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Los Tres ("The Three Ones") is a Chilean rock band composed actually by four, not three, members: a rock/pop singer and 3 jazzmen. It was one of the most famous, successful and important bands in the Chilean nineties, together with La Ley and Lucybell.
Los tres recorded 9 albums during their first period, from 1982 until 2000, starting with Los Tres: a jazz/folk/rock blending, in 1991. The band dissolved in 2000 and its members continued their musical careers in personal projects, during the following five years.
In February 2006 Alvaro Henriquez, Angel Parra, and Roberto Lindl announced the reunion of the band without former drummer Francisco Molina and the recording of a new album to be published later that year.
During the nineties, massive commercial entertainment (and it must be noted, only bits of culture and art) rised immensely, after that most "left sided" or anti-military cultural expressions were repressed for almost 20 years (see Chile under Pinochet). In this context came Los Tres whose work is based, in contrast to most rock/pop groups from this era, on the folk and popular music of Chile blended with rock and jazz. The members featured an attitude not fond of commercial pop/rock and easy trends. Furthermore, their music and mostly their lyrics, though not following the style, can be considered as "grunge" in spirit. Given this, they were against all odds to succeed.
In 1982, three guys from Concepcion, Alvaro Henriquez, Roberto Titae Lindl, and "Pancho" Molina started a band called Los Dick Stones, whose set list was based on songs by Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, and Gene Vincent. They quickly became very popular in universities, bars, and peñas around the southern city of Concepcion. Given their ambition, to achieve success in the Chilean mainstream, they decided to move to the capital city of Santiago and changed their name to Los Tres. In 1988, Angel Parra joined the band, and even when Los Tres is Spanish for "the three", they decided to keep the name.
In 1991, with the alternative Alerce music label, Los Tres recorded their first album, Los Tres. Despite being only a moderately successful album with songs that mixed Rock, Jazz, and Blues, Los Tres nevertheless became an important album in the early nineties. The single Un Amor Violento, and its low-budget music video became very popular in Chile. The lyrics in some songs of this album (like in La Primera Vez and Flores Secas) talk strongly about their opposition to the Pinochet coup and the human rights abuses during the military regime.
The second album of the band was called Se Remata el Siglo. In 1993, now signed with the Sony music label, the band achieved a much better quality LP. This album showed more rock elements, in the singles No sabes que desperdicio tengo en el alma and El Aval, but without straying too far from their blues influences in songs like Soñe que estabas justo sobre mi and the BB King's cover The Thrill is Gone.
La Espada & La Pared (1995) was the third album of the band. This album was very popular and the most important of their career. Singles like Dejate Caer and La Espada & La Pared were popular in all of Latin America, thanks to the diffusion on MTV Latino and became a Gold record in 46 days. One of the popular songs in La Espada & La Pared was the remake of Buddy Richard's cover 1960 rock tune Tu Cariño se me Va, where Buddy himself did some back-up vocals.
The popularity achieved by La Espada y La Pared, was an important motivation for the MTV network, who invited Los Tres to perform an Unplugged session in Miami. This was recorded on September 14, 1995, with the participation of the Chilean musicians and friends of the band Tono Restucci and Cuti Aste. The performance was just a few months after the death of Roberto Parra, an important Chilean folk musician and an inspiration for Álvaro and the band in general. Therefore, the guys decided to dedicate the Unplugged to el tio Roberto memories, and played two cuecas choras, El Arrepentido and La Vida que yo He Pasado, and the popular foxtrot ¿Quien es la que viene alli? composed by him. This was that the first time a Chilean band recorded an Unplugged with MTV.
Unplugged, released in 1996, was such a success in Chile and Latin America. The LP became 4-platinum album in Chile in just three months and the band promoted the LP with unplugged concerts in the Teatro California in Santiago, with guests musicians like Tono Restucci, Pepe Fuentes, Rabanito, Cuti Aste, and Javiera Parra, Angel's sister.
The following years, Los Tres began a short folk-based era. They performed in February 1996 as a guest band in the Viña del Mar international music festival. The show began with Alvaro imitating the characteristic voice of Antonio Vodanovic, the festival's MC. They played a lot of cuecas by Roberto Parra and received the Gaviota de Plata, an award that is reserved only for the festival's music contest, but the crowd insisted strongly until the band received it.
The band began a new traditional event during the 1996 Chilean national independence holiday, on September 18, by founding a Fonda called Yein Fonda in the park Plaza Ñunoa in Santiago, where they performed during several days folk music with friends. The records of this event were released in a LP called La Yein Fonda later that year. During the following years they organized more Fondas, but with time these became more commercial and not as popular as Yein Fonda.
In 1998 the band recorded Peineta, an album with cuecas choras and jazz huachaca, featuring Lalo Parra, brother of Roberto.
After the great success of Los Tres with La Espada & La Pared and Unplugged, the following studio album with new material came only in 1998. Fome (named after a Chilean word that means boring) didn't achieve the popularity of their preceding albums. The lyrics this time were more poetic and with the exception of La Torre de Babel and Restaurant, not so easy to understand.
During these years Parra and Lindl started a parallel jazz project called Ángel Parra Trío, with the jazz drummer Moncho Pérez and Molina started the Jazz band Los Titulares. Both bands started having great popularity into the Chilean Jazz movement, and this summed up to create internal problems in Los Tres because of the directions that Álvaro wanted for the band.
Their last studio album was released in 1999. La Sangre en el Cuerpo, and didn't enjoy great success in Chile. Even though the album is very different from when the band began, great songs like Feria Verdadera, La Sangre en el Cuerpo and the instrumental El Rey del Mariscal showed Álvaro and the band in a great musical moment that, unfortunately, the Chilean mainstream didn't appreciate.
Personal differences, the poor sales of the latest LPs, and the increasing interest in the personal projects of individual members culminated with the band announcing their separation in 2000. They performed several goodbye concerts in Santiago, Concepción, and other Chilean cities. One of these concerts, in Teatro Providencia, the May 27, 2000, was recorded and later that year released as the live album Freno de Mano.
Aftermath (up to February 2007):
Two years after the break up of the band (2002), a DVD , Vermouth & Noche, was released. It included part of the history of the band, some original videoclips and live performances.
Álvaro started in 2001 a band called Los Petinellis which released an album in 2002 and dissolved in 2004. Later, he started a solo career.
Ángel Parra Trío has recorded in total 8 albums. After Los tres, he issued one live album in 2001 and 2 studio albums (in 2003 and 2005): Ángel Parra Trío 1992 Patana 1995 Piscola Standard 1996 Tequila 1998 No junta ni Pega 2000 La Hora Feliz 2002 Vamos que se puede 2003 La playa Solitaria 2005
Los Titulares have released three LPs: Los Titulares (album) in 1999 - El perseguidor in 2001 and Bipolar in 2005.
In 2006 three of the band's four members announced a reunion and a new album. Álvaro Henríquez, Ángel Parra, and Roberto Lindl are working on the recording of the twelve new songs for the album, due out around August 2006.
In February 2007 the band played at the International Song Festival in Viña del Mar, Chile. Playing to a crowd of 15,000 attendees at the most important Latin American music festival, the band received multiple standing ovations and were awarded the Antorcha de Plata (Silver Torch), the Antorcha de Oro (Golden Torch), and ultimately the Gaviota de Plata (the Silver Seagull), the festival's highest honor.