They touch The Barreiro in a bowling alley in Colegiales. One hundred people. At one point Pachi, the singer, a guy that if he were a redhead we might as well confuse with Pipo Cipolatti, announces: “We have a surprise: just arrived from Spain, with all of us, El Gonzo !!”
Fiummmm, the name travels us towards a perpetual dawn, to Los Twists de Bliss in motion, to the sound of a certain instrument. We remember when everything – everything, everything – was “sAxo, drugs and rock & roll”.
In the bowling alley there are people from this tribe who name their jopos and sideburns. We think of the Gonzo with the look of Travolta in Grease the compadrito.
The Gonzo was everywhere at the same time. During the consecrating ’80s his name was on a convertible coupe. He put throat to the entire rainbow of national rock. A true monopoly. Note: Los Twists, Fricción, Memphis La Blusera, collaborations with Virus, Fontova Trio, Soda Stereo, Sumo, Widow and Daughters of Roque Enroll, Patricio Rey and his Redonditos de Ricota. And so on.
Goodbye eighty-year-old jopo. Hi look hippo. The Gonzo, Gonzalo Palacios. Photo: Maxi Failla
Of course, it seems another. Goes on stage hippon – at 58. Just arrived from Spain and performing in a bar where they pass the cap. Impossible to recognize it. We wait our turn to ask for an autograph.
Hello my friends, I’m El Gonzo from Los Twist
-How would you introduce yourself to those who don’t know you?
-Well, that’s your job.
It’s true. Data sheet. Name of birth: Gonzalo Palacios. Other names: The Gonzo. Born: January 4, 1963, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Occupation: Saxophonist. Years active: 1980-present. Genre: Rock, Blues, Rythm & Blues, Pop, New Wave.
Due to his intense activity and his participation in an important number of fundamental albums, he is considered as one of the driving forces behind the renewal of Argentine rock during the ’80s.
Gonzalo Palacios “El Gonzo”, fundamental figure of Argentine rock and pop of the ’80s. Photo: Maxi Failla
-You played with everyone, then you went to live in Spain and it’s like the sax disappeared from the genre …
-I left for the first time in the year ’91. I thank you for the compliment, but to associate my departure with the extinction of the rock saxophone is to give myself an importance that I do not have. On the other hand, Emilio Villanueva, Willy Crook, Sergio Dawi and others were very active during the ’90s. The sax does not disappear from blues, funk or rock and roll, but in pop it was a fashion, as all fashion passed and at some point it will return as nostalgia or revival.
-The widow of Kurt Cobain said: “Honestly the sax has nothing to do in rock.”
-We all talk nonsense at times, but ignorance mixed with pride is a dangerous cocktail which leads us to talk about more, always. I’m afraid I’m saying this from my own experience. Even accepting the view that rock and roll was invented in the mid-1950s, the evidence tells us that the sax predates the electric guitar as a fundamental instrument of the genre.
Most of the elements of rock and roll are already present in the rhythm and blues of the previous decade, where the sax is king. And during the early years of what was officially called Rock and Roll, at least the sax is on par with the electric guitar in most formations. Anyway…
Gonzalo Palacios “El Gonzo” says that he chose the sax because it sounded strong. Photo: Maxi Failla
-Why did you choose that instrument?
-Paradically, during my adolescence I mostly listened to guitarists and guitar rock. My instrument was the flute, very difficult to play and especially very difficult to amplify. The day I came across a sax it was easy, natural and above all it sounded really strong.
And not least, I found that it allows certain technical gestures with which to imitate an electric guitar … that later one finds out that he is imitating a sax (hello? Courtney? Are you there?), So keep up to date next I ran to get a saxophone in installments and here we are …
-Willy Crook (RIP) said that he learned to play the sax out of interest. Pettinato’s sax in Sumo never ended. Actually, dear Gonzo, nobody has the slightest idea how to define the style of a saxophonist. Will you help us?
-I can’t disagree more: you have as many elements or more than you need to talk about the style of any other instrumentalist. It is a matter of acquiring the necessary culture, knowing about musical styles, being able to give the appropriate references -which is usually the easiest way-, knowing a little about music and being able to describe with certain poetics.
From the beginning
-You were part of Los Twist “founding line” …
From when Los Twists sold 200 thousand copies, with Gonzo Palacios on sax.
-I suppose you can say that, yes. What I remember is that beyond the jokes, the mystifications about the founding dates and the witty responses, what finally crystallized as Los Twist was a breakdown of the Ring Club, a concept and a series of early songs that had Daniel melingo and that it evolved over months, maybe a year. I accompanied and made my mark from the beginning.
