AMONG ROCK-N-ROLL FANS you can always pick a cheap fight over the essentially stupid question of the Greatest Band Still Going. Still going is key: nobody dead or retired, and nobody who plays oldies-only shows in big hockey arenas. Essentially stupid is important too, since it denotes the inapplicability of any universal criterion and, hence, the impossibility of being right or wrong. That's part of the attraction of aimless opinionizing. What's better than an argument with no verdict?
The greatest band still going (GBSG) in North America is Los Lobos. [Here's a picture of them, with guest Carlos Santana, playing at the recent Mariachi Festival in San Jose.] I love Los Lobos because they are an American guitar band that really rocks, that knows how to blast ahead in that locomotive energy of rockabilly and early r&b ("I Got Loaded"). I also love Los Lobos because they are a great traditional Mexican band ("La Guacamaya"), a great East LA band ("La Pistola y El Corazón"), and a super covers band ("What's Goin' On," "Shoot Out The Lights"). If your favorite America is a mixed-up, draw-on-all-traditions ongoing audition, and if you haven't played Los Lobos since Colossal Head, I recommend some Continuing Ed listening.
Free MP3s on request.