Caution! Don't miss Very Be Careful's next SF gig

Very Be Careful enjoys love, laughter, life, and snuggling in stairwells
All photos by Alexis Hunt

Who do you drink to? I guess it really depends on what you're drinking. Moonshine: The Devil Makes Three. Thug Passion: Tupac. Shot of a Patron, beer back: Very Be Careful. And hell no I'm not getting mom on you -- that's the vallenato five-piece from Los Angeles that's ready to party with you next week at The Rickshaw Stop (Thurs/15). VBC, formed by brothers Ricardo (accordian) and Arturo (bass) Guzman, sticks pretty close to the sounds that originated in their hard-partying parents' homeland in the sun-soaked Colombian Caribbean coast. Their music sticks close to the tunes from down south, but something in that onstage swagger – that's all Californian. I interviewed the two the other day over the phone, and I must say, I like the cut of their jib. Anyone whose professed purpose in life is to play about getting “the most out of life and love” while everyone boozes and lights up the dancefloor is very okay con esta chica.


San Francisco Bay Guardian: Your shows are meant to be real, real fun. What are the key ingredients to a good party?

Arturo Guzman: Dancing and drinking is always fun.


SFBG: Well, yeah. What do you like to drink?

Ricardo Guzman: You mean during the show or during the day? I like Sapporo, that's my favorite beer. At the show, it's Patron with a beer back. We go through phases. And about your last question, I think at the shows, people enjoy our enthusiasm, and we really enjoy theirs.


SFBG: Who writes your songs?

RG: My mom writes a good number of our songs, and I write the lyrics for many. The band itself writes the music ... I don't even know how, Sometimes at the show.


SFBG: Wait, your mom writes your songs?

RG: Her name's Daisy Guzman. She was inspired by us playing this music and she said songs started coming to her, so she'd pass them on to me. Some of our best songs are by her. She'd write songs about her experiences and imagination – she has quite a few now, she really enjoys them. 


SFBG: Does the music come to her? Just the lyrics?

RG: She'll sing [what she's come up with] sometimes and I'll work with that. It's awesome. Everybody loves those songs, they're special to us. 


SFBG: Very Be Careful has been around for awhile, what's your secret of longevity?

RG: We started in '97, so [we've been together for] 12 years I believe. But those are secrets that we can't really reveal. We're like a family, you know what I mean? I would say that's one of the biggest things that keeps us together. Like a family you have your ups and down. There's no weird, deep things going on. Well I guess there is, we're like a family. It's like a survival thing

VBC also enjoys props. And sunsets. 

SFBG: What do you see in the future of Very Be Careful?

AG: We've already seen it. It looks great!


SFBG: Where are you getting your musical influences from?

RG: the music comes from Colombia, a town called Valledupar in Northern Colombia. It's spread through the coastal town -- and through the world. It started with accordian, guacharaca -- a scratching instrument typical to Colombia – and the caja. That's the drum. That's of course our main influence, but there's a lot of influences that maybe people don't see in our music, but maybe they will in our performance. We all like hip hop, rock, jazz music. 


SFBG: What draws you to vallenato, besides your cultural heritage?

RG: I think it was luck. We started hearing records, and it kind of fell in our laps in a way. I was drawn to it because a lot of the accordion music I heard when we were younger I didn't like. But now I see, wow, this is really up my alley.

AG: It's local, village sort of music that is a part of other styles of music that we like. It's music of the working class. What its like to be poor, but still get the most out of life and love.

RG: When we first started playing it we noticed the reaction people had to it from all walks of life, I was astonished – I had found what I want to do in life. 


SFBG: What's the message that people are going to take away from a Very Be Careful show?

RG: I want people to remember as much as possible the next day. And to remember that they've had a great time, and hopefully their feet are tired from dancing.

AG: Yeah, but I don't know how anyone's gonna remember. The thing about the live show we do, everyone surrenders to it. We work together on this abandoning and surrendering. It's an in-the-moment thing, all you can say to people is, this is amazing. And besides that, we just want people to look into the roots of this music. It's not really into the radio, even on the Internet. And, you might also meet someone nice on the dance floor.


SFBG: Any other words for your San Francisco audience?

RG: We hope that since our time up there is limited that everyone comes out and support Very Be Careful.

AG: Don't worry about working on Friday. That should be the least of your worries. Take the day off. Whatever you need to do, get your groove on. We might not even make it to Friday.


Very Be Careful 

feat. Franco Nero and Intl Freakout Djs Special Lord B, Ben Bracken, and Phengren Oswald

Thurs/15 8 p.m., $10

The Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011


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