It was 1997 when the band released its explosive debut album, “Donde jugaran las ninas?” (Where Will the Girls Play?), which became a smash hit despite being banned from Mexican record stores for its cover — a picture of a girl in a Catholic school uniform, her underpants pulled down to her knees.
Inside, there was plenty more to stoke controversy: loud, sarcastic, obscenity-laced songs in a mix of Spanish and English that reveled in sex and violence, advocated killing racists, and railed against Mexico’s corrupt politics.
The album captured the tumultuous moment in Mexico, then on the cusp of ousting the deeply corrupt Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) after 71 years in power.
Twenty years on, the five-time Latin Grammy winners are marking the anniversary with a tour of Latin America and the United States that kicks off on September 1 and a documentary about their career, “Dias de peda y de cruda” (Days of Benders and Hangovers).
Sitting on a giant circular bed in a Mexico City “love motel” outfitted with a jacuzzi and slides, they spoke to AFP about their determination to remain rebels, the relevance of their first album today, and their view that the more things change, the more they stay the same in both Mexican and American politics.
Q: Why is Molotov so provocative?
Ismael “Tito” Fuentes, guitarist: “We came of age at a terrible time in Mexico, the 1990s. That made us rebels, because we disagreed with what was happening (under one-party rule)…. It forced us to be this way. And now things are even worse.”
Q: So is that rebellious side still relevant two decades later?
Juan Francisco “Paco” Ayala, lead singer: “You can see it at our concerts, people sing those songs like they were brand new. The problems they talk about still exist. We can just update the songs here and there, the issues are exactly the same.”
Q: If you could send a message to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, what would it be?
Miguel Angel “Micky” Huidobro, bass: “I’d have a long list, but the first thing would be that he has to listen to the people and show results on all the things he promised…. How is it that things keep getting worse in this country, on every level, political and social?”
Q: In songs like “Frijolero” (Beaner), you sing about the fraught relationship between Mexico and the United States. What do you think of that relationship today, and Donald Trump’s border wall plan?
Randy “El Gringo” Ebright, drummer: “I think he’s trying to externalize America’s problems. The problems are domestic and internal. It all looks really opportunistic to me.”