Tijuana Sweetheart started out with a humble goal: to play at O’Brien’s.
The Boston punk band performed at the Allston club for their second gig. Then Tijuana Sweetheart continued to crash into loftier goals. The quartet of singer Helen McWilliams, drummer Lauren Recchia, guitarist Keri Medeiros and bassist Julie LaCivita performed on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble, earned two Boston Music Award nominations, opened for of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and has featured his music in video game franchises. “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band“.
All of this happened quickly between 2007 and 2011 or so.
“We’re still hearing from people who knew us through those games,” McWilliams told the Herald. “It was especially weird because we only started playing a few months before we recorded and moved on to ‘Guitar Hero’. We were so green. I always say, ‘We have a lot of heart, and that’ is pretty much everything.”
Tijuana Sweetheart was shipping CDs to other countries but had only played a few local gigs. However, the band called it almost exactly 10 years ago. The four members will celebrate this anniversary with a reunion concert on May 28 in Sonia.
With half of the members living over a thousand miles away, there’s not much hope of the one-night meeting turning into something bigger. But even a gig as big as Sonia still baffles McWilliams.
“Every time I find someone who likes the band, I’m like, ‘But wait, I don’t know them, who are they? “, McWilliams said with a laugh. “The idea of anyone traveling to come here is pretty awesome.
With no new album to promote, McWilliams and Recchia wanted to mark the occasion somehow. Along with local musicians Rochelle Ferguson and Kyle Paradis (because the other two members live so far away), the duo re-recorded “Rock Band” – hit “Seven” – you can hear the track as well as their cover of “Good Head” from Turbonegro on the band’s split EP with Razors in the Night, also featuring Sonia.
“It’s a song people seem to really care about, but we recorded it three months after we got the instruments back,” McWilliams said. “I’ve come to understand why this song means so much to people, but it’s hard with your own work. All I could hear were the flaws of this one.
McWilliams is too critical. The raw, clunky feel of the original was glorious. The new (slightly) polished version is also glorious.
While Tijuana Sweetheart is done (still? still for now?), McWilliams and Recchia start a new band. Meanwhile, Recchia is still killing them in the Downhauls’ punk rock outfit and McWilliams is in the punk skater band One Fall.
McWilliams is excited to embark on these new projects even though she knows she won’t be able to “skip steps” like Tijuana Sweetheart did.
“I don’t know if we knew back then how many steps we had to skip,” she laughed. “I can see that now new groups are starting. There wasn’t a long period where we had to beg people to open for them. A big part of that was that the Boston scene was so welcoming to us, our friends were so supportive. The punk scene was so supportive of an all-female band doing this.
For tickets and more details, go to mideastoffers.com/sonia.