vultures It has been on the scene for more than 30 years, contributed classics to the Uruguayan songbook, survived some line-up changes and established itself as one of the most convening Uruguayan rock bands. However, time passes and there is still something they do not achieve.
“It is what we have fought for and what we are going to continue fighting for,” Gabriel Peluffo launches at one point in his dialogue with El País. “The only thing we ask for is to be able to be together for the last 20 minutes before going on stage without anyone coming to tell us or ask for something,” he says, getting a complicit laugh from Orlando Fernández and Gustavo Parodi.
“Seriously, it’s very difficult”, complements, between laughs, Parodi, the guitarist. But beyond any joke about the requests for photographs or videos before going on stage, that “little ritual” -as Peluffo defines- carries the same meaning as listening to a crowd beat their chests while shouting: “Play Vultures, and if I die today, heaven can wait” at the zenith of his recitals. “That moment allows us to recognize the human side of the band and understand why we’re together after so long,” explains Peluffo.
Vultures, like so many other groups, emerged from the pandemic reinforced. In February, after two years of forced hiatus, they celebrated their return with a sold-out show at Parque Roosevelt and gave way to a series of presentations at festivals in the interior. They went through Melo, Minas, Salto, Parque del Plata, Paysandú, Treinta y Tres and even Buenos Aires and did two intimate performances in Montevideo.
When they are asked to choose the recitals that best represent this return, they stay – at least in Parodi’s words – with the Parque Roosevelt and the Parque del Plata. “The first one was glorious, and the other one is among my best touches with Vultures in 30 years,” he says. “It was at the Craft Beer Festival; the night was divine and there were a lot of happy people. It is for these things that the band is made: in reality, we live to play live, not to record songs”.
Tomorrow, seven months after their return to the stage, Vultures will arrive at the Antel Arena – where they already performed in 2019 to celebrate their 30th anniversary – in what will be one of the biggest bets in their history. It will be the official presentation of Popular Mechanics, their 2019 work that won them the Graffiti for best album and band of the year. It will also mark a new way of playing live: they will be in the center of the field on a circular platform that will give the public a 360-degree view. “That gives a special appeal to the performance,” says the singer.
“Our references are The Beatles show at the Washington Coliseum in 1964, and Elvis Presley’s return in 1968,” adds Parodi. And when asked if the image of the group playing among the people carries a special energy after two years of health protocols and distancing, Fernández, the bassist, replies: “That’s not why we did it, but if you think about it that way the idea is good. It is a different perspective that people have, because when you put the stage at the end there are people who are very far away; here you are very close to the public and you bring them closer to the stage. That’s tremendous.”
—A little while ago, Parodi mentioned that Buitres is a band to play live, not to record songs. What makes concerts the fuel for the band to stay together after 30 years of career?
Fluffy: When one does the work it is to touch it. Magic happens when that song that you did in rehearsal and then transformed in the recording studio to turn it into something much bigger, is played live. The band is lucky to have, after many years, a lot of songs that have become what could be defined as emblematic. But the great thing is to have new ones like “The first time” or “December”, from Popular Mechanics, and that people ask you for them. Those new flowers are, to me, what keep you alive because it’s not like we’re playing the same songs all the time. It’s something we’ve learned to enjoy over the years because before, we used to get very anxious having to present something new and feel like they were going to kill us. Now we live it naturally.
Fernandez: Then there is the relationship with the people. I’ve been with the band for less time, but a tremendous relationship was generated: there are people who follow you everywhere and you meet them, chat and give their opinion of the songs. This is very good.
—What does Butires represent at this moment in your lives?
Fluffy: For me it is a whirlwind of emotions, and what this live band gives me is tremendous: my bones, muscles and even my soul vibrate. It is a creative space that I know is difficult and for which I have to fight a lot, but it is very demanding in which I share a group artistic activity and I can express myself. For me, that’s the best.
Parody: For me it’s the same: how lucky you are to get on stage with guys who are in tune playing something that’s good and that’s yours. It means the chance to stand on stage, plug in the guitar and make noise while the other does the same and that one (in reference to Peluffo) is singing and going around like a ram, and people are happy. It’s great that this happens to you because there are many people who fight for it and never achieve it, but it happened to us. It’s glorious to be able to do what you love with guys you get along with and laugh at our flaws with. You can’t ask for much more. On top of that, it all happened in a place where you grew up hearing that you were never going to be able to play an electric guitar or have a rock band…
Fluffy: Or that rock in Spanish was never going to please anyone…
Parody: Of course, in a place where they told us that certain things were never going to be achieved, we had a band, we did well, we recorded a number of albums, we played on a number of stages and people were generated in different parts of the country. What more can you ask for? You can say that we could have gone further, but if we didn’t, it was our fault. It’s good to feel happy and satisfied; that is what Buitres represents, just as Los Stomaches were at the time: doing things despite what they tell you. It’s as simple as that.
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Three Vultures tell how the 360 show that they are going to show at the Antel Arena is going to be