Los Lobos' Cesar Rosas

Los Lobos singer/songwriter and guitarist Cesar Rosas has had a busy year.

In addition to contributing to a new LP from his band, Rosas issued his

first solo album, Soul Disguise, in February.

Rosas was born 45 years ago today in Hermosillo, Mexico, and grew up in

East Los Angeles. He formed Los Lobos in East L.A. in 1974 with high-school

friends bassist/guitarronist Conrad Lozano, singer/multi-instrumentalist

David Hidalgo and drummer Louie Perez.

Los Lobos, who gradually began to combine elements of pop, rock, soul,

blues and traditional Mexican music, started out playing acoustic shows

at weddings and restaurants in East L.A.'s Chicano community.

In 1978 Los Lobos issued an EP of traditional Mexican music, Los

Lobos del Este de Los Angeles. Rosas and Hidalgo then began to write

most of the band's material, attempting to tie all their influences

together in an original style.

Los Lobos became regulars on Los Angeles' music scene, playing with local

bands such as the Blasters, from whom Los Lobos acquired saxophone player

Steve Berlin in 1984. The preceding year, the band issued the EP

... And a Time to Dance, which contained the Grammy

Award-winning track "Anselma."

Los Lobos' 1984 LP, How Will the Wolf Survive?, brought the band

a great deal of media exposure and made many critics' year-end top-10

lists. "Will the Wolf Survive?," from the T Bone Burnett/Steve Berlin-produced

album, received substantial radio and MTV airplay.

In 1987 Los Lobos issued By the Light of the Moon and enjoyed a

#1 hit song with their cover of "La Bamba" by the late Mexican-American

rocker Ritchie Valens, which appeared in the Los Lobos-heavy soundtrack

to the Valens biopic of the same title.

La Pistola y El Corazon (1988) consisted of mostly traditional

Mexican songs. The Neighborhood (1990) featured John Hiatt and

the Band's Levon Helm; it included tracks such as "Down on the Riverbed"

and "Little John of God."

Two years later came Kiko, an avant-garde Latin-pop album that

was named the year's best by such leading newspapers as the Los

Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. The LP was followed by

a 1993 retrospective, Just Another Band from East L.A. ... A

Collection, and a 1995 children's album, Papa's Dream.

Los Lobos toured heavily behind 1996's Colossal Head and played

the first Furthur Festival with members of the Grateful Dead. In addition,

the band won another Grammy for scoring the film "Desperado" and

contributed to soundtracks for movies such as "Mi Vida Loca" and "Mi

Familia."

Los Lobos teamed with Money Mark for "Pepe & Irene" on the 1997

AIDS-relief benefit CD Silencio = Muerte — Red Hot + Latin,

and recorded tracks on tribute albums to Buddy Holly and Doc Pomus.

Before beginning his solo career, Rosas collaborated with such artists

as Paul Simon, John Lee Hooker, Charles Musselwhite, the Fabulous

Thunderbirds and the Mambo Kings.

In June Los Lobos released This Time, including "Oh Yeah"

(RealAudio

excerpt) and "Viking."

Rosas' Soul Disguise appeared four months earlier and featured

tracks such as "Little Heaven," "Angelito," "Shack and Shambles" and

"Adios Mi Vida." Among the guests on the album is Latin accordion master

Flaco Jimenez.

Los Lobos' toured behind This Time and performed at Woodstock '99.

"We all came from the same high school," Perez said. "We were friends

before we were ever a band. I think that's one of the reasons we've been

around as long as we have."

Other birthdays: George Chambers (Chambers Brothers), 68; Bryan Ferry,

54; Lynn Anderson, 52; Olivia Newton-John, 51; Stuart Tosh (10cc), 48;

Craig Chaquico (Jefferson Starship), 45; Carlene Carter, 44; Tracey

Thorn (Everything but the Girl), 37; Cindy Herron (En Vogue), 34; Shawn

"Slim" Stockman (Boyz II Men), 26; Joe Bauer (Youngbloods), 1941-1982;

and Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon), 1967-1995.