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The Iguanas

Friday • Southgate House Revival

By Brian Baker · July 29th, 2014 · Sound Advice
soundadvice_the_iguanas_photo_ zack smithThe Iguanas - Zack Smith

These days, it’s an accomplishment to find something that lasts 25 months, let alone 25 years. And yet The Iguanas are still making vital music and crisscrossing the country to present it in its most elementally satisfying live fashion, a quarter century after the band’s formation in New Orleans. 

Perhaps even more amazing, save for the departure of saxophonist Derek Huston, is that The Iguanas line-up — guitarist Rod Hodges, vocalist/saxophonist Joe Cabral, bassist Rene Coman and drummer Doug Garrison — remains unchanged, as does their bottomless passion for the root music that forms the foundation of their infectious and unique sound.

From the very start, The Iguanas have provided the soundtrack to the American melting pot by stirring up related yet distinct styles like R&B, Zydeco, Tex Mex, Cumbia, Blues, Rock, Tropicalia, Funk, Jazz and anything else of interest, blending and seasoning them with their own singular experiential spices (Coman and Garrison backed music icon Alex Chilton, and everyone in the band is a session/touring veteran).

It’s not surprising that Jimmy Buffett signed The Iguanas to his Margaritaville imprint after their eponymous 1993 debut for parent label MCA. The Iguanas’ 1994 follow-up, Nuevo Boogaloo, and 1996’s Super Ball were critical and commercial hits.

After the groove rush of Sugartown for Koch Records in 1999, the band released the only live album in their catalog, the appropriately titled Live Iguanas, in 2002. The Iguanas’ debut for Yep Roc, 2003’s Plastic Silver 9-Volt Heart, gave them their highest profile to date, but the next couple of years were devastating. Hurricane Katrina forced a lengthy stay in Austin, Texas in 2005 and the following year saw the acrimonious departure of Huston. The newly minted quartet version of The Iguanas pulled out all the stops for the furiously rocked-up but Katrina-darkened If You Should Ever Fall on Hard Times.

It took the band another five years to hit the studio. Last year’s Sin to Sin was a considerably lighter affair — in tone and length, clocking in at a brisk 30 minutes — but The Iguanas roared back this year with the characteristically diverse Juarez. 

Twenty-five years in and The Iguanas are still setting dance floor fires with flamethrower efficiency.

THE IGUANAS play Southgate House Revival Friday, August 1 at 8:30 p.m. More info here.



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