Before popular bandas like La Original Banda Limón, Banda Móvil or La Arrolladora Banda Limón climbed the music charts and took over the the banda music genre by storm, there was the famous Banda Machos who were coined 'La Reina de las Bandas' when they exploded onto the music scene in the early 90's.
Not only did they came up with a new sound by combining banda with cumbia tunes to create the 'technobanda,' but they also ignited the enormously popular 'quebradita' dance style.
Photo info: Julio César Guerrero leads Banda Machos at the California State Fair in Sacramento in July.
In the last 22 years, Banda Machos has recorded over 20 albums -- virtually one a year since its inception. Their music was sold in cassette tapes and compact discs long before iTunes existed and some estimate they have sold more than 6 million albums world-wide.
According to music experts, they are the only banda group whose popular music has taken them on tour to every state in the United States and México combined. They have performed at some of the world's most renowned stages including El Zócalo in México City, The Memorial Coliseum in Los Ángeles and Madison Square Garden in New York, just to name a few.
Their success, Banda Machos say, is not due to album sales or their long established trajectory, but in the opportunities they have to meet and personally thank their fans for their loyal support.
"Every time we finish a concert, it's all about our fans. It's about sharing our music and our talents with them and at the same time, thanking them for their support and for always loving our music," said lead vocalist, Julio César Guerrero, 29.
Photo info: Banda Machos 2009 CD cover.
Originally from the small town of Villa Corona, Jalisco, the13-member banda, who recently celebrated their 20th anniversary, briefly shared the stage with Ezequiel 'Cheque' Peña on the rodeo stage at the California State Fair two weeks ago.
Just like old times, concert-goers watched as banda members sported bright pink outfits adorned with heavy black fringe and opened the night with the single that sky-rocketed them to fame, 'Al Gato y al Ratón.'
"We are very happy with all of our accomplishments, but it has come at the cost of many challenges. We have been around for a very long time, so one of the things we have been doing is singing our songs to a newer, different generation," Guerrero said.
In 1992, Banda Machos released 'Casimira' and 'Sangre de Indio' -- the two albums that would place them on Billboard's top 20 Latin Albums and Regional Mexican charts for months following their success with singles such as 'La Culebra,' 'Un Indio Quiere Llorar,' and 'Leña de Pirul.'
By 1993, Billboard had declared that year as "the banda year" for the band's numerous award nominations in a variety of categories across the board including Univisión's Premio Lo Nuestro for Revelation of the Year and a Furia Musical award for Best Mexican Band.
Banda Machos also holds the record for the most Grammy nominations in history but never have won a single one, yet their contagious blend of sounds arising from the trumpets, clarinets, trombones and tuba, helped pave the way for other contemporary bandas like Banda Maguey.
During Sacramento's performance, it was apparent that the group's popularity hasn't quite fizzled out; the crowd sung along to every lyric.
"We are very humbled to be around for this long. Some bands don't make it and we have. Although many of us are not the original band members, I think we have done a pretty good job in successfully continuing to produce the same type of songs that our fans first fell in love with," Guerrero said.
In 1994, former lead vocalist Raúl Ortega left to pursue a solo career and ended up forming his own group named, Banda Arre. But with relatively little success, he came back to Banda Machos by the year 2000, and then left for good the following year.
Since 2002, Guerrero has been the lead vocalist -- a job he doesn't take lightly.
"I still get nervous when I go on stage. Being on there, with the bright lights in my face and the music playing in the background in front of so many people performing -- it's not as easy as it looks," he said. "I am pretty lucky my singing career has taken me this far with Banda Machos and it is something I certainly don't take for granted. The music industry is hard work but right now, we are focused on reaching out to our changing audience."
Last year, Banda Machos embarked on a new music project making one of their few movie debuts. On the set of Mel Gibson's latest film, 'Get the Gringo,' which was released on DVD Aug. 5, the band performs the song 'Corrido del Gringo.'
Photo info: Banda Machos performs in Fresno in 2008. Vida en el Valle.
"It was a fun project to take part in. As a banda, we are always looking for opportunities to perform and showcase our music and when we were approached with this movie. We had the opportunity to produce one of the main songs for it so we accepted and all I can say is that it was a rewarding experience for all of us," Guerrero said.
Guerrero said that even though they realize that the peak of Banda Machos may have been a thing of the past, they remain optimistic in the years ahead.
"We are a great group of men. We get along great, we resolve conflicts immediately, and we are like a second family. We all get along well and we all have a set of skills and talents to contribute to Banda Machos. I know we will elevate ourselves again -- we already are, it's just a matter of time and when," Guerrero said.