Under the Influence of Jiminelson

Take a big swig of dirt whiskey rock. Swish it around in your mouth until your eyes start to water. Now swallow. Succumb to the gritty accordion and harmonica lacings as they set your senses on fire. Taste the sharp frequencies of the guitar and belligerent battery of the drums seeping into your bloodstream and settling in the current like a foreign language with a strange reverberating familiarity.

You are now under the influence of Jiminelson. Feels good, doesn’t it?

Gustavo León leads his legions of inebriated loyalists into battle, armed with vocals that howl at the moon and a guitar that lights up the muddy night sky. His hair is black and greasy, his tuxedo shirt is buttoned halfway, his boots are black and he’s smirking-- like he just got done with the prom queen and is screeching off to set fire to the next village in an old, hijacked Cadillac convertible.

León's compadre Chino thrusts the group forward, beating doubters away with rapid cymbals, snares and bass. In some songs, León is flanked by various guitar, harmonica, accordion, keyboard and even mariachi accompaniments that pick off the crouching enemy and pierce through the shrapnel of empirical defenses. On other missions, he flies solo.

Photo by Adam Fuller
Photo by Adam Fuller

“In the beginning we were more like the White Stripes,” León said. “Now it’s kind of a mixture, but still related to blues and soul and punk.”

The band plays original songs like "Midnight Rambler (Not in the Mood)" (an unreleased Jiminelson song), as well as covers like "Cocksucker Blues" by the Rolling Stones (unreleased, 1971) and Bob Dylan's "One More Cup of Coffee" (Desire, 1975), sung like frenetic wails by a pack of drunken, beaten hound dogs that belong in some Quentin Terentino movie. The creeping hesitations of "No Comment" moan like a violent southern love song, with crooked strings popping out from the head stock of the guitar and a feeling of dust in the lungs.

Like a stiff cocktail of Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison and Tom Waits, Jiminelson echoes sophisticated murder and bashful thievery as it keeps you crazy enough to terrorize-- and slick enough to avoid conviction.

The band just released their latest album, "Amor del Rey" (Love of the King) in September which features some of the best songs you’ll hear in Santiago. The first track, "El Delincuente" (The Criminal), says it all.

Go get an album, any way you can.

“Jiminelson: Two ‘I’s’, no ‘Y’s’.”


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