both languages.
Two members of this trio based in Los Angeles, California are Mexican. They went there 15 years ago looking for better music career opportunities. It was very hard in the beginning. Nowadays, they are an established act and they can even tell you stories of their old West Hollywood neighbor Lemmy from Motörhead.
Is it Prog? Is it Thrash? Is it Death? All this styles are blended together by Rusty Eye, which is comprised by bassist and vocalist Mr Rust and drummer and vocalist, and pretty much front woman, Miss Randall, whom decided to make the decision to move out of Mexico and live in a different country. it was in LA that they met their guitarist Baron Murtland.
Their first couple of albums with their current line-up did good in English language, just like they did when they started out in Mexico City. But it’s been a couple of years since they were feeling nostalgic and they decided to make a covers album in Spanish language, with songs originally by Los Amantes de Lola and Cuca.
Rust & Randall stepped away from their Los Angeles routine to connect with me on Skype and tell us what’s the latest with the band and how life’s randomness got them to cross paths with Carmen Salinas, yes, THAT Carmen Salinas.
Noisey: Did you guys just get off from work?
Miss Randall: Yes indeed, we just got off.
What do you do for work?
Miss Randall: I work at a Entertainment Lawyers office and I’m currently studying a Masters in Marketing Communications. I just started last January.
Mr. Rust: I work at a store that offers financing for the Hispanic community and I do E-commerce there, I take care of the Digital Design and I also DJ and do sound for bands at the Rainbow [Rainbow Bar and Grill on the Sunset Strip].
You are from Mexico City, and you started you career singing in English in Mexico, and it seems most logical to continue singing in English in the United States. But why did you decide to sing in English while in Mexico?
Mr Rust: I started out with the sole idea of being different. In Mexico, the Rock en Español genre had gone mainstream because there was not much musical options prior to that movement; it took off with Caifanes and everyone wanted to sound like them and emulate them. Around the same time, some bands were starting to sing in English, since prior to that it was not accepted; singing in English was considered disgraceful to the Mexican roots and to the country.
We did it because we wanted to go against the flow, and now we just did a record in Spanish because now the flow runs the other direction: How can we reconnect with Mexico?
We wanted to expand our horizons, make the band global. It was about making our music universal and not just an excuse to flee Mexico. We delivered the Spanish version of Rusty Eye for the purist crowd and now we are even considering doing future albums in both languages. That would rule.
Miss Randall: Regardless, English was the only option when we left Mexico because here in the States no one knew who we were and we had to start our career all over again and become established in the scene. It was very hard and those were completely different days for us.
You lived in Mexico and left to the United States. Music aside, did you feel any cultural shock?
Mr. Rust: It was really hard in the beginning. We had to pay our dues playing out in the Street. I remember we hit the bar scene very hard, literally pulling people to go see us, making and passing out flyers, making press kits. We experienced a lot of hardship but as years passed all this got easier. The quality of events suddenly started to improve. Nowadays when we go out to play, we can assure that there is some kind of following that wants to be there to see us. Before we had to fight to make a name for ourselves. It’s tough but this is one of the many tests bands don’t get to pass. It was a hard transition and everything is different here, but I always say that if you love Los Angeles, Los Angeles will love you back… I’ve noticed those who fail do nothing but bitch about the city, and a couple months later LA has sent them back to wherever it is they came from.
Miss Randall: I used to go out to meet people, and that’s the way, going to shows, meeting the scene, the promoters, the radio people. Since we are based in the Sunset Strip, it was easy to go to all the clubs, meet all the bouncers, and let everyone know I was in a band.
Did you ever run into any problems for being from Mexico?
Mr Rust: Not in Los Angeles, but a lot of problems in Mexico… I don’t know if thing have changed but back in the day the Mexican Entertainment Industry was a closed elite club for every genre.
I feel there’s a little more of an opening for independent music nowadays, but having industry friends back in the day was like a miracle. if you were not in the circle you weren’t welcome.
I remember one time I end up talking on the phone with Carmen Salinas because she owned one of the few Recording Studios available in Mexico at the time. I was the age of Cassette tapes so being on CD was a big deal. The only people that had access to Recording Studios where the Televisa crowd. I was looking for options and quotes and I end up on the phone with Carmen Salinas, who declined to let us use her studio because we were a Metal band. She asked me If I knew anyone that was somebody, but I didn’t. Look’s like nowadays bands have it easier.
Nowadays, there is more opportunities for Mexican bands. When we left, if a Mexican bad opened for an international act people would boo them and throw shot to get them off the stage. It didn’t matter if they were good or bad.
You’ve been on both sides of the spectrum. If a Mexican band decides to go to Los Angeles to bet on that eighties Sunset and Mötley Crüe type of revival trend. Do you think they actually have a chance?
Miss Randall: It all depends on the genre. That eighties thing is a wave that comes and goes. when we got to LA, the Strip was all full of young kids that looked like Mötley Crüe.
Mr. Rust: It is really hard. Something I’ve noticed over the years is that there is a ton of bands from Sweden, Australia, Greece, and many more. I don;t know who funds them, maybe their family or they get loans… they come to LA for a short 6 month term, they get a Whisky residence, they create fake hype and make tons of friends and after 6 months they band went nowhere and they end up leaving all broke. I’ve seen that way too many times.
that whole concept of playing Hollywood and some dude offers you a Major record deal has been over since the eighties. The people I’ve seen persist and that they continue to do their thing do exactly what we do: manage their band like a business and make your band stand out by bypassing all the Hollywood trends, which are extremely volatile. There’s so many bands out there and a sea of options only leading to paralysis.
On a world scale, The Sunset Strip made headlines due to Lemmy’s death, whom was a regular at The Rainbow.
Mr. Rust: Lemmy was always in touch with his the people, he was the type of person that most everyone can tell you a story about the time they met him. He was an artist that had a huge open door approach relationship with his fans.
Miss Randall: I went to his funeral. He was my friend and neighbor. My roomate was like a son to him. It was a beautiful ceremony. Dave Grohl, Dee Snider, Rob Halford and Gene Simmons were there. I’ve never felt anything like that before.
Lemmy is a role model for us when it comes to hard work. I once asked him what did he think of women in metal and he said not to focus on that: “Don’t give a fuck, do what you do.”
Mr. Rust: we learned directly from him how important it is to be yourself.