Rolling Stone said they could be this year’s most important new country band and with their latest single, “Love With a Girl” released in April, for the foursome known as The Last Bandoleros, it’s easy to see why. The high-spirited, Brit-pop inspired rock-n-rollers are causing quite a stir with their fresh take on country music, fusing rock-n-roll guitars and tight vocal harmonies, reminiscent of early Beatles classics.
We caught up with the guys to find out all things Last Bandoleros and to find out what they carry in their MONO cases…
The Last Bandoleros energy on stage is infectious, where do you get it all from?
Jerry: The fans at the show, the coffee we drink every day, women, the Jack Daniel’s – it’s an amalgamation of a lot of things… hard to pinpoint which one exactly.
Do you have any pre-gig warm up routines to get you in the mood?
Jerry: About an hour before showtime one of us usually starts playing songs with an acoustic guitar backstage and we all sing along. By this time Jack Daniel’s is also being poured.
We love your sound, can you tell us about your love for Brit-pop and how you’ve managed to fuse it with country?
Jerry: Our influences are so wide ranging, as far as Brit pop is concerned it probably stems from our love of The Beatles.
Diego: For me and my brother it started at a very young age when our dad took us to see A Hard Day’s Night when we were 10 and 11 years old. From that point on we wanted to be a Beatle. Never grew out of that actually – still want to be a Beatle today, HA! What we love and admire most about The Beatles is their vocals. No lead singer, lots of harmony.
Jerry: For me it’s the songwriting – it’s silly how many amazing hooks and songs they were able to crank out in such a short amount of time… what a catalog! I love that they reached for creative soundscapes so early in rock-n-roll as well.
Tell us about growing up in Texas and about your early inspirations.
Jerry: Growing up in Texas we were influenced by the amazing Mexican food and guys like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Texas Tornados, ZZ Top and of course, Emilio Navaira.
How has that influenced where you are today?
Diego: We like to think that listeners can hear where we grew up in our music. Back beat Texas shuffle, blues guitars, old-school country harmonies, a bit of accordion.
Jerry: Even though one can try and run away from where you came from, it’s funny how it catches up with you eventually! I had moved to NYC to pursue music outside of my Texas roots, but as the universe guided my journey, it sure as shit brought me right back to the Tex-Mex things I was running from!
Diego and Emilio are family and makeup half of the band. Tell us what it’s like to work with brothers? Is it anything like you’d imagine working with Noel and Liam would be?
Jerry: HAHAHAHAHAHA – working with brothers can be magical. It can also be a fucking pain in the ass. We are fortunate to have them as an ingredient in this band, and lucky for us, it’s magical more often than it’s a pain! I would take the Navaira bros any day over Noel and Liam… but who knows if Emilio and Diego had as much money as Noel and Liam maybe they would be the same!
What was it like touring with Sting?
Jerry: Surreal. Inspiring. We got to see the world and learn from one of our heroes. One night, after our set, Sting came into our dressing room to congratulate us on a good performance. He then said we should add a few more bars of the acapella chorus at the end of our song “River Man”. So obviously when Sting makes a suggestion about your set and songs you listen! We wound up adding it to the outro chorus and that’s how we’ve performed it ever since. It was pretty cool, and a bit nerve wrecking, to know that he was listening to our set every night…
As far as learning from such an icon… I think what we took away the most was work ethic. You realize real quick why certain people are at the top of the food chain… no magic formula… it’s hard work on top of more hard work. Sting’s work ethic was unlike anything we have ever seen.
Tell us about your MONO gear and how does it impact life on the road for you guys?
Jerry: We have guitar and bass cases along with tick bags – there is not another case that makes getting on an airplane easier.
What’s in Jerry’s Classic Electric Guitar Case?
Custom Shop Nash Telecaster – This guitar was made specifically for our manager Martin Kierszenbaum, by Bill Nash. Our manager brought it to our show with Sting during the tour in LA at the Palladium just to show us his new guitar and let me try it out at the show. I did and then I never gave it back to him! HA! I bought it from him a month later and have been playing it ever since.
What’s in the Classic Tick Case?
- Pedalboard – With a Poly Tune Tuner, Xotic Efx SP compressor, Maxon Tube Screamer, Fulltone OCD, Stagg Blaxx Delay – This is my travel board with only the essentials. When I have to fly or travel without van or bus we will use these smaller boards since they can attach with tick! On my full board I have bigger analog delays and A/B switchers etc.
- Jerry Harvey Custom In-Ear Monitors – I never leave home without these! Literally these have become as important as my guitar I rely on them so much.
- Cable and guitar polish
What’s in Derek’s Vertigo Electric Guitar Case?
Gibson Memphis ES-335 – We have found the magic combo for TLB is a 335 and a telecaster… perfect blend of single coil and humbucker!
What’s in the Classic Tick Case?
- Pedalboard – with a Poly Tune tuner, Loop Master mini A/B switcher, Electro Harmonix Soul Food, Ibanez mini Tube Screamer, Maxon analog delay). Again these are our mini boards for travel because of how many times Derek will go from acoustic to electric in a show the Loop Master pedal makes for easy back and forth.
- Sennheiser E935 vocal mic – Derek travels with his own vocal mic. We have found with the timbre of his voice your basic SM58’s don’t work nearly as well as this one for his voice.
- TLB Setlist – Derek is always the responsible one who keeps track of our set lists for shows HA!
What was your inspiration for “Love With A Girl”?
Jerry: WOMEN. Beautiful ones.
What can we expect from you guys in 2018?
Jerry: Special edition release coming out in Germany – We will be in Germany promoting and touring our first full length album “San Antonio” throughout the rest of 2018, with a tour in November.