Banditos

Album: Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy (1996)
Charted: 71

Songfacts®:

  • Refreshments lead singer Roger Clyne wrote this song, which is about a guy who plots a crime spree in Mexico. Says Clyne: "I was using college to support my music habit. I was relatively broke, pretty much perpetually broke, and my friends and I were fantasizing about making a run to Mexico, and maybe on the way we'd want a little money. So we just were fantasizing about how to knock over a Circle K (a convenience store in the US). I lived in almost a co-op of roommates, so we were all talking about how we needed to get down there: 'How much money do we got in the couch? There's 75 cents, let's knock over something on the way. You get this one, I'll get that one.' And so I just strung some chords together and wrote this tune pretty fast one morning over coffee, with a couple of my friends laughing at me. We were big Star Trek fans at the time, so Jean Luc Picard made his way in there. It was just about that simple - just kind of the compassionate bandito. The guy who really wouldn't hurt a fly."
  • This was the biggest hit for The Refreshments, who recorded for Mercury Records from 1995-1997. When the band broke up, Clyne formed Roger Clyne And The Peacemakers and signed with an independent label, which according to Clyne can have some advantages: "It's a lot harder to be independent, but it's also more rewarding. I've never received a royalty check from Mercury Records in 10 years. I'm not calling them unfair, it's just that was the nature of the deal, they get to recoup everything. Make sure you underline everything twice, because when you show up at the Cuban restaurant and the executives are there and you're passing mojitos around, when the credit card comes out it's your name on the account. That's just the way it works, so have fun."
  • Clyne is from Arizona, and Mexico shows up in a lot of his songs along with lyrics written in what he calls "Gringish." Says Clyne: "I've been going back and forth across the Arizona/Mexico border all my life. It doesn't even really exist, you know. It's more a metaphor than a physical thing for me anymore. It's something that doesn't really divide a culture; it defines it, and I'm hoping that any divisions it actually creates sometime in the near future will go away. If I have any influence on artists of the world, I want to be able to break down barriers. I want to be an inclusive artist instead of somebody who's exclusive, and so I use the border as a metaphor quite a bit."
  • Regarding the line, "Meet me at the mission at midnight," Clyne explains, "A mission is basically a church, an old church. Old Spanish churches pepper the southwest - they're all over the Baja and in Mexico and Arizona too. I've grown up kind of knowing where they are, and they're always kind of a sanctuary and an old cultural landmark, so 'Meet me at the mission at midnight' was a very simple alliteration for me to throw in there." (Get more in our Roger Clyne interview. His website is azpeacemakers.com.)

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