Updated: 02/02/00

If you are a fan of the Rock In Spanish scene, Jaguares need no introduction. Formerly known as Caifanes, vocalist Saul Herrnandez is one of the most respected talents in the field. The music of Jagaues is thoughtful and mysterious -- perhaps like the talented Mr. Hernandez himself. We recently had the opportunity to speak with the the man who has fronted two of the most successful Spanish rock bands, and found his passion for music and life to be stronger than ever. Read on for more about the musical creature known as Jaguares.

Under The Blue Of Your Mystery Mystery (Bajo El Azul De Tu Misterio) Ė where did you come up with that title for your CD?

Itís actually about the questions in my mind. We have to be with fears and deal with our own traumas and all of the mysteries that exist within us. And I think all that is like a mystery. Itís just so amazing Ė itís like a library filling your mind. And on this record Ė on this search I think we are always under the blue of that mystery. I was diving, and when I was so deep, like at 170 feet Ė the floor ends and it becomes a wall. It was the first moment I said "Now I know where the record is going to be coming from." Itís amazing, because at that deep, the current takes you down and pulls you in. And itís like a challenge to go back up again.

What made you decide it was time to release a live album?

We feel good together now. And the way we were playing and the relations in the band and the arrangements in the songs Ė I think for the first time in our lives, everything was together. We recorded so many concerts in other times and they were good. But now it feels so different and we have a little more to give to the people. And we feel good and want to bring the good vibrations to the people.

You also recorded new songs for the album. What are some of these tunes about?

Some of them are written about being beneath the sea. And Adios is about how one day weíre going to leave this planet Ė weíre gonna die. And one of the best things is to fight the ego and donít fear death. Itís about conquering death, and Adios is about that. It talks about how I went so far from here. Everything around me was just a pretense. A lot of the songs that I wrote were during my surgeries when I couldnít talk Ė theyíre about the silence. Itís strange, I knowÖ

What do you think of the state of todayís Rock In Spanish scene?

I think thereís a lot more options than a few years ago. But also, I think we are hurting to be professionals. But itís all pretty new, as far as the record business. We donít have the culture like you guys in the 60ís and 70ís. You had the most raging music alive in history. In our countries, the organizations didnít exist. But now we come from the underground Ė from the streets and we are opening the doors and we are learning. I canít expect to much about whatís happening now. Time is going to help us a lot to see how much we could do to develop our music and ideas. Now, itís too premature to say if itís good or bad Ė the most important thing is that it exists.

Is it still exiting for you to tour and meet the fans?

Yes, I like it a lot. We love to play. When we donít play, we start to feel bad Ė like junkies from playing. Our story with the fans is so different. We create a communication with the fans that is strong. Sometimes they come and say "I donít like this" Ė instead of "everything is perfect," our fans tell us what is wrong. And the things that we think are right, we change. We canít fool ourselves, so we listen to them and we grow up together. From that point of view, I think itís great that we can have that communication with the fans.

What was it like working with producer Greg Ladanyi (The Eagles, Jackson Browne) on this album?

Greg is wild. He has great taste. He really knows the meaning of sound. He knows the way he can push you to get more. Heís great Ė I like him. We also worked with Don Was. And he was different. He doesnít see just the production Ė he tries to go way beyond it. He tries to see the spirituality and the nest performance out of you. When I was working with him (on the first Jaguares album), I had tumors in my vocals chords when I recorded. And he said "Donít worry about it! It doesnít matter! Imagine you are a painter. You can see the blue! Imagine the color of the sky and what color it use to be." We worked on the vocals and it was a great experience! He went way beyond the music.

How does it feel to be nominated for a Grammy? You have a very good chance of winningÖ

It feels good. At the beginning, I thought somebody was joking was us. We are so far away from that circumstance and suddenly we were in that circumstance. I thought they had made a mistake here. I think itís for all the Latin bands. Now the American marketing producer is opening the door and giving us the respect. But winning, I donít know. Cafť Tacuba is a great band who was nominated a few times before and maybe now is their time. This is our first time. I feel like this is school and itís our first time. Weíre going to celebrate and have a good time. Even if we donít win, we win. And if we win, weíre going to celebrate more! But being nominated is nice.

Have you ever thought about recording an album in English?

Not now. You know why? Because I donít know much about the English language and I canít sit down and work my ideas in English. And I donít good singing things I donít understand. Maybe if I studied and understood the meaning of the language Ė what to think when you have to say something Ė the right words. I want to know that. We are talking now, but making a song is so different. And Spanish is my own language Ė and I like it a lot Ė itís so deep and so big. So maybe, but I feel good singing in Spanish. The only thing we have now in our culture is our language Ė I wanna keep it.

Do you have any messages for your fans here in the Los Angeles area?

We never give message Ė we always say "Donít listen to anybody! Just do what you have to do!" But I want to say thank you to all the fans who have supported our career. I know everybody says that, but itís true. We eat, thanks for them! We have some great respect for them.