Last night passed away Luis Alberto Spinetta aka “El Flaco” (Skinny), and aka father of Latin rock, one of the two of them. Spinetta was a hero of music, of rock and jazz specially. Luis Alberto Spinetta was 62 years old, and he was fighting cancer since last year.
I never feel comfortable writing about the death of an artist I admire, it’s not easy, and I never really know how to explain why I’m writing about it, mostly these guys are coming from Latin America, so I know you guys probably have no idea about them, and I can imagine you reading this with a big question mark in your mind. Then why to write about it? Just because I feel that’s necessary to tribute, to show my deep respect to those that educated me well. Spinetta and Charly Garcia, the other Argentinean musician called the father of Latin rock, they are indeed my music fathers. To me Spinetta’s music opened my mind to musical spaces that I never imagined before him, it’s unlikely that someone that got into his music will not be a music lover. Spinetta is one of my reasons to be writing about music now.
I have thirty albums of Spinetta, and he produced a lot more I don’t have yet. Since 1967 El Flaco was producing music day after day, he brought to life several bands of rock and jazz, he encourage the growth of musicians that later became some of the biggest names of music in Latin America, he worked with the best musicians of Argentina –his home country– and with musicians from Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and from all over the planet too. He encouraged people to think, to be aware of good music, to take care of themselves, to keep things into context. Spinetta supported deeply the recovering of Charly Garcia through his worst years of addiction and craziness. Together with Charly they made the song that became the hymn of Latin rock (and one of the songs that I most love) “Rezo Por Vos” (I Pray For You). El Flaco was a poet, a guitarist, a pianist, a singer, a composer, a producer, a singer. The first big song he made was “Muchacha Ojos De Papel” (Paper Eyes Girl) on 1969, since then, album after album he produced only great music. He played thousands of concerts for hundreds of thousand of people, probably millions actually. He didn’t have the egocentric attitude of a rock star, he had all his focus on making neat music, no time to spend his energy on silly stuff, he was serious about it, music was big for him. El Flaco was a genius, and a very sensible one. This is why Argentina and big part of Latin America is now remembering him and their lives with him.
Rolling Stone Argentina has published in the last six hours five articles to remember and tribute Spinetta. On one of them they remember some of the best things Spinetta said or wrote in his life, his lyrics were beautiful so there’re thousands of words where to choose from, as there are hundreds of songs to play to remember him. It’s not easy to choose a song to play here to show you the extension of his creativity, impossible with a couple of songs, so I’ll go for the first songs I heard first from him, those that made me get my first Spinetta album, and then keep on listening to his music until now.
And this one, a classic, an epic concert. Charly Garcia coming back to life and live music after a long fight to recover from his addictions and general craziness, and meeting Spinetta to sing together this song “Rezo Por Vos” (I Pray For You) a song about survival through creativity. Grande Flaco!