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Argentina's Bad Boy Of Rock: Charly García


rock argentina garcia

The drug-hazed, roller-coaster career of musician Charly García rambles across four decades and includes enough drama to fuel any stereotypical rock n’roll biopic. Born in Buenos Aires in 1951, García still struts Latin American stages fighting the man and flaunting a sinfully entertaining rock star ego. His wide range of controversial music, tempestuous relationships and brushes with the law have carved him a solid place in Latin American pop culture. He may not be a favorite native son of Argentina, but he is certainly one of the most interesting.

García showed prodigious talent for music at a young age, but upon discovering the Beatles his tastes quickly turned from classical to rock. He started his first band, Sui Generis, with a schoolmate. Their romantic folk-rock appealed to legions of teenage fans, but as political problems in the country increased, Charly’s music darkened. Faced with mandatory military service, the young musician became obsessed with finding ways to prove his mental instability, the attempts finally escalating into taking a large dose of amphetamines in order to feign a heart attack. The stunt worked, but it nearly cost him his life, and he felt that he could not go back to writing romantic ballads following the trauma.

From that point on, Charly’s music became heavier and louder, often openly criticizing Argentina’s dictatorship. As repression and censorship reached new heights in the country, people stopped listening to Sui Generis. García decided to leave the band and escape to Brazil, where he lived in near poverty for a number of years. He returned to Argentina in the late ‘70s and joined Serú Girán, known as one of the most important bands in the whole Argentinean rock movement.

From the 80s onward, García, restless to experiment, launched a solo career that included forays into both abstract and pop music, garnering a wide array of negative and positive reviews. He also solidified his reputation as a wild, temperamental rocker by jumping off a ninth floor balcony into a hotel pool and pulling down his pants at one of his concerts.

Today, Charly García, nearly 60, is still cutting albums, touring the world, and throwing tantrums – making him one of the truly larger-than-life figures in music.

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28 Sep 2010

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