Last Month, Piñata Protest was playing shows to energetic crowds around San Antonio and Texas. Now, the band has canceled scheduled gigs, leaving some members seeking new ways to survive.
The band’s accordionist and vocalist, Alvaro Del Norte is feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Piñata Protest, a Tex-Mex punk rock band, was founded by Del Norte and consists of Regino Lopez on electric guitar and vocals, Richie Brown on electric bass and vocals, and Chris-Ruptive on drums and vocals.
For over 10 years, Piñata Protest has toured the United States, Canada, and Mexico alongside the likes of Mariachi El Bronx, Brujeria, The Toadies, Agent Orange and Girl In A Coma. Since forming, the band has found success and even released their album “El Valiente” at No. 7 on the Latin Billboard Top 100 charts.
Piñata Protest has been faced with a new challenge, uncertainty.
Venues across San Antonio have closed their doors because of the city’s “Stay Home, Work Safe” orders, causing numerous events to be canceled or postponed.
“It was like a flood that’s coming that you can’t stop,” Alvaro said of his initial reaction to the coronavirus pandemic. “You don’t really know what to do and you really can’t run. You can’t really outrun it. … You just have to grab onto something and hope you don’t get washed away.”
Del Norte, who is normally a full-time musician, has picked up a temporary job at H-E-B.
“I feel really really fortunate to have a temporary job,” Del Norte said.
He has applied for grants to keep him afloat as months of his scheduled shows and tours have been canceled.
“Tours and shows are the primary way we make money as a band,” Del Norte said. “It’s revenue we won’t be able to make.We’re not losing any money, but we’re not making any money. And there’s nothing we can do about it.”
However, one San Antonio venue was nice enough to send the show guarantee money to Del Norte even though the show was canceled, he said.
Despite the hard times, Del Norte said the band is fortunate to have a support system and had money saved up. For additional funds, they are currently relying on online sales of their merchandise and music.
The band is making money from their online streams; however, Del Norte said it’s not much.
“The online streaming service, unless you have a million plays a week, you really don’t make any money,” Del Norte said.
Del Norte said he only makes about 2 or 3 cents from tens of thousands of plays over the course of three months.
They are working on virtual serenades for their fanbase as they are not able to be in the same room together. Del Norte said fans have reached out to the band requesting for them to perform online.
Fans of Piñata Protest have been sending money as well.
“Some fans that have been really nice have sent me money, and say ‘I hope you’re eating,’ Del Norte said. “People have been very supportive.”
Future shows are up in the air. Del Norte said he’s heard things may not get up and running until 2021 or 2022. However, the band hopes to continue as they have shows scheduled for June.
“We have our fingers crossed,” Del Norte said. “Everything is up in the air.”
Regardless of the possibility of not performing until next year, Del Norte has no concerns for music.
“Music is going to survive one way or another,” Del Norte said. “It’s part of who we are as people, as human beings. You can’t take that away.”
Del Norte and the rest of the band do miss performing though.
“This is the longest I’ve ever gone without playing music since I’ve started,” Del Norte said. “…There’s this desire to perform after you’ve been doing it for awhile. You just get that itch like ‘Man, I got to play.’”
Now at home, in his newly found downtime, Del Norte is practicing to get better at his craft, songwriting and working on new projects including organizing his music library.
Del Norte said he is hopeful for the future.
“Musicians and artists, we’re creative people and we’ll find a way to get by one way or another,” Del Norte said.
Official Site: https://www.pinataprotestband.com/