Luis Cardenas is a Latin-American drummer who has been active since the late 1980s, both as a solo act and as a member of the rock band Renegade.
Early work with Renegade:
Renegade was formed by Cardenas and the band's manager/producer Kim Richards and were unusual in being ethnic Hispanics playing rock music. Deney Terrio, host of Dance Fever introduced Renegade in what is believed to be their first national television appearance as being from "Whittier, California". Building a local following and subsequently winning a record contract, the band released the albums "Rock n' Roll Crazy", "Renegade II - On The Run", "Nuns On Wheels" and "Renegade Live". The band sold well in Mexico, Canada, Japan, United Kingdom and locally in California, but did not enjoy the same level of success throughout the USA as they did internationally. In the United States, the band was widely viewed as teen idols, appearing in Tiger Beat, 16 Magazine, BOP Magazine and television programs, such as Dance Fever, which often overshadowed their musical prowess. The band was successful enough in the United States, to headline music festivals with bands such as 38 Special, Foreigner, Journey and Night Ranger. Renegade toured throughout the world in their own Learjet, and was popular enough in the late 1980s to be asked by Kenny Rogers to appear on the Texas-New Mexico Border with Lionel Richie and Lee Greenwood to support Rogers' Hands Across America effort. Renegade was the Saturday night headline attraction for the Los Angeles Street Scene Festival in both 1985 and 1986, with audiences of 150,000 in attendance. In 1990, the band was featured in a 98-minute television special aired on MTV internationally, entitled "Renegade MTV Special." Cardenas reprised his original "Let It Out" drum solo during the MTV Special. The band was honored in August 2001 at a David Hasselhoff hosted event at the Conga Room, in Los Angeles for record sales in excess of 30 million units worldwide.
Cardenas personally achieved additional fame in the U.S., Japan, Canada, Mexico, and especially throughout Europe, where he participated in a TV show resulting from his having broken the world record for having the world's largest drumkit, which had previously landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records. Unlike many drummers of the 1980s, Cardenas proved his drumming ability with the band's debut live track "Let It Out" in which he performs an intricate drum solo that comprises nearly a quarter of the song, ala Iron Butterfly's "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida".
Cardenas however released a solo album entitled Animal Instinct, and the first single "Runaway", a cover of a Del Shannon original, became a worldwide hit. This was mainly due to a video that included cameos by Del Shannon and Donny Osmond, which received heavy rotation on MTV for many weeks, and ultimately became the most added video in history, with rotation as diverse as BET. Cardenas won a National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) Best Rock Video Grammy Nomination for his "Runaway" video and its documentary, The Making of Runaway. Further singles and unique videos followed, such as the Cardenas-penned "Hungry for Your Love", which included another video with Phyllis Diller and Cardenas's pet tiger, Bundi. "Hungry for Your Love" did not match the initial success enjoyed by "Runaway". Cardenas took time off from personal appearances between 1990 and 1993, but recorded two albums during that time that have not yet been released. On February 11, 2012, Cardenas's record label, Allied Artists Music Group announced the re-release of his Animal Instinct album on March 6, 2012.
Return to Renegade:
In 2000 Cardenas was once again with Renegade and the band was hopeful of regaining past glories. Renegade's past success, caused Ritmo Beat Magazine to refer to the band as the first Latin rock band, hailing them as Chicano rock-gods. However, the effort to rekindle the Renegade machine was hampered by differences between band members, ultimately sidelining Danny David Flores and moving Tony De La Rosa back to bass guitar. The band went on to perform as a three piece, now consisting of the original three core members. Activity on the band's official website appears to point to yet another re-emergence, announcing the release of a brand new DVD concert, entitled Renegade Live @ The House of Blues, that contains some older material, brand new material and a jam session with legendary guitarist Mike Pinera. According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), Allied Artists Pictures, a sister company of their record label, Allied Artists Music Group, scheduled release of Renegade Live @ The House of Blues for September 2009 in the United States, with worldwide distribution occurring later in the year.
New solo projects:
Luis Cardenas signed a new recording contract with his longtime record label, Allied Artists Music Group, and was working on a new album that was scheduled to be released in 2012. The label simultaneously announced that it had re-released Cardenas's Animal Instinct CD as a collector's edition on March 6, 2012. The re-release of Animal Instinct was to be in anticipation of the release of a new double CD entitled "Generations" that was planned to hit store shelves in the later part of 2012. The Generations CD was to include Cardenas's two sons Nick and Zach Cardenas. In an October 15, 2012 press release, Allied Artists Music Group's president, Stephan Bauer, announced that the new Cardenas CD "will not be distributed at this time, and no new date has been established."
Cardenas is known for his fast and latin influenced drumming technique. He is also known for his massive 360 degree drum set, decked out in tiger stripe print (in honor of Cardenas' own pet tiger), and it appeared in the Guinness world records as the largest drum set on Earth at the time, having 75 pieces. At the height of Renegade's success in the late 1980s, Cardenas played Ludwig drums, Remo drumheads, Pro mark drumsticks, and Paiste cymbals, playing a combination of the 2002, 3000, and RUDE series.
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