“Multinational companies realized that they could do business with our aesthetic”

"Multinational companies realized that they could do business with our aesthetic"

“Actually, for this talk, we’ve rounded up the concept of the urban tribe a bit, we haven’t heard much lately.” Iñaki Domínguez makes a snap comment at the conversation that took place at the iconic Malasaña Picnic on October 18 at the fourth edition of Kronen Week (a testament to the ’90s counterculture). the author pimps between worlds He joined along with writer Paco Gómez Escribano and leader of the Los Franceses street gang, Juanma “El Terrible” (“second rocker in Spain after Alberto García-Alix,” he says). All directed by José Ángel Mañas.


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The theme was, of course, urban tribes and some of the best stories they left behind in Madrid in the eighties and nineties. A few years of anecdotal succession in the Malasañero setting. Mañas started by contextualizing the phenomenon: After World War II, in a time of expanding consumerism, many young people began to have some money to buy records. Thus, identities were first shaped by musical tastes, and then shaped by clothing, accessories, hobbies or ideological tendencies. The author described a phenomenon also linked to the growth of cities and “highly urban”. stories from Kronen.

In this street culture night’s three guests, Mañas jokes, “We’ll be generals if we wear gallons.” Each from their own perspective: Iñaki was a graffiti artist, the heaviest of Paco Canillejas, and rock ‘n’ roll has been in Juanma’s veins since a colleague told him that being a “tough guy” suited him and that he “should stop going to California” there is. “.

After the mandatory presentations (although everyone knew each other on Malasañera night), Mañas started talking about the heavyweights. He mentioned that at the Pregonen, which opened the week of events the day before, they asked the participants with which urban tribe they identified themselves: Although little was written about them, there were the most impressions”.

It was Escribano, of course, who spoke. He begins by talking about a childhood, late Francoism, where the musical references he grew up with were Camilo Sesto or José Luis Perales. “When Formula V comes, I think it’s the cane.” until you hear Highway to Hell From AC/DC: “I’m taking a jamacuco inside. I start growing my hair out, I buy black and white striped pants, and my family is freaking out. I start digging backwards and when I find Led Zeppelin I tell myself this is my thing.



His youth also coincides with bands like Leño or Burning in a period of tremendous exuberance:Madrid was a party. We come from a generation that fought Francoism for freedom and we just wanted to have a good time. Sex, Drugs And Rock’N’Roll. Not exactly in that order.”

geography of identities

the author 5 jacks expanding the legendary venues of the time: from Argentina in San Blas to Malandro or Nueva Vision in Malasaña, when he and his friends became “heavy-rockeros.” “The Milky Way seemed a little luxurious to us and the Pentagram too melancholy,” he says of two of the most legendary places in the region. “When Malasaña closed, we used to go to Ya’sta at 05:00, not at 03:00 as now. “He was curious because there was no one left on the street, but it was crazy if you walked in,” he said. Mañas comments on this exodus from the neighborhood to party: “In reality, we Madrilen people live in the suburbs, the Center does not belong to anyone”.

The geographical issue is not unimportant. There is even talk of a kind of urban boundary located on Fuencarral street. On one side is Pachá (now Teatro Barceló), the “pijerío temple”. On the other hand, symbolic casinos of the most destructive urban identities. In one of them, El Sol, in the nineties it was common to find men with sideburns, wigs and leather jackets. One of them was Juanma “El the Terrible”. And not just anyone: “I was the boss of El Sol.”

The night tours started at La Ría, near Glorieta de Bilbao: “Back then they served octopus with vinaigrette as an appetizer, today it’s a real delicacy, so we ate there while we lubricated our stomachs with minis”. From there to El Penta, then to La Via Láctea, to Nueva Visión, to El Penta for “la penultimate” and then to El Sol. then it came.



The leader of Los Franceses does not want to forget vital names in the setting of the period that often did not come to the fore. He quotes Antonio Gastón, the first owner of El Sol. With his brothers and nephews, he bought the Tranquilino restaurant, one of the capital’s most upscale restaurants, and turned it into a reference space in Madrid’s counterculture. Also, from a less counter-cultural culture, world-renowned personalities take advantage of their visits to the city to partner with, Juanma tells us.

Legends bearing the traces of truth

About the great milestones and myths of the time, this rocker icon says, “There are many stories that people have distorted and manipulated a lie or a reality.” For example, he refers to one of the famous fights between rockers and mods, one of the many messes around the rock-Ola room: “We were accused of starting this and it was the other way around. They messed with fifteen-year-old rockers who they said were lifting their daughters’ skirts. The mods threw us everything from glasses and bottles to their own jackets. So we took off our belts and went to accuse them. They fled because they did not think that a few madmen would stand up to eighty or a hundred.”

