The Cruzados, L.A.’s forceful rock band of the 1980s, make a phoenix-like return this summer with the release of She’s Automatic, the group’s first set of recordings in more than three decades.
The new release, featuring 11 songs written or co-written by Tony Marsico, the bassist and co-writer for the Cruzados and a member of the band’s punk-era precursor the Plugz, will be issued on CD August 13th on Marsico’s imprint Scamco; an LP edition will follow in the fall. The album will also be available on select digital and streaming platforms.
The album is a live, hot, no-nonsense collection of hard-hitting rockers on which Marsico is joined by the members of his ’80s L.A. contemporaries Little Caesar. The set’s glittering group of guest musicians includes a host of noted L.A. punk vets, including John Doe (X), Dave Alvin (the Blasters), David Hidalgo and Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), and Melanie Vannem (the Muffs, the Pandoras).
The Cruzados attracted national attention in the ’80s with their stormy, Latin-inflected brand of post-punk hard rock. Signed to Clive Davis’ Arista Records, the quartet issued two albums, Cruzados (1985) and After Dark (1987). They also made a high-profile screen appearance in the 1989 cult classic Road House. However, familiar rock ’n’ roll pressures capsized the band in 1991; guitarist Marshall Rohner died in 2005, and drummer Chalo “Charlie” Quintana died in 2018.
In the intervening years, Marsico worked on the debut album by Plugz and Cruzados singer-guitarist Tito Larriva’s band Tarantula, today based in Austin. He also carved out a notable career as a top session musician and touring sideman with such artists as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Roger Daltrey, Marianne Faithfull, and Willie Nelson. The bassist’s studio and road stories are collected in two books, Late Nights With Bob Dylan (2009) and I’m Just Here for the Gig! (2020).
With the onset of the pandemic in 2020 and the enforced solitude that followed, Marsico began to contemplate a new project under the Cruzados handle. It didn’t take long for Marsico to decide on the right musicians to carry on the Cruzados’ legacy in the studio: He turned to singer Ron Young and guitarists Loren Molinare and Mark Tremalgia of Little Caesar, who were also active on the L.A. scene in the late ’80s as a Geffen Records act. The core lineup was completed by drummer Ron Klonel, who has collaborated with Little Caesar in recent years.
She’s Automatic is both a forceful continuation of the Cruzados’ sound and an ardent homage to the work they began more than three decades ago.
Today Glide is excited to announce the new album and share one of its standout tracks. “Let Me Down” features guest appearances from two legends with Dave Alvin on guitar and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos manning the accordion. The result if a smoking rock and roll tune with rockabilly and punk fervor laced throughout. With Hidalgo blazing away on accordion and some blistering solo guitar action from Dave Alvin, the song finds the band firing on all cylinders as they serve up an ode to being a let-down that manages to capture what the freewheeling rock and roll spirit of Cruzados.
Tony Marsico of the Cruzados describes the inspiration and process behind the track:
“I really was shooting for a blazing barn burner feel emulating the blasters or Los lobos live so I figured why not bring my old pals in from each band to mix it up with Cruzados. My lyrics are steeped with sarcasm on this one. I was writing this song thinking about that one good friend we all have that continuously seems to always let you down. Luckily for me our special guests – Dave Alvin on guitar and David Hidalgo( on accordion) did not let me down one bit on this track!”