For Los Lobos, 2023 is a victory lap in that the band is celebrating a half century since David Hidalgo, Louie Pérez, Cesar Rosas and Conrad Lozano founded the band. Saxophonist/producer Steve Berlin, who joined the band several years later, is justifiably proud of the benchmark and is thrilled to be coming to Westbury to share the band’s extended music history with fans.
“When we can, we’ve been incorporating a sort of acoustic start to the show,” he said. “That will be the case on Long Island. I think we will have that start, although it won’t be the folkloric stuff. You literally have to truck that stuff in You can’t fly it—those instruments are too fragile. We try to make it an overview as much as we can within the 75 to 90 minutes that we’re doing. There are 16 records or something like that. We’re not pretending to visit every one, but we’re trying to do something that speaks to all of it and hope that people are happy in the end.”
With five decades under their belt, Los Lobos have spent quite a bit of time on the road and as such, have shared bills with innumerable other acts and bands. Berlin was happy so share a trio of artists who his crew were and are always happy to hit the road with.
“First and foremost I’d say Tedeschi Trucks Band [TTB] because we love them like brothers. They really are family and every TTB show is a major event for our band and everybody involved. They are the best people involved. From the truck driver to the manager—from the top to the bottom, they are all just solid dudes. I would welcome hanging out in the bar with any of them. That entire organization is entirely class from top to bottom. Whenever they invite us is like a day for celebrating. We know we’re going to have a blast—the music is going to be amazing, the people are going to be happy. There’s nothing like Tedeschi Trucks. I think they’re the best band in America and I think they’re the best organization. It could not be more fun to be out with those guys.”
The Grateful Dead
“That was pretty special to be in their world. Jerry was with us, so we got to hang out with him. He loved us so much and it was really profound for us. We were just starting out and didn’t really have the confidence that comes with being around forever. The fact that he wanted to hang out with us? That just doesn’t happen. That’s not normal behavior where the headliner is hanging out and spending more time in the opener’s dressing room than he was in his own, but that was Jerry. He loved what we were doing. Clearly, there was the cultural aspect of it. There were Chicanos he could hang out with and play with. That was part of his roots. I don’t think he got to hang around with too many people that had his ancestry. That was fun.”
“We did a tour with Taj Mahal recently that was amazing and fun. It was like we were one big family and certainly with Taj, that was the case. We love every guy in his organization. They’re just great people to talk to like he is. He is literally one of the finest people out right now. He is an American treasure and it kind of feels like people are realizing how significant he is and the body of work that he’s laid out. It’s pretty cool. We’ve known him for a long time. It feels like this last run—it seemed like people are realizing how important he is in the big picture. That felt really good. That alone felt great.”
“When we toured with Steve Earle, it was the same exact thing. Just a quality dude and great people to hang out with. Just a good, all-around guy. The day sometimes gets long, travel is a pain in the ass and weird things happen, so it’s nice to know that when you walk into the theater or wherever you’re playing, you kind of feel comfortable and don’t have to worry about that kind of [walking-on-eggshells] interaction.”
Los Lobos will be playing on July 28 at The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave., Westbury. For more information, visit www.thespaceatwestbury.com or call 800-745-3000.