Published on May 28th, 2022

How frustrating it must have been not long ago for rock fans outside of the American and U.K. mainstream to share their love for homegrown talent. Imagine living in Latin America and trying to start a band during the ’80s when English-language songs ruled the airwaves. Spanish-language “rocanrol” has been around since the first twang of fuzz got fed into an amplifier. But it’s safe to say that Rock en Español only grabbed the global spotlight once bands like Caifanes got airplay beyond their national borders.

Formed in Mexico City in 1987 by singer-guitarist Saúl Hernández, drummer Alfonso André and keyboardist Diego Herrera, Caifanes are a rock ’n’ roll band with goth, prog rock and pop touches. Credited alongside Maná, Café Tacuba, and La Maldita Vecindad y los Hijos del Quinto Patio for bringing rock of Mexico to the masses, Caifanes’ popularity extends well beyond the Latin American market.

The revolution started at home: The disruptive nature of Caifanes’ self-titled debut album — also known as “Volumen 1: Mátenme porque me muero (Volume 1: Kill Me Because I’m Dying) after the hit single opening side A — marked a before and after in Mexican music. Outside of the underground, it was the first time mainstream Mexican music consumers met a disheveled and quasi-feminized outfit of locals that looked more at home on the cover of gringo New Wave platters.

More hit records followed before internal tensions led to a breakup at the height of the band’s popularity in the ’90s. One faction formed a new band, Jaguares, that carried on the Caifanes vibe in a more alt-rock vein. But Caifanes eventually regrouped to critical acclaim and triumphant comeback sets in 2011 at the Coachella and Vive Latino festivals.

The core trio of Hernandez, André and Herrera is rounded out by lead guitarist Rodrigo Baills and bassist Marco Renteria. Fans old and new can expect the same energy and craftsmanship that cemented their reputation decades ago when they looked like crazed gothic youths.

Caifanes perform 8pm Friday June 17 at the Fillmore Miami Beach. ~ Abel Folgar