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1998 is the year of the 'Lewinsky Scandal' that ends with the president of the most powerful country in the world, in Belfast the Good Friday Agreement is signed and Manu Chao, Massive Attack and Los Planetas publish memorable albums. 1998 is also the year in which one of the most popular bands of Spanish pop says goodbye with hardly any explanation. During the 90s, El Último de La Fila sold a million copies of anthems such as Insurrection and Como un burro amarrado en la puerta de baile. A pop-rock group against fashions, driven by two anti-stars, who return 25 years later with the same spirit: without fanfare.

Manolo García (68, Barcelona) and Quimi Portet (66, Vic) squeeze their hands tightly and look into the journalist's eyes before sitting on the sofa of their record label in Madrid. Pyramid Disorder (Warner Music) is the title of the work in which they have been immersed since 2021: 24 versions of their classics recorded in a calmer spirit. "These songs have been mixed to be listened to in CD or vinyl format and at full volume," they claim in the age of Spotify. And the fact is that these two artists who always embodied normality, today are the weirdos of the industry.

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Manolo García: "Painting is my little game of life while I'm on sick leave"

  • Written by: GERMÁN GONZÁLEZ Barcelona

Manolo García: "Painting is my little game of life while I'm on sick leave"

The final interview.

Manolo García: "Politicians give us a lot of trouble"

  • Written by: SILVIA MORENO Sevilla

Manolo García: "Politicians give us a lot of trouble"

QUESTION. Why come back right now?

QUIMI PORTET. There was no premeditation. We got together again a couple of years ago by chance, to play a song for a tribute when the journalist Àngel Casas passed away. And we liked it, we had a good time. So we started seeing each other at my house. That's how we recorded a demo. And then another and another and another... It's been a vacation from our solo careers.

MANOLO GARCÍA. The days are not always great, there are very boring, clumsy and silly ones. And then you start hanging out with a man you've known for a zillion years, with whom you laugh, and you say, "This chord is so beautiful," and before you know it, it's seven o'clock in the evening and you've already hunted him down that day.

Q. In what context did you write these original songs?

QUIMI PORTET. We were less than 30 years old. Music was then an urgency for us, almost physiological. Making a song was a bit of an earthquake. A frenzy, a whirlwind. Same with touring. All the van rides were delusional. We drove, we carried the equipment ourselves. Were...

MANOLO GARCÍA. A rocket, that's what we were. We'd go out for a few beers and at four in the morning we'd go into the rehearsal room. I was in an industrial warehouse, where everything was turners' workshops, we didn't bother anyone. We didn't wake up stumbling down the street, but there in the studio. It was pure youthful enthusiasm.

P. Was this creative urgency the result of an economic urgency?

QP. Not at all, that was never the trigger for our music career. At that time, if you wanted to be rich, you studied law, anything other than music. But from a very young age we were condemned to bohemia. Musicians then were stoned characters.

MG. The Black Sheep. Now it seems that by uploading songs to the networks you are going to make money. It wasn't like that then. My father always said to me: "But if you don't have godparents, what are you going to do?" I was the son of a laborer. He wanted, with his good intentions, for me to get into his factory to make an honest living.

P. Because of that humble origin, you had to fight to be able to make a living from music.

QP. Of course we did, but let's see, Manolo and I had an unhealthy optimism. Los Rápido (the first band they played together, in the early '80s) was a very decent band, but we failed. With Los Burros (formed in 1984) we failed miserably again. We're unconscious, and if it weren't for that, we wouldn't be here today.

MG. Failure is a hard nut to crack. But there was a mortar that tied all this together and pushed us to stay together: we cracked our asses with laughter with everything, and we still remain the same (they both laugh, when they say this, in perfect rapport).

P. And now, 30 years later, how have the recordings been?

MG. In the face of that pure intensity of youth, now it is the opposite. It's seven o'clock in the evening and, if we haven't finished the song and we feel like having a beer, we stop and tomorrow will be another day.

P. Hedonism has always been a trademark of the house.

QP. It is very important for the cultures of southern Europe. Knowing that, no matter how bad the day has gone, you are going to treat yourself to a good paella with your friend, with his potatoes and his beers, with his carajillo and his coffee, all that takes the iron out of existence.

Q. How much nostalgia is there in this comeback?

QP. This work is a project from the present, from who we are now. Before there were super hysterical beats, now we've recorded sexier ones. I'm sorry to have finished it. It's hard for me to say goodbye, to get it published now.

MG. Nothing at all. And I'm going to explain why: if at the end of our journey Quimi sets up a greengrocer and I open a chicken shop, then 25 years later you think: "oysters, I want to be a musician again". But when we say goodbye to El Último de La Fila, this man starts recording albums and playing like crazy. And so do I. So, nostalgia, none. Some of these songs sold a million copies and now the best-selling album barely reaches 5,500. It's important to say it, for people to know. It wasn't about breaking the market, it was about having a good time.

Q. Will you go on stage together again?

MG. It's unlikely, but never impossible.

P. More likely than two years ago, for sure.

QP. Well, God will provide.

MG. That's right, God will provide.

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