When he arrives at VIP Showgirls Gentlemen's Club in Hollywood, Metalachi trumpet player El Cucuy is told that there's no liquor license, and that the non-alcoholic beverages cost six bucks. He doesn't seem to mind.
"Does that include chi-chi milk?" he asks. The woman behind the counter laughs. The answer is no.
Tonight he's clad in face paint, a gray wig and a sombrero. This is pretty much par for the course for Metalachi, a Hollywood-based quintet that performs mariachi versions of popular heavy metal songs such as Dio's "Rainbow in the Dark," Europe's "The Final Countdown" and Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train."
Metalachi's members refuse to explain their real story, or reveal their real names. They've come in costume to disguise their identities, and say their band is comprised of five brothers originally from Juarez, Mexico. It seems accurate to say that they're seasoned mariachis who just so happen to have a love of classic heavy metal seems accurate, however.
"Nobody can do we we do," says violinist Maximilian "Dirty" Sanchez. "People come because we give (both genres) respect. They don't expect a a high level of talent, especially from mariachis."
The group members in attendance tonight -- who also include Sanchez and lead singer Vega de la Rockha -- are certainly receiving their fair share of attention from the dancers here at the club. (Bassist Poncho Rockafeller and guitarist Ramon Holiday aren't on hand.)
And why not? It's 9 p.m. on a Thursday and the employees outnumber customers by three-to-one ratio. But the truth is that the three men wearing flashing sombreros, wigs and sunglasses draw some attention wherever they go.
The dancers try on the sombreros and take pictures on their phones while Metalachi work the room. They tell the ladies about their band, their new eight-song record Metalachi Uno, due out in early April, and their next show, tomorrow night, March 27, at Skinny's Lounge.
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"They're like Halloween and Christmas," one dancer says. Another has taken a seat next to El Cucuy, she seems into the skull chestplate and codpiece he's wearing.
"I found my new wife," El Cucuy says as the woman leaves. "She's going to be doing my makeup."
Metalachi performs tomorrow at Skinny's Lounge with Alexx Calise, Divine Era and Dirty Sanchez & the Fuk-It's