Singer-songwriter Saul Hernandez continues his solo career although he might, here and there, embark on projects with Caifanes and Jaguares.
There’s no denying that singer-songwriter Saul Hernandez is a rock legend.
The Mexico-born product, who is now 49 years of age, has been active since the early 1980s and found himself performing stings with Caifanes and Jaguares, as well as embarking on a solo career.
In an interview for Living Out Loud, Hernandez spoke about several topics, including his current solo tour, Caifanes, Jaguares, and career, among other things.
Living Out Loud: Tell us Saul, are you currently on tour or promoting any material?
Saul Hernandez: Both. We’re promoting our ‘Memoria de los Sentidos’ tour; it features all of my songs. We just played in Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla and Mexicali. We’ll be continuing this tour throughout the Mexican republic and then we’ll be returning to the US in November.
LOL: Are you going solo or will you be accompanied by any members from Jaguares or Caifanes?
SH: I’m going solo. This tour is about all my work as a composer. We’re just a quartet: two guitarists (Fernando Ron and myself – I also do vocals), Marco Renteria on bass, and Gustavo Nandayapa on drums/percussion. I’m not promoting the new album because it came out two years ago, but all this has been evolving and has taken a whole new dimension and now that I have a team and time, I’m dedicating myself to the project alone. It’s been incredible, because now it’s all about all my work as a composer. I take all the songs I composed for Caifanes and Jaguares to these concerts, as well as my songs from my solo album, Remando. So the concert was huge. In Guadalajara, we played more than 3 and a half hours. This project has been growing tremendously and it gives me great pleasure that the project is moving forward and has taken to very strong dimensions and the fans have responded impressively.
LOL: Are you planning a new solo album, and if so, will there be any guest stars?
SH: I’m already putting it together. I just have to schedule studio time and start recording. They are my own songs, and I’m looking into scheduling a couple of friends to help produce it. It will be the continuation of my work as a soloist and as of now, there aren’t any duets. I’m not counting on the participation of any colleague. I’m on my own in this craziness.
LOL: Were you scared when you fully launched your solo career, after coming off of two successful bands in Caifanes and Jaguares?
SH: I was very hopeful about this endeavor, not fearful. This was something that I have wanted to do for many years. I was always with either Caifanees or Jaguares the whole time, and I never pursued a solo project. All my peers would pursue their own personal projects, record with other artists and do their own thing. That’s when I reached out to the Vampiro, and told him I wanted to record an album before I turned 45, something different and it took 4-5 years before anything materialized. I was very motivated to pursue a solo endeavor. It was as if life gave me a curiosity to find new paths to follow and new forms of expression, that was basically it.
LOL: This new facet of your career as a soloist, and now as a father, has all this changed anything about how you write your songs?
SH: Actually, yes. There’s a new motivation to do something different. It’s all about going back to the source and searching for a new path and to share all this with the fans, all the new material I’ve worked on.
LOL: Is there life left to Caifanes, or is that band along with Jaguares left behind forever?
SH: We continue performing with Caifanes. Alejandro Marcovich and Gustavo Romo have been with me ever since the first Remando concert. They really have supported me. I would like to publicly acknowledge that they have always been there for me, supporting me. They like the project. As a matter of fact, as a gesture of grateful friendship, I invited them to come up on stage with me at the Degollado Theater in Guadalajara. We had a jam session and it was very impressive. With this, we all move forward and mutually nourish each other’s projects.
LOL: When you and Alejandro had your fight, in the middle of great success for Caifanes, did you ever think about all your fans who loved and supported the band, or did your pride win out?
SH: In this industry and in all other careers, whatever you do, the most important thing is to stay true to yourself. Honesty lies in taking the right steps. These are not always the most pleasant, but sometimes they are the most wonderful, but you must always take the steps necessary to find an equilibrium in your life. It doesn’t matter what you do because it will all have repercussions. That’s what happened with Caifanes. By that time, everyone had their own ideas and were looking for different paths. But now here we are, all playing again.
LOL: Is your conflict with Alejandro over, and what have you learned from this experience?
SH: As Nietzsche said, what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger and that experience made me very sad, especially because of how things came to be. I learned that you can obtain strength from that to succeed and continue living my life. Thankfully, he and I have spoken a lot and we’ve been playing and sharing stages, and he’s also playing with me in a personal project, so there it is. Gustavo is also working with me and we have upcoming concerts with Caifanes this year and we’ll see what other projects come with the upcoming year. And that’s a decision for all 5 of us, not just me.
LOL: What do you think about being perceived as one of the greatest icons in the history of Mexican rock?
SH: I don’t know what to say about that. I know that I have a lot of work to do still. I have to continue to compose and not think that my moment is already up. I think that’s solely up to you, the fans, to know for sure. But I really think that I still have much more to do.
LOL: What’s your stance on how rock and roll life is nowadays, and the way in which music is commercialized?
SH: In a way, it’s the same as it was 30 years ago. There aren’t many places to play; we have to infiltrate bars, even though there are more festivals to play at now. I’m talking about the bands who don’t even have the opportunity to play anywhere, not even at a club or garage. And it’s from these garages where these new philosophies are emerging from. They have to show to the world that they make their own path. Then there’s the group that has to confront all these new ways of commercializing and distributing their music. The internet is great because it makes it easier for your music to reach an enormous amount of people; these alternative outlets help tremendously. I feel you have to keep fighting and not give up; that’s the only way to become a great band.
LOL: We’ve seen you pair up with bands from very different genres than rock. Is it necessary to do drastic collaborations and fusions in order to stay on point?
SH: From diversity comes evolution, and the courteous does not belittle the valiant. Just because I wasn’t able to do projects with La Sonora Santanera or Los Angeles Azules, or other groups, doesn’t mean that I stop being who I am. On the contrary, this fuels me. I am very thankful to have worked with them, and very fortunate to share their music. You have no idea how much I’ve learned from them and if there’s any way I can return the favor, I will do it. I would share my heart and all that I know. That’s what it’s all about; it’s about the growth of music and that bands can become great. We’re not primates to be fighting amongst each other.
LOL: We know that you support social causes, amongst them, the immigrant community in the United States. What words of encouragement would you like to give these people?
SH: I think it’s a very strong community that’s given lots to the U.S. The laws of that country can’t condemn a person who contributes to the welfare of the country as a criminal. So these anti-immigrant measures that have takes place are synonymous to crime. They have treated people like animals and that’s not fair. People have rights and must fight for them. It’s important to fight, because they have even separated families. It makes for a disastrous situation. They’re fighting for what’s right, and I admire and respect them and they should know we’ll be there in the media, to help fight for laws that are more fair and clear.
Staff Writer Edison Millan contributed to this story.