I think that the fact of having been the only musician who stayed and put on his shirt throughout that period, even before we met Pipo, made the sax play the leading role when the definitive “front” was formed. had on the sound of Los Twists.
-Is the first album of Los Twist, “La Felicidad en Movimiento”, one of the best-selling albums of national rock?
-I think I will never know the true sales figures of The joy… There were many rumors at the time that more copies were being sold than declared. It is assumed that at least 200,000 were sold, an impressive number at the time, especially for the debut album By Some Strangers. And enough so that all the record companies went looking for the “next Twists”.
-The Beatles made little use of the saxophone …
-Little but they appealed: Lady madonna and You know my name they include solos, and then the sax appears in five or six more tracks, as part of a horn section.
-Do you have any theory about it?
-Yes, I have: The Beatles listened to music from the United States but they were English, and from the north, that is, they continued a line that went through Lonnie Donegan and The Shadows, all guitars. They were addressing a generation of young people who identified the sound of the saxophone and brass in general, with the music that their parents listened to. Add in that George Harrison made memorable guitar solos.
-If you had to choose a musician friend?
-I would commit an injustice, sure. I have many very good friends, I have none left over.
El Gonzo “Palacios says he responds to the stereotype of the musician: lazy and badly entertained. Photo: Maxi Failla
-Did you ever think about stopping playing?
-No never. In any case I have plans B for when it becomes difficult for me to hang up a saxophone, but to stop playing, inconceivable.
-Did you work from something else to live?
– Not to live. The summer before Los Twist’s first album I attended the 3 and 105 kiosk in Villa Gesell. And as a teenager I once cleaned windows. I still have great style and doll with the blow dryer. That said, I perfectly fit the stereotype of the musician: lazy and poorly entertained.
A world of illusions
– Did the world of music disappoint you?
El Gonzo, his saxophone, Pipo Cipolatti, Daniel Melingo and company.
-I always knew and assumed that it is a world of illusions. What you see above a stage, in a video, even in this report, is an illusion and it is good that it should be so, it is a convention that we all accept and it is what we are going to look for in a theater or a concert hall.
In any case, some people may have disappointed me, as I may have disappointed others. Then, or rather and first of all, is Music with capital letters, which is bigger than what you call “the world” but what I would call “the environment”. And La Música, far from disappointing me, gave me much more than I ever imagined I was going to play, perhaps even too soon.
-You returned to Argentina. What brings you here?
-The last time I was in Argentina was just before the pandemic. At the end of 2019 I put my group back together, “El Gonzo”, we did some concerts and recorded them with the idea of making a live album and returning to the stage the following year. But the following year was the year that is not named and I have been stranded in Menorca ever since.
In any case, the band maintained cohesion and creative activity at a distance, in formats that until then we had not considered. Now that the restrictions are less I returned to return to the face-to-face path.
It was fortunate to have had the possibility to work remotely, but we like to rehearse, compose and record being all in the same room.
On the other hand we signed a record contract with Acqua Records and you have to be there for the promotion of the topics that are being published. Actually our first single Pick Up the Pieces It is available on all digital platforms since the day before yesterday. We are especially happy to have enlisted Mario Breuer for the mixing and mastering.
The plan is to release three or four more singles and then release the full album on vinyl. So if nothing goes wrong, next fall we’ll be releasing a nice selection of tracks ranging from blues to funk to rythm and blues, soul and a few more.
And with a luxurious training. Let me name her: Alejandro Ridilenir on guitar, Daniel Castro on bass, Fernando del Castillo on drums, Fabián Prado on organ, Gustavo Ridilenir on flute and sax and Santi Castellani on trombone.
-What did you do in Spain all these years?
-Give music services, basically. Entertaining the late-night youth and from time to time touring with musicians like Javier Vargas, to emerge the vice of blues. I can assure you that as a good migrant I did absolutely everything and increased my already abundant collection of absurd situations, an essential part of the musician’s life.
But the truth is that when I think of acting doing my thing, the audience I envision is the American in general, especially the Argentine, and also the English. Perhaps due to ignorance or idiosyncrasy I do not finish connecting with the Spanish public, as if I did not know where to aim the shot. I take refuge in studio work and production.
-Could the trap use sax?
-I don’t see limits in the trap.
– The best group that you integrated?
-I’m not very fond of rankings but I answer the same: In the past Los Twist, in the present El Gonzo.
“El Gonzo” Palacios has just released a single with his band and is waiting to release a vinyl record. Photo: Maxi Failla
-Now that it’s gone out of style, who was the best pop saxophonist?
-I repeat, I am not a friend of the rankings.
-Why can you do without your instrument?
– I ask you: what are the essential instruments …?
Reference from clarin