Life on Long Island
Who is O El Amor?
Have you ever walked into an LI bar or club and found a band working the stage wearing outlandish masks, wearing ill-fitting clothing and performing high-intensity versions of one-hit wonders while jumping into bursts of synchronized dancing, engaging in R-rated banter with the audience and occasionally pouring beer on their own heads?
Probably not, but if you did, that was almost assuredly O El Amor.
And who is O El Amor?
They won't say.
While most local cover bands use a dedicated website to tout their careers, O El Amor (OEA) currently has no such informative account (just a Facebook page that offers no contact details or links). In fact, the group does its best to be utterly mysterious.
However, regardless of this enigmatic attitude, ‘Amor has been building a sturdy fan base — a movement that is observable as it has become commonplace to find O El Amor devotees wearing masks to its shows in tribute.
A quintet, its roster consists of drummer “Don Corazon Destrozado” (notable for a bow tie worn on his hat), bass player “Bongo El Mongo” (who sports a luchador mask and tight clothing), keyboardist “Senior Sanchez” (wears a finned mask, white pants and can lift his body from a sitting position to deliver head-level, aerial kicks), guitarist “Jesus Mana Cerveza Jr.” (dresses and appears like a bearded, elderly man) and front man “Disco Goya” (who dons mostly black and sports various leather facial guises).
Asking the five to discuss themselves doesn't reveal any typical answers, as they are currently forsworn to remain as anonymous as possible — but they are quick to note their direct connections to love, despair, fun music and a fondness for free beverages. And while their given responses are cryptic and unorthodox, it’s all part of a personal universe, and makes for a singular conversation. With that, here are some direct thoughts provided by the members of O El Amor:
Bongo El Mongo: “We [have] been making love through music since 2002. Today, our fan base is stronger than ever. They are the best and the reason we keep from drowning in sorrow from our broken hearts.”
About the masks:
Jesus Mana Cerveza Jr.: “Our story is one of sadness and sorrow . . . after many years of short-lived relationships and meaningless one-night stands, the broken hearts of O El Amor swore to disguise their faces in shame and vowed never to remove their masks. Living vicariously through the lovers of the world who come to see us, O El Amor travels town to town in search of inner love . . . and free drinks. And while no one knows the true identity of O El Amor, it has been said that if you get close enough to the stage, sometimes, just sometimes, you might see a tear or two beneath our masks.”
Don Corazon Destrozado: “We each wear a mask that has special meaning to us — whether it reminds us of a lost love, a special or intimate moment we shared with someone in our lives, or that the mask’s mouth opening is large enough for us to drink through while onstage.”
The fans wearing masks to OEA shows:
Cerveza Jr.: “It is such a thrill to see not only the growing number of people on the dance floor at each show, but also the number of people wearing masks. All of the lovers in the audience bring their own masks — a trend they started themselves. So for a few hours at an OEA show, our fans can join us in disguise, becoming one with O El Amor, and dance all night to great music while having an unforgettable experience.”
The band’s musical selection:
Senior Sanchez: “We love all of our songs, and love is the theme throughout our 100+ song catalog. Though many of our songs are from the 80s, at an O El Amor show you will also hear some of the great songs from the 70s and 90s including songs from Engelbert Humperdinck, Robbie Dupree, and the theme to the TV show “The Love Boat.” You will never hear O El Amor playing Top 40 or any current pop song — we leave that up to the thousands of other cover bands wearing black shirts and backward baseball caps.”
O El Amor’s “love” fixation:
Disco Goya: “Love and romance are the foundations of O El Amor. Each member of O El Amor has experienced love many times throughout their lives but alas, each love has been lost leaving us all with broken hearts. But now we romance our audience from behind masks. Our music, our live show are the instruments we use to touch lovers from both far and near. Sometimes it can get a little dirty . . . but only in the best ways. Join us at an upcoming show and experience the pleasure of O El Amor.”
O El Amor will be appearing on several occasions at many large Suffolk County venues throughout the winter and spring; for more details on upcoming shows and happenings check out the band online at facebook.com/oelamor.