DJ Le Spam Shares His Ten Most Memorable Moments From Ten Years of ¡Fuacata!
Week after week for the last decade, the Spam Allstars have taken to the tight Little Havana stage in Hoy Como Ayer to lay down their one-of-a-kind descargas. And week after week, they've repeatedly reaffirmed ¡Fuacata!'s status as one of the most indelible weeklies in Miami history.
If you've partied in the 305 during the past ten years, you've no doubt got your own memories to share. And so does DJ Le Spam. It wasn't easy for him to pick favorites, sifting through a decade of good times. But eventually, the DJ, bandleader and producer extraordinaire uncovered his ten most memorable moments from ten years of ¡Fuacata!
10. The First Night of ¡Fuacata!
"The first show we played at Hoy Como Ayer was myself, Tomas Diaz and Adam Zimmon. I wasn't expecting a turnout, so we were pleasantly surprised to have 50 to 60 people there for our first night."
9. Fuacata 9/13/11
"Two days after 9/11, I seriously considered canceling the gig. People were in shock. It didn't feel like a time to party. But then I thought, 'Well, if we do that, then they win.' So we went ahead and did the gig and it was packed. Tomas grabbed the mic and started singing with the band for the first time. I got it on tape. It's the last song on the Fuacata Live CD: 'Paz 9.13.'"
8. Mercedes Bum-Rushes the Stage
"Somewhere around late '02 this crazy flute player jumped onstage, blew a couple of solos, and took off. A few weeks later, she showed up again so I got her number. And soon after, Mercedes joined the group full time."
7. Mick Jagger Comes to Hoy Como Ayer
"It must have been sometime in 2003, the Rolling Stones were in town and a friend of a friend was part of their crew. They told me they were going to try to bring him by, but I thought that would be highly unlikely. We had just gone on set-break when someone came outside and told us he was in the house. So we went back on almost right away. I never saw the guy! Everyone told me he was in the back of the club dancing with some Kendall girls, having fun."
6. Good Morning America Comes to Hoy Como Ayer
"By late 2002, we were on a serious roll with the press coverage of our little Thursday night gig. We got a call from Good Morning America, who were going to be doing a show from Miami and wanted to shoot a spot at Hoy Como Ayer about our night and the scene in Little Havana. Great! The only problem was the only night they could do it was Halloween, and they couldn't have anyone there in costumes since the show would air the following week. The night of the shoot was probably our worst turnout ever up to that time, I was freaking out. Then the front of the club got pelted with eggs from a passing car. Anyhow, we pulled it together and they made it look OK!"
5. Page McConnel Meets Lazaro Alfonso
"A friend brought Phish keyboard player Page McConnel to see the band, and we invited him to sit in. On the same night, conguero Lazaro Alfonso was there and sat in on the same set. This initial interaction led to the Vida Blue album and tour that we did in 2003/2004. Page thought so much of Lazaro's playing that he specifically asked that he be a part of the project."
4. Pee Wee Ellis Sits in With the Band
"My friend Loren Gallo introduced us to Pee Wee, who was in town doing some jazz gigs. Pee Wee was the bandleader for James Brown from 1965 to 1968 and wrote a lot of hits with JB including "Cold Sweat." It seemed like we all instantly gelled and this led to Pee Wee doing some arrangements on our Electrodomesticos album, plus a few more guest spots. He's one of our heroes!"
3. Prince Comes to Hoy Como Ayer
"Probably around two years ago, early in the night, an SUV pulls up into the alleyway next to the club and the driver steps out and tells Yussef, our road manager, that they will be bringing Prince by that evening and, Can we please get him a table ready near the stage where he won't be bothered? We were skeptical. But sure enough, about an hour later, he shows up solo and sits off to one side of the stage. We started the set and people began to edge nearer to his table trying to get a photo. And after a couple of songs, he got cagey and split!"
2 and 1. "Ten years is over 500 shows...Thursdays have become a ritual for the band. When Ralph De La Portilla and Erik Fabregat took me to Hoy Como Ayer for the first time in 2001, I really didn't think the night would run more than a few weeks. I would like to thank them both for coming up with the name ¡Fuacata! and for bringing the Spam Allstars to Calle Ocho. I would also like to thanks Eduardo Llama and Fabio Diaz, the original owners of the club, and also the current owners for supporting the night even during lean times. To the band, past and present and all our musical guests, our families and loved ones, our manager Melanie Masterson and road manager Yussef Shaw, Miami New Times, Miami Herald, and anyone who ever bothered to write a line or two about our exploits. But we owe the most gratitude to all the people in this city, who have supported the band over the years, not just on Thursday nights but in all of the situations in which we perform. Your support has allowed us to exist and earn a living playing original music, has even allowed us to take our music to other cities. We may have had a few big names roll through Hoy Como Ayer every once in a while, but they weren't the ones who we saw every week. So thanks to everyone who ever made it out to Little Havana on a Thursday night!"
Spam Allstars' Tenth Anniversary of ¡Fuacata!. Thursday, May 19. Hoy Como Ayer, 2112 SW Eighth St., Miami. The party starts at 9 p.m. and cover costs $7, but ladies get in free until 10:30. Call 305-541-2631 or visit hoycomoayer.us.
Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.