Los Lobos multi-instrumentalist Steve Berlin said this song was inspired by the area surrounding Sound Factory West Studio, where Los Lobos recorded Kiko: "It was written about all the homeless men on the street outside the studio which was 'on the nickel' in downtown LA."
In our interview, Los Lobos' drummer and songwriter, Louie Pérez, said he tapped into his childhood memories when writing the lyrics for this song.
The song title was taken from the 1938 film of the same name, starring James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart.
Kiko is arguably Los Lobos' most experimental album to date. Pérez told us the band were positively flabbergasted upon hearing the record in full for the first time: "I remember when we went to the studio to hear the playback of the whole record - it was all done, it was all sequenced. We all went to this studio in Hollywood and sat back and listened to it, and really when the record ended, I don't think there was a word said by anybody. We all got up and walked out, got in our cars and drove home. It was just like, 'Wow'... There was this incredible sense of gratitude that this happened, whatever it was."