By Rebecca Bulnes
By Laurie Charles
By Chuck Strouse
By Lee Zimmerman
By Laurie Charles
By Falyn Freyman
By Hans Morgenstern
The high school friends are back together now, talking about the semi-retired life and personal projects they've experienced in the meantime. Gonzalez, now 38 years old, went solo with an impersonal style of techno that by the end of the Nineties became a mix of traditional Colombian cumbia and dance music. Narea, age 37, played only rock and roll on the two albums of his band Profetas y Freneticos. Tapia, age 38, also released two albums, techno-oriented, with the outfit Jardin Secreto. None of them even came close to the success of Los Prisioneros.
"To be in the United States, twelve years later, is odd, to say the least," says Gonzalez with the silent consent of his pals. "It was weird. We went back to ground zero. No TV. No albums. Nothing."
Gonzalez and Narea weren't even talking to each other. But the guitarist claims that even when they didn't talk, Gonzalez was always his friend. "I don't remember what beef I got into with the press, but I do remember that the first person I called to ask for his opinion was Jorge," says Narea. "We have known each other since we were fourteen, so to get back to your roots is a natural thing. This is also a good opportunity to be together again, enjoy ourselves, and say goodbye in style."
The plan was to do a big show in Santiago's national stadium last December. Without billboards or any major promotion the band sold out 70,000 seats one month before the show, and immediately added a second date. The double live album and DVD of the concert released all over the Americas this season -- Los Prisioneros Estadio Nacional -- revived interest in the band, and the trio got calls from U.S. promoters as well as from Peru, Colombia, Mexico, and Spain.
"We started to play, worked on new songs, and agreed to record a new album next December. Everything started to fall into place with a stronger force than in the Eighties!" marvels Gonzalez, and that includes the November tour that will cover Spain, Mexico, and for the first time eight U.S. cities -- including Miami.
Narea knows this is a big challenge, and talks about the return as "a duty call." He understands the risks involved. "There's always going to be people thinking that the best times have passed," the guitarist says, "but we think that we can do something much better, and that's why we're here now."
"Who cares about the risks?" asks Gonzalez with an enigmatic smile. "The majority of accidents always occur at home."