Mexican rock group Maná to play their first concert in England

During a career than spans over four decades, Grammy-winning Mexican rockers Maná have toured the world, yet for some reason never played London. That all changes next July when the foursome plays the OVO Arena Wembley, and drummer Alex González says the band is “freaking out.”

“We grew up influenced by so many English bands that it was always a dream for us to play in London,” González said. He hopes that bringing Mexican rock to England leads to a long relationship with fans.

Started in 1982, the Mexican rock quartet from Sombrero Verde has been compared to The Police, and Gonzalez says they’re big fans of Sting and Co.

And while audiences can expect to hear classic tunes such as “Rayando el Sol” and “Oye Mi Amor,” there won’t be any new music just yet. The band hasn’t added much in that department since their last studio album, “Cama Incendiada” in 2015. But that will change when they get back into the studio late next year.

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, González shared a timetable on the band’s next album, spoke on the state of regional Mexican music and called Beatles drummer Ringo Starr an inspiration.

AP: Why did it take so long to play London?

González: It could be that we never got into the right hands of a promoter or a company or somebody that wanted to take us to London. But I think the important thing is that we’re going and what an honor. I hope it’s the beginning of a long relationship with doing many shows and concerts in London and maybe in other parts of England.

AP: We’re seeing a lot of great pop and rock artists coming out Mexico these days. Do you feel like you guys helped lead the way?

González: No, I don’t think we’ve led the way. Music in Spanish has been around forever. For example, Los Panchos — they were a huge trio. And they even ended up playing in Japan. Then you look at Carlos Santana — I mean, there’s been a lot of important people in Latin music. I think the interesting thing is around the ‘70s, in the 80s, that’s when a whole rock boom started taking off with rock bands coming from Spain… I don’t doubt that maybe influenced a lot of people, too. But the cool thing is that we’ve been we’ve continued to do it in Spanish.

AP: You’ve consistently recorded in Spanish. What’s it like to play live in other countries?

González: We think it’s cool that when you go to another country that doesn’t speak Spanish and there’s people listening to your music and then they start translating the lyrics and they start finding out what the songs are about. I think that’s pretty cool. It’s a cool way of sharing your culture. And for us here in the United States, wrapping up of 38 concerts, we did 16 sold-out shows at the Kia Forum — that just goes to show you how huge the Latin community has grown in the United States, and let alone, California.

AP: What’s your thoughts on the increased global popularity of regional music, especially coming out of Mexico?

González: In the past 10 or 15 years we’ve been bombarded by urban reggaeton music, which is fine. But when everything is 24-hours-a-day reggaeton, you got to say to yourself, ’Hey, wait a minute, there’s other styles of music, there’s other artists. And I think those people deserve the same exposure as being bombarded 24-7.’ I’m glad that there’s other exponents, of regional and Mexican music. And it’s great. It’s part of the culture.

AP: Who inspired you to be a musician?

González: Everything started with me with The Beatles. I became a drummer thanks to Ringo Starr. He was the first drummer that I saw, and the Beatles were the first band that I saw (on television) in a black and white concert. They were all dressed in their suits. And then Ringo was beating the (expletive) out of the drums. He was like the first punk alternative rock drummer. He was hitting those drums so hard. And thank God there’s footage of that that you can see.

AP: Who else was an inspiration?

González: I actually was able to start singing, or try to sing, because of Phil Collins. Phil Collins was one of my earlier influences. He was one of the first drummers that I saw that he could play the drums and sing lead vocals.

AP: What about more traditional artists like Los Tigres Del Norte?

González: They are good friends of ours. Great guys. When we were kids, they would come and play in Mexico and they would sell out bullrings and they would sell out stadiums. They would fill up these huge spaces for 30,000 or 40,000 people. So, we always saw them as a band, even though they were playing Norteño music. We always saw that there was an audience that was interested in it.

AP: What can fans expect in 2024 in terms of new music?

González: It’s taken a long time trying to get everybody’s schedule together to write and record it. This album has taken longer than it should have. But the good news is, around the end of 2024, we’re going to start working on a brand new studio album. The idea is to release this album in 2025. Our last studio album was in 2015, so it’s been a long time and we’re super-excited about starting to work together again once we get into the studio. I mean, that’s where the magic happens.