Merauder’s Jorge Rosado on Growing Up a Latino Metalhead
Merauder are about to release their long-awaited 'God Is I' album Aug. 11, and the metalcore underground is buzzing. Since the band's inception, they have had a bumpy road that included label woes and bad business decisions. But in 2006, they were dealt their hardest blow when founding guitarist Javier 'Sob' Carpio passed away at the age of 33. Instead of cowering to all of the struggles, Merauder have channeled all of the anguish into the best album they've done since their debut.
Noisecreep recently spoke with vocalist Jorge Rosado about growing up as a Puerto Rican on the tough streets of Brooklyn, N.Y. and being a metal and hardcore fan. The singer spoke candidly about his youth, but it was his criticism of the Puerto Rican underground scene that really took us by surprise.
Was it tough growing up Latino and being into metal and hardcore? How did people in your neighborhood react to it, and how did your family take it?
Well papa, I grew up on Meserole St. between Bushwick and Humboldt Avenues during the 70s and 80s, so s--t was nuts! Every few blocks there was another vicious gang, but that wasn't even the worst of it. Things at home were horrible. There was physical abuse, and my mom and I never knew if we were going to make it out of that house alive. It was also really hard for me on the streets, because I was more white looking, so kids would go, "what's up white boy!" Which later became my nickname, and I heard it everywhere I went whether they were just saying hello or looking to scrap with me. Meanwhile, I was more of a sp-c than 95% of them. It seemed like more than half of my boys spoke Spanish all screwed up, but I knew it well because we spoke it a lot at home.
So it was hard growing up but not because of metal or hardcore. Most people didn't give a f--k what you listened to, because there was so much s--t going on and at any moment things could get really ugly. Sometimes there was the typical, "You listen to that kill your mother, kill your father s--t." But overall, most people didn't really mess with you about it.
What drew you to the music in the first place?
I don't really know. Things just seemed to fall into my lap. I think God or some kind of positive force made it happen because like I have said before, I never thought I would live this long. I never planned any of this but I am now (laughter)! The fact that it was so aggressive, it helped me get through all of the issues I was living with. It was a great way to release my pain before I actually started releasing bullets. It seriously pulled me away from the ghetto without actually leaving.
You've always been very proud of your Puerto Rican heritage and I remember seeing you at the Limelight in New York City years back, and you even had flags on stage. Can you talk about your travels there and your impressions of the metal and hardcore scenes there?
I just love my Borinquen. I was born here, but Borinquen was born in me. All Latinos are taught to remember our heritage and the struggles our people have had. In terms of the heavy music scene in Puerto Rico, I really can't say much. We played there and nobody came out! I don't give a f--k, and I'll just say that motherf---ers out there are misinformed. They'll come out and support a band that straight sucks but they happen to be from N.Y.C. I'm talking about groups that can't even get people to come see them locally, but for some reason they kill in Puerto Rico. These are bands that don't even have Latinos in their lineups. Meanwhile, I'm of Puerto Rican descent and no one came out to see us there.
I'm one of the people who gave everyone that karate style in the pit. Nobody was doing that back in the day! Me and a handful of kids did that because we were smaller but didn't want to be screwed with. Not only that, but Merauder are kings and creators of metalcore. I'm the illest Boriqua out there and we're repping for all Puerto Ricans, but we don't get any love over there? That hurt me really bad. I took it personally, and that's why I won't return to Puerto Rico to play.