It was during the last gasp of the hard-copy DIY movement when the Chinese Love Beads’ original lineup last played together. In late-1996, the Beads (save drummer Tony Leal) moved from El Paso to Burque. Myspace would launch in four years and become popular in 2003. In the meantime, ephemera was booming. Flyers were everywhere. Leal has since relocated to Los Angeles, where he plays bass in Mexican Summer-signed bedroom pop project Part Time. He recalls the Beads’ marketing and booking during their time in El Paso. “There were a lot of phone calls. A lot of physical mail,” he says. Nowadays, Leal rarely employs snail mail in booking: “Venues just want a link to your music. And they can hear it instantly.”
After a 17-year hiatus, it was surprisingly easy to reconnect as a band. Ybarra compared the process to riding a bicycle and was reminded that the trio were friends first: “We’ve all changed, but we’re the same dudes who spent years listening to records together.” Novelas feels good about the sound, too. He notes that—while they’re performing their original material—they’ve all matured as musicians and the sound is a lot tighter. Leal is now a bassist, but he says his drumming muscle memory kicked right back in. In addition to the Beads’ catalog, expect punk covers from acts like Teengenerate.
Chinese Love Beads reunite in Burque at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) on Saturday, Jan. 5, at Captain America's fifth Garage & Wax night. Novelas will pull double duty, as he reunites with drummer Nate Daly (Fort Hobo, ex-The Scrams) in rock and roll duo Elevator Boys. Re-formed cowpunk quintet Jonny Cats will also perform. DJs are Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Keen & Mysterious, Kevan and The Huron Valley Listening Club. Redlight Tattoo will offer $20.13 tattoos to attendees.