Our grandmothers gasped at the sight of Eduardo Rudy, Oscar Casco and Rodolfo Bebán, and then the Gitano (Sandro de America) arrived waving his rock n roll flag, with his larger than life sideburns and a swiveling pelvis inherited from Elvis. Today, when the leading men need nothing more than a pretty face and strong abdominals plastered on one billboard after another, we meet Rolando Bruno, a born seducer ripped out of the 1960s, who not only conquers women for his impeccable style but also for his great musical talent. Currently Rolando is working with his band Rolando Bruno y su Orquesta Midi, a project he shares with his iPod, which is in charge of reproducing melodies composed on the computer while he and his guitar perform Peruvian cumbia classics. Before his show this Saturday the 18th at Fiesta Galaxy, I was able to sit down with Rolando, one of the most unique musicians on the underground Porteño scene.
I’ve always wondered, is Rolando Bruno a character that emerges the moment you step on stage or does he really exist, will we find him at the grocery store with his 60s style hair, the characteristic moustache and colorful button downs?
Yeah, the other day I was talking to the singer of Yataians and he told me that he saw me shopping at Jumbo. Maybe I don’t walk around so done-up, a t-shirt with some garage band and I’m ready. A few years ago I’d go out to buy bread with a suit on. I’m a huge fan of supermarkets and finding the best price for quality, like the stereotypical housewife, watch out for the store brand stuff from Dia and Carrefour, they are good and affordable. I dream that someday that German (or maybe its Swedish) supermarket LIDL will come to Argentina.
I don’t imagine that being the director of an orchestra is simple, what’s it like leading a Midi Orchestra?
Unlike all of the other orchestra leaders, I find it really simple to direct, especially live because honestly I just press play on my iPod and that’s it. It’s a whole other story at home, where I work really hard to arrange the synthesizers of all the instruments on my modest computer and experience.
What are some strange or curious things that we would find in your home?
Weird magnets on the fridge (Alf, Sandro, Japonese bands), a lot of strange vinyls from the 1960s, an ALF stuffed animal, have you noticed yet that I’m an ALF fan? A lot of bizarre-looking guitars, and a few interesting posters.
Within the scene you are sort of considered a romantic heartthrob, some have even called you Sandro 2.0. Are there already Rolando Bruno “nenas”? (“las nenas” was the name of female followers of Sandro).
You’re crazy! That time has already come and gone so don’t get me in trouble. I’m getting married in two weeks. One never loses the touch but mine is in quarantine.
But as a grand seducer you must have some advice you can throw out to those that still haven’t mastered the art of conquest. What’s the key to getting the girl without being tall, dark and handsome with an imported car?
The truth is that it’s all about the talk, that’s it, being really direct and not losing time with all that fancy game. But it also depends on what you want, if it’s just a quick hookup everything goes…if you want more, I’ll give you my phone number and we can do some sessions, I don’t charge much (laughs).
In addition to your solo project you’re also the guitarist for Los Peyotes, which if I understand correctly was named after the books of Carlos Castaneda. Have you had the opportunity to study with a master like Don Juan, can you tell me of any interesting experiences related to mysticism, other realities or states of consciousness that have inspired you?
I never had the opportunity to study with a teacher or shaman, unfortunately. I haven’t had that many experiences honestly, the only thing I could recommend would be to have a few nice drinks of absinthe, I’ve had some psychedelic dreams that way that turned into songs or ideas.
What other projects do you have mapped out for the future? How do you imagine your life in 20 years?
Projects…well I’d like to continue with the same, with Los Peyotes, giving guitar classes, continue with the Orchestra and have fun, not much more. In 20 years I imagine myself with a little Rolando and my wife, a little fatter and with less hair, maybe not fat but definitely with less hair. And probably giving up soccer in a few years, I never quite became the Piojo López.
One last question, are you happy with the moment and place you were born, or would you have preferred to have been born in the 60s en another country?
No. I´m happy to have been born in the 80s, and I love thinking back on the Menem-era, but I’d love to spend 7 days in 1960s Buenos Aires, buy all the albums that no one gave a shit about, some instruments and go back to the future, just like McFly!