But this legendary move from Movida has even more movie components. “My girlfriend at the time was in the enemy ranks: she was a mod,” Juanma recalls to the audience’s laughter. “His brothers and friends asked him how he could go out with me, but it was a good story. It’s a love type Romeo and Juliet,” she adds. Even though there’s a lot of street violence in between, it comes to mind more. West Side Story.

ideological and modern

These adventures and misfortunes are no stranger to Iñaki Domínguez, historian of Madrid’s badass history. However, on a personal level, his surroundings were more concerned with the graffiti scene, rap and friction with the skinhead movement. A trend that came to Madrid in the eighties, although it had its biggest boom and “ideologization” in the next decade.

Graffiti artists and rappers had a very close relationship, and the latter was strictly anti-racist. Thus, the tensions with skinheads (to be soft) were served. Domínguez passed through Plaza de los Cubos and Calle Princesa. They were also the Mecca of the New World and the domain of the bakalas to which Óscar Mulero was a prophet. In fact, some of the graffiti artists he passed through were “modern and already integrated into the scene. compliments Beginning in Madrid in 1995, it has become trendy, electronic music for the cool people”.

Domínguez remembers how in 1999 the Plaza de Fuencarral was the scene of “the most important moderneo market in Madrid” without much activity until then. He also recalls Chill Out, a local Malasañero near El Penta dedicated to alternative music. It was a time when you could “drink knuckles in the joints”. Nor does he forget the phenomenon he calls “bad rappers”, normally racist groups, who come from urticaria from Quintana or the Concepción neighborhood: “When they came to Malasaña, they wanted to show that they were goddamn masters.” moved along a similar line Color Strength “The first person in the rap world to fight against the Nazis in Madrid” from Fuenlabrada.

ways to dress

Urban tribes cannot be understood without clothing, accessories and a range of accessories that give them their most basic aesthetic. Clothing is a language that communicates identity, ideology or socioeconomic position. “Our aesthetic was that of the neighborhood cradle,” Escribano says. A uniform consisting of tight pants, a blue feather and the legendary Juma as shoes. And of course long hair.

For Juanma, El Rastro’s second-hand shops were very important: “You can find three-quarter jackets from the Army, Benemérita or Municipal Police. Then the shoemaker in your neighborhood would cut it for you and sew it for you.” The wealthiest went to Calle Toledo, where there were only three or four shops in Madrid with the clothes they liked. And finally, there were the smartest ones, “we of us who know where the clothes that go into Valencia for disposal or recycling are sold.” According to Juanma, some of the goods came from other parts of Europe or the United States “supposedly for the poor, but because none of them ended up in El Rastro.” “If you knew someone, you could have access to good clothes for almost nothing,” she assumes.

When it moved to other interests like pasta, pop, and more, everything fell apart.

Paco Gomez Notary
Writer, teacher and heavyweight

However, the relationship with clothing changed radically when “multinational companies realized they could do business with our aesthetic”. Even though what they represent is distorted and commodified, clothing and accessories become accessible to most people. Iñaki Domínguez highlights the “cultural value” possessed by some of the first stores to focus on the city, such as something he bought graffiti sprays, something he believes has been lost over time and the usurpation of these products by major trademarks.

‘genocide’ of tribes

According to Mañas, the current panorama of all these groups is “not so clear”, although they have not been completely eliminated. Escribano remembers that he dealt the first blow to the identity of the city, mostly when they came across neighborhood gangs: “When heroin came, these gangs ended. They were based on friendship. If a note could steal her grandmother’s jewelry to get a fix, what loyalty would she have to her colleague? Later, when there were urban tribes that somehow occupied a similar community space, the poison was money: “Producers, concerts, movies, etc. They saw that there was money in all this. The most influential rock never remembered certain people if journalists were involved.

Everyone agrees to justify Burning, a band that was “mistreatment during Movida,” because of their vague lyrics. “I was more interested in a song that said that. oh leave me i don’t love you anymore about what else let’s rob a bank”, says Escribano. And he concludes: “When pasta moved into other interests like pop and others, everything fell apart.”

Domínguez appeals to the origins of urban tribes to explain their end: “Unlike what happens in towns, they arise because not everyone in the cities knows each other. Many people seek an identity in order to succumb to the vital agony of not knowing who they are in a crowded world. He believes these shared identities can now be configured elsewhere, such as in social networks. We can now find people with whom we can share tastes, thoughts, and ultimately a way of seeing the world, even if we don’t share a physical space as these “street generals” dominate.

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