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Still hungry like Los Lobos.

Byline: Lewis Taylor The Register-Guard

CONCERT PREVIEW Los Lobos With: The Minus 5 When: 7 p.m. Thursday Where: Cuthbert Amphitheater, 555 Day Island Road Tickets: $22 through TicketsWest and Hult Center outlets

Los Lobos del Este de Los Angeles is no longer the name of the band, but you can still hear the strains of traditional Mexican folk infused with the spirit of east Los Angeles in the music of Los Lobos.

Now in its third decade, Los Lobos continues to refine its melting pot of influences without losing the core flavor that first made the group a hit at Mexican restaurants and Los Angeles punk bars alike. The Wolves of East Los Angeles, as they were once called, bring their Tex-Mex and roots-rock mezcla to the Cuthbert Amphitheater on Thursday.

Still known to many as the guys who reprised "La Bamba" for the movie of the same name, Los Lobos is many things to many fans.

Formed in 1973 by high school friends Louis Perez, David Hidalgo, Conrad Lozano and Cesar Rosas (saxophonist Steve Berlin didn't join until 1983), the group played mostly acoustic shows at small venues before discovering its more rockin' side.

While opening a punk show at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles in 1980, the band was pummeled with trash by the audience. But something about the experience appealed to the band's gritty sensibilities.

"It was scary, it was weird, but it also got us all pumped up," Hidalgo recalls in a band bio. "Even though it wasn't a positive reaction from the audience, we got a response, not like playing in restaurant where people just sit around and get drunk. ...

`At least something happened."

If the 1970s taught Los Lobos how to rock, the group sharpened its pop hooks during the 1980s. The EP "A Time to Dance" introduced the world outside of California to the Los Lobos sound, and earned them the first of three Grammys.

By 1984, the secret was really out. The group released the major label debut "Will the Wolf Survive?" an album that earned heaps of critical praise.

In 1987, Los Lobos went global when it supplied the soundtrack to the Ritchie Valens biopic "La Bamba." The title song reached No. 1 on the Billboard singles charts, eclipsing the original tune, which never climbed above No. 22.

After shunning their mainstream success with an album of traditional folk music, the band released its masterpiece, 1992's "Kiko." Group members then took a break to concentrate on solo projects and regrouped in the late 1990s to release "This Time." The album featured the image of a clock with no hands, a reference to the band's description of itself (`nobody knows what time it is, and we drive everyone crazy.')

Since then, Los Lobos has put out the full-length "Good Morning Aztlan" and the star-studded 30th anniversary collaboration, "The Ride." Other CDs include "Live at the Fillmore" and this year's greatest hits compilation, "Wolf Tracks."

Opening for Los Lobos will be Seattle pop sensation the Minus 5. Familiar to Eugene audiences for its frequent visits to Sam Bond's Garage, this Young Fresh Fellows spinoff is ably led by Scott McCaughey.
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Title Annotation:Entertainment
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Aug 4, 2006
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