Tacos!: Fun-loving two-piece bring the tasty metal

Cake, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Cranberries, Meat Loaf, Korn, The Black Eyed Peas… these are just a few of the bands I can recall off the top of my head that have names which are somehow related to things I would put in my mouth. Anyway, as good as those foods may be, nothing beats a taco, amirite? Tacos are like the best thing in the world. You know what else is the best thing in the world?! Heavy metal. This is exactly what the band Tacos! brings to the table.

Tacos! is a Seattle two-piece consisting of Don Stewart (aka “Coach”) on guitar and Lupe Flores on drums. Both members share vocal duties.

The band began when Flores moved to Seattle and started playing with Stewart and others in a band called Swayze. When that group disbanded, Flores and Stewart started jamming together and then going out for tacos at the legendary Rancho Bravo in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

“Our post practice taco-eating at Rancho Bravo would include important ‘life talks.’ Real talk, you know,” Flores said.

After some real talk, the band got down to business and started booking a flurry of shows and recording a full-length self-titled album. Their first single “Cobra” is a brutal onslaught on crashing cymbals, machine-gun snares, and thick-as-molasses down-tuned riffs and guttural vocals. Their sound is very reminiscent of PNW heavy hitters like Helms Alee, Lozen, the Melvins and Big Business, which is no surprise as the band lists them as some of their main influences.

Flores and Stewart first became friends when Stewart attended a Sugar Sugar Sugar show, which Flores drummed for. It was with Sugar Sugar Sugar that Flores first learned to play the drums (she had played percussion before that, but never on the kit). Seeing her play drums now is a whole different beast than it was back then. Her drumming has become much more technical, on-point and just gnarly.

“Tacos! allowed me the freedom to go completely ape shit,” Flores said. “I get to play all sorts of weird time signatures, sing my heart out, write parts with Coach, and beat the living shit out of the drums, which is very therapeutic to say the least. Tacos! is my outlet for complete freedom.”

What is really surprising –especially live – is how full and gloriously savage the band sounds like, considering they are a two-piece.

“One of the most exciting things to me about seeing a band live is witnessing the relationship of the band members. When there are only two people, that relationship is more apparent,” Flores said. “We depend on each other heavily because if one of us falls off, it’s going to be that much more noticeable.”

Stewart added that touring and songwriting are easier with only two people involved.

Being together in a band is one thing, but it can only really work (especially when it is just two people) if the members are good friends, which seems to be very much the case with Flores and Stewart.

“Coach and I have been dorky homies for awhile now, spent many, many hours in the van together, and I think that’s apparent when you see us play live,” Flores said.

Stewart echoed the same sentiment when asked about the best thing playing with Tacos!: “I love writing and playing music with Lupe. ‘Nuff said,” he said.

LIVE SHOW: Catch Tacos! at The Shakedown on Sept. 12 debuting the vinyl release of their self-titled album, with Lozen and Bright Weapons. See tacosband.bandcamp.com.

Published in the September 2014 issue of What’s Up! Magazine