In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the hardcore band, Maya, shares one of their stories from being on the road. You can check out the story, after the break.
Maya got asked to do a week in the Mexican republic for the first time in our music career back in 2010. Our E.P. “T.G.W.B.T.G.B.” had just come out the year prior. Maya had somewhat of a following in Mexico, but “Por Vida” a song written in Spanish from “T.G.W.B.T.G.B.” and it ignited a flame for us. The cities that we had performed in Mexico were Tijuana, Matamoros, Monterrey, Guadalajara, & CDMX. Being of Mexican descent, most of us in the band had the pleasure of traveling to the motherland to see and spend time with our families. Getting to travel to a different state/city every night in a country that has your roots implanted in its soil was life-changing. We got to fly into a few cities but we also got to hit the road. If you aren’t familiar with them, they can be dangerous depending on where your state license plates are from or which particular road you choose to take. The toll roads (safest) or the ‘libre’ depending on your pocket.
We hit Tijuana B.C. first and it was on a weeknight but a lot of the locals had come out to support the music. Mind you, border towns have a very distinct way of living especially every year that elections take place. Once we crossed the border into Mexico, we realized we had stepped into a different world. The night went on and we hit the stage, the last band finished at 2 A.M. The energy in the room had set the tone for the rest of the tour. We were ready to get some rest that night after a long day of travel. Merch – check. Equipment – check. Personal bags – check. Passports – check. We got into the van and started to head towards the Mexican flag – it’s a point to know in case you ever get lost so you can find your way back to the border and cross back to San Diego. Pulling up to a house on a hillside to unload all of our gear and belongings, you could see Tijuana and all the city lights. That night was a revelation. We all understood that not everyone lives the same. On the road all we heard was “tonight is all sold out.” Playing sold-out gigs wasn’t usually something we encountered but it was a compliment we felt really proud of, especially being our first time in Mexico. The tour manager suddenly comes out and tells us we have a flight to catch in the next hour. Fuck! Sleep is what we all wanted at that point but on we went.
We flew into the state of Nuevo Leon, Monterrey. A beautiful industrial city North East of Mexico. A Mercedes sprinter picked us up from the airport. Three and a half hours later we got into town. The Gulf of Mexico isn’t too far so you could see and feel the ocean breeze. It was gloomy, cold, and the sun had already started to go down. Usually exploring the towns was something normal we did, but my gut feeling told me not to get out of the van. As others explored, I remember paying attention to my surroundings and wanting to head to the venue. Something was off. Everyone in town had this image almost god-like. I had heard from a few people tell me about a cult/religion but I chose not to know more info. Some things I would rather not fuck with or disrupt. The hospitality we received was more than one could expect. From the town, you could see Brownsville, TX across the border. The sunset quickly as we loaded the van to head to the venue only to find no one was there.
Performing live in Mexico had its pros and cons. Time changes, getting on stage after 12am, and for some, the language barrier. Luckily for Maya, we all speak Spanish. Confused but optimistic about the audience-less night, the promoter pushed back the start time. We all figured maybe by then people will show up since it is sold out. Nightfall came quick and still no one but the bands were at the venue. Que commence la fiesta, the first band went up and kept it short and so did the rest of us. A few of the guys had stepped outside to continue exploring but came back frantically. Someone had told them to not wander the streets at night. As I turned to the rest of the guys, I saw them start to worry. Still, no one was in sight and we couldn’t explore the town so we decided to pack up for the night. 12am struck and some people showed up. Oddly enough, they didn’t come to see us or any other band. It ended up being the headlining band. Looks of confusion and some blank stares were on our faces.
A few of us tried to stay out of respect for the headlining band. It was 2am & still no one in sight but the bands. Everyone else was in the van ready to head back to our place and rest. We hit the road and saw our destination for the night and it felt like a huge relief. It wasn’t home or a familiar place but we knew we were out of harm’s way. Some of us got shuteye and some of us didn’t feel the need to rest until sunrise. As soon as the sun came up, we hit the road to Monterrey. The drive wasn’t too long plus the city has an old downtown and a new downtown. A lot of history has been written around Monterrey N.L. to explore. The night went totally opposite from the day before. Sold out event and the crowd had the energy that could help forget a night of uncertainty. Everything seemed normal despite the events that kept playing over and over in everyone’s face. We didn’t speak about it amongst ourselves but we all had something in the back of our heads we needed to move from so we continued to party the night away.
Guadalajara, Jal & CDMX kept the same energy. Maya has family in both those cities so you know the love and support was tremendous. The rest of the tour had settled the score. What had seemed never-ending had turned into a reality of a dream. Both these metropolitans have punk/hardcore/metal culture like no other. Mexico has a venue called ‘El Calndestino’ the nomad. I can say it’s the closest thing to 942 Gilman St. but in CDMX. We closed the last two dates of the tour with a room full of passion and an intense sense of community to a sold-out crowd. Nothing was documented but a few pictures and maybe some pixelated video from a flip phone. Going back to write this seems like it only exists in our minds but we did have a tour baseball t-shirt that we printed. It has a bootleg Deftones logo we borrowed and added the Maya logo with ‘A Toda Madre O Un Desmadre Gira 2010.’ Being the first-born generation in the U.S. means it’s not easy trying to find your identity and true self but it helps to know the love that Guadalajara and Mexico City gave us on that first tour. So far away from home and to feel right at home is blissful.