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Rubén Funkahautl Guevara: Musician and Activist

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Angelino Rubén Guevara may be most known for headlining the eponymous Ruben & The Jets, inspired by and produced by the legendary Frank Zappa. However, music was always a part of the Boyle Heights native's life - starting with his father's trumpet lessons and later, composition classes at Los Angeles City College. Between his years as a performer, first with The Apollo Brothers and later with Ruben & The Jets, Guevara made a living composing for films and theater.

Finding touring and performing ultimately stressful, Guevara found inspiration in a Chicago studies class at LACC, inspiring him to sell his car and travel to Mexico. It's that trip that led him to spread his Chicano culture throughout the world - through a traveling Latino art show in France and a collaborative theater production with Japanese Americans and Muslim Americans in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of his hometown. Whether it's teaching poetry in Boyle Heights, directing music for HBO programs or recording his version of "The Star Spangled Banner" for the American Bicentennial, Guevara -- now going by the name of Funkahuatl -- has taken his music to a new height as a Los Angeles cultural ambassador and activist.


The following books, music, and links are compiled by Rubén Funkahautl Guevara

Books & Articles

Villa, Raúl Homero. 2000. Barrio Logos: Space and Place in Urban Chicano Literature and Culture, Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Kun, Josh. 2005. Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America, Berkeley, CA: UC Press.

Loza, Steven. 1993. Barrio Rhythm: Mexican American Music in Los Angeles. Urbana and Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Reyes, David and Tom Waldman. 1998. Land of a Thousand Dances: Chicano Rock 'n' Roll from Southern California. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.

Guevara, Rubén. 1985. "The View from the Sixth Street Bridge: A History of Chicano Rock." In The First Rock and Roll Confidential Report: Inside the Real World of Rock & Roll. Eds. David Marsh, et. al. New York: Pantheon Books.

_______.1985. "The Ballad of East Los Angeles." In The Hip Pocket Guide To L.A, Eds. Tim and Vanessa Page. Harper/Colophon Books.

_______.1990. "Beyond La Bamba: A History of L.A. Latin Rock." In L.A. Style Magazine.

_______.1989. "Aztlan, Babylon, Rhythm & Blues." In the L.A. Weekly, part of the series, "A Pilgrim's Progress," Ed. RubÃ?©n MartÃ?­nez.

Perez, Louis. 1997. "Weird Hair Pendejolandia." In Make the Music Go Bang!: The Early L.A. Punk Scene. Ed. Don Snowden, photography by Gary Leonard. New York: St. Martin's Griffin.

Lipsitz, George. 1990. "Cruising around the Historical Bloc." In Time Passages: Collective Memory and American Popular Culture, 133-162. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.

Albums & Compilations

Ay Califas! Raza Rock of the 70s and 80s. 1989. Zyanya/Rhino Records.
A compilation of 18 classic California Chicano rockers from Santana to the Plugz.

Best of Thee Midniters. 1983. Zyanya/Rhino Records.
A collection of one of East L.A.'s greatest bands of the 1960s.

Dangerhouse: Volume 1, Compilation 1977-1980. 1991. Frontier Records.
Tribute to L.A. punk label Dangerhouse includes track by The Bags, "Survive".

East L.A. Rockin' the Barrio: Eighteen Hits from the 60s. 2005. Varese Sarabande Records.
Seminal collection of 60s East L.A. bands, featuring music recorded between 1962 and 1969.

A History of Latino Rock: The Eastside Sound; 1956-1965. 1983. Zyanya/Rhino Records.
A compilation of early East L.A. Chicano rock.

Los Angelinos: The Eastside Renaissance. 1983. Zyanya/Rhino Records. A compilation of early 1980's East L.A. bands, including The Brat and The Odd Squad.

Mexamerica. 2001. Angelino Records.
A transnational collaboration with bands, poets, graphic artists, and writers from Mexico City, Tijuana, and East L.A.

Repo Man soundtrack. 1984. MCA Records, Inc.
Original motion picture soundtrack includes two tracks by The Plugz.

The Bags. Survive 7". 1978. Dangerhouse.
Led by Alice Bag (Alicia Armendariz), who was born and raised in East L.A., the Bags were one of the early and most popular bands on the L.A. punk scene.

The Brat. Attitudes. 1980. Fatima.
Born and raised on the eastside, this band formed in 1979 and played throughout L.A.

Cannibal & the Headhunters. 2005. Varese Sarabande Records.
12 songs from the 1965 Rampart Records album plus six additional tracks by one of the most popular and exciting vocal groups of the 1960s Eastside "Golden Age".

Los Illegals. Internal Exile. 1983. A&M 4925.
Los Illegals were one of the first East L.A. punk bands to sign with a major label.

Los Illegals. El Lay 7". 1982. A&M 2401.

The Plugz. Electrify Me. 1979. Plugz.
Though not originally from East L.A., this band was popular with local audiences.

The Plugz. Better Luck. 1981. Fatima.

Thee Undertakers. Crucify Me. 2001. Grand Theft Audio.
Studio recordings from 1980-81 of an eastside band that performed heavily from 1979 to 1982.


March to November 1980, the Vex was an oasis for Eastside punk bands. Josh Kun describes the scene in a reprint of this 2003 L.A. Times Magazine article.

Born and raised in East L.A., Alice Bags fronted The Bags, one of the first and most popular bands of the early L.A. punk scene.

Thee Undertakers from East L.A. formed in 1977. They were one of the scene's most active performers from 1979 to 1982.

The Plugz were one of the earliest and most successful of Southern California's Latino punk bands.

Singer/songwriter Mark Guerrero is the son of the legendary Lalo Guerrero. His website contains numerous articles and links related to Chicano music, including the article "Los Illegals: Pachuco Punk Rockers of the 80s."

Artist Mark Vallens's site is dedicated to socially conscious art and culture, and it includes documentation of the posters and portraits he created as a participant in the 1970s Los Angeles punk scene.

Website for "punk princesas" Go Betty Go, an all-female Latina pop-punk band from Glendale, California.

Wikipedia entry on punk rock.

L.A. based quarterly publication on public figures and social trends. Online back issues include interviews with former members of many early L.A. punk bands (Black Flag, The Germs, X, Descendants, Fear)

East Los Angeles Library site shares the history of the area through words and images.

PBS site for the series "American Family," which is set in East L.A., includes information about the area's history.

"Naa Na Na Na Naa: How the West Coast Eastside sound changed rock & roll" by Ben Quinones, L.A. Weekly (January 5, 2005)

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