Brujeria Revisited: Surviving Mexico

When the idea was pitched for a Decibel exclusive oral history of Brujeria (November 2012, Issue #97), it seemed straight forward enough:  Get the maniacs behind one of the world’s worst-kept-secret bands to dish out a chronological breakdown of the life and times of White Cali’s most feared sonic terrorists.  The reality of weaving such a rich history together turned out to be far more tangled.  Wild stories about brief but important moments unfolded into incredibly detailed epics, while whole swaths of apparently seminal periods (recording Brujerizmo, the band’s now lengthy touring life) were swallowed by confusion and vague descriptions.
The history presented in the magazine is our most coherent representation of the band’s timeline but, as suggested, some of the more colorful tales have yet to be told.  Here is one such glimpse into Brujeria fever, as told by former core member Dino Cazares.

Dino: We played shows not in [Mexico City] but the outskirts, and they were some of the craziest, fucking scariest shows I’ve ever played.  Whatever opening band was on stage, they never got past half a song because the crowd just destroyed them by throwing bottles and beer cans and rocks at the opening band.  They didn’t wanna hear nobody else.  They didn’t give a fuck who it was.  I even told Brujo that we could play a huge, beautiful theater in Mexico but he always chose the most fucked up places to play.  On purpose.  I don’t know why, he just really wanted to keep it fucked up.

It kind of fucked us up because a lot of these places didn’t have dressing rooms, so we would show up and we’d have to walk through the front door with like ten thousand kids… we’d have to walk through the crowd to get to the stage.  There’s no back stage, no back door, nothing.  There’s not even a fire door; if the place catches on fire, you’re dead!  These are the kinds of places we were playing in.  I’m like, oh my god, here I am, I’m in Fear Factory and we’re playing nice places compared to this.

I remember that they had to basically part the Red Sea in order for us to get to the stage.  And they had – I don’t know, maybe 100 security guards – they’ve got these barricade-type things that were parting the [crowd], while we were in the middle trying to get to the stage, the whole crowd pushed and squeezed us.  And I was lifted up in the air, and I’m like fucking 275 lbs.  That was how much we were being squeezed.  I was freaking out, panicking like, “Fuck, we’re gonna die, they’re gonna crush us!”  Somehow somebody pulled me through and we made it.

They had to lift everybody up over the front barricade, and I remember Brujo got lifted up and he landed on the floor and he fucking hit one of the bars on the barricade and his fucking leg swelled up really huge so the show had to get delayed 45 minutes because they had to call the paramedics to come and look at his leg.  So the paramedics finally get there, they look at his leg, they said, “Okay, you’re fine, nothing is broken.”

[Meanwhile] those kids are going crazy.  Our crew can’t even stand on stage, because bottles and everything’s just flying [whooshing sounds].  [I’m thinking,] “Oh my god, we’re gonna fucking die.  I’m not gonna go out there.”  Most artists I know would be like, “Fuck no, we’re canceling the show.  We’re outta here.  There’s gonna be a riot.”  But Brujo’s like, “No they’re gonna calm down once we get out there.”  So we get out there:  [breathes audience applause sound].  We started playing and it was fucking insane.  No more bottles, no more anything.  I mean, I’m up on stage stepping on broken glass… and we’re not talking about little pieces, we’re talking about half-bottles broken with half of it sticking up at you.  Rocks, you name it was on stage, and here I am half the show trying to kick it off so I don’t step on things.

It was an experience that I couldn’t imagine.  And let’s say we played 20 songs, [and we said] “Goodnight!”  [The audience came back with] “Fuck you, assholes!”  They wouldn’t let [us] leave.  We came back and we actually played a few more song… we repeated songs, ‘cause they wouldn’t let [us] leave.  It was definitely an amazing experience.  I’m glad I was able to live to talk about it.