Closely associated with Tejano’s greatest era in the 1980s and early ’90s, the band’s music is the equivalent of classic rock for la raza, and La Mafia is as much a brand as a musical group.
On the radio, La Mafia often falls into the recuerdos formats.
“We’ve been fortunate that some of our songs have crossed into that plateau of standards,” Lichtenberger said. “When we come into an area, we’re definitely (preceded) by our hits. I feel very lucky.”
But the superstar band isn’t immune to the downturn in the Tejano music marketplace — fewer radio stations, smaller budgets and changing demographics and tastes.
Lichtenberger says the only choice is to stay true to their roots and their fans.
“We’re in the studio finishing out an album, and we do think about, ‘Who do we plan on satisfying?’ It’s a tough battle,” he explained.
“All bands that have been around as long as we’ve been around have that same challenge. Basically, we just do what feels good. But there’s no way we can do some of the (regional Mexican) styles that are on the radio.”
He’s referring to some of the hyper West Coast sounds coming into vogue, including musica alterada, an ultra-fast variant of norteño.
“It translates to accelerated music, basically. When you hear it, you understand why,” Lichtenberger said.
“It’s like norteño turned up on 78 rpm. It’s like a rave, a whole different scene. We have nothing in common. We’re always looking for that common denominator. It’s getting harder.”
|LA MAFIA ROMANCES