Reunited PUYA To Release New EP, First-Ever DVD

February 3, 2010

Richard Castañeda of Chordstruck Magazine recently conducted an interview with drummer Eduardo Paniagua of the reformed Puerto Rican hard rock quartet PUYA about the group's decision to reunite and its future plans.

"The thing about getting back together was never something that anybody pushed for or us calling each other going, 'Come on! Get off your ass! Let's do this!'" Paniagua said. "It was nothing like that. We sort of let it happen naturally; we never officially broke up. It was never said by anybody. We lost touch for a little while, but I guess [we] needed that. We were never on bad terms or anything like that. It was going to be the original lineup or nothing."

PUYA's current lineup — Ramón Ortíz (guitar),Sergio Curbelo (vocals),Eduardo Paniagua (drums) and Harold Hopkins (bass) — is currently working on a new EP, "Areyto", and live DVD, "Pa' Ti" ("For You"),to be released later in the year.

Of the seven tracks the band is considering for the new EP, four will be original and three will be live tracks from their first reunion show in May 2009.

PUYA hopes to release its first live DVD, "Pa' Ti", to coincide with the EP. Filmed in 2002 at Puerto Rico's famed Tito Puente Amphitheater, it was one of PUYA's final shows before the hiatus. Although it was initially intended for immediate release, the project got shelved. Hopkins edited the footage on his own during the hiatus and presented it to the rest of the band during the reunion.

Read the entire article from Chordstruck Magazine.

PUYA was originally formed in 1990 by high school classmates Ramon Ortiz Picó, on guitar, cuatro, percussion and vocals, and Harold Hopkins Miranda, on bass, percussion and vocals. Soon afterwards, the band grew with the addition of Eduardo Paniagua Látimer, on drums, percussion and vocals and Sergio Curbelo Cosme.

The band was influenced by well-known U.S. rock bands such as LED ZEPPELIN, KORN, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, RUSH and DEFTONES, but made a creative niche for themselves by fusing the Latin, Afro-Caribbean rhythms of their native salsa music with the heavy metal style. In fact, this fusion did not really evolve until the band moved from Puerto Rico to Florida, USA in 1992.

A longing for the music of their native, Puerto Rican salsa, led them to develop a unique style in rock music, influenced by old school salsa artists such as EL GRAN COMBO, TITO PUENTE, WILLIE COLÓN and HECTOR LAVOE, and other Latin bands. The essence of their Latin rhythms were incoporated into PUYA's heavy metal works. According to lead vocalist Curbelo, "Once we got away from home, we started incorporating our Latin roots into our music… It was a conscious thing, but it just felt natural."

While in Florida, Puerto Rican percussionist Eggie Castrillo and Mike Smart on sax, joined the band. PUYA then released its debut professional recording, a cassette entitled "Whisker Biscuit". The band's first CD, "Puya", followed, featuring 13 tracks, including a collaboration with the James Brown horn section on two songs. While the move to Florida resulted in an artistic advance, all of the bandmembers ultimately decided to return to Puerto Rico, with the exception of Curbelo.

PUYA moved to Los Angeles and signed a recording contract with MCA Records. The band's next album, "Fundamental", came out in 1999. It featured an eclectic mix of songs, such as the title track, that switched freely from Spanish to English. It also demonstrated the success of the band's fusion of heavy metal rock, with Latin rhythms, adding to their crossover appeal in the North American market and paving the way for tours with mainstream U.S. bands such as SPINESHANK and FEAR FACTORY.

PUYA's third album, "Union", was released in 2001.

"Pa' Ti" DVD preview:

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