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Seguridad Social

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Biography

Seguridad Social comes from Spain, but its 20-year career trajectory follows a common pattern; starting off with punk and ska in the early '80s, the group moved to a harder rock sound later in the decade. Singer and chief songwriter Jose Manuel Casañ dumped the original lineup in 1991, and the revamped Seguridad Social enjoyed a few years of mass popularity before a quick decline and rejection as being old-fashioned by the new alternative audience in Spain. At its early-'90s peak, the quartet displayed a keen grasp of rock rudiments, combining a streamlined sound and smart arrangements with a deft songwriting touch. Seguridad Social was formed in Valencia in 1982 by Casañ, Cristobal Perpiñá (guitar), Emilio Doceda (bass), and Julián Nemecio (drums) in the movida era, when Spanish popular music, art, and culture exploded following the end of the Franco dictatorship. The group spread the word via homemade cassettes and live shows that were reportedly audience confrontations in the grand punk style; one cassette called En Desconcierto was described as live and badly recorded but wild and fun. That attracted the attention of the Valencian indie label Discos Citra, which released a series of singles, including the five-track No Es Facil Ser Dios ("It's Not Easy to Be God") 12" in 1984. The group's first album, Vino, Tabaco, Y Caramelos, was released in 1987 (and reissued on CD four years later). "Que Te Voy A Dar" attracted some national attention and Seguridad Social followed up with 1990's Introglicerina, produced by Andy Wallace; with "Acción" keeping the group's popular momentum building. Casan chose that moment to jettison the original band, and recruited Alberto Tarín (guitar), Jesús Gabaldón (bass), and Rafael Villalba (drums). The new lineup's first effort, Que No Se Extinga La Llama, sported lean, clean arrangements with occasional touches of Latin and flamenco influences. The album spawned a big hit in "Chiquilla" and went on to sell nearly 100,000 copies. 1993's Furia Latina confirmed the band's new mainstream status by reportedly selling 300,000 copies and produced another big hit in "Quiero Tener Tu Presencia." A live album was a logical next step, but Seguridad Social took an unorthodox approach by releasing separate albums simultaneously in 1994. Compromiso, Vol. 1 and De Amor, Vol. 2 featured highlights from the group's early punk phase with the best songs from the its commercial break-out albums. But the band failed to connect with the new indie/alternative audience that developed in mid-'90s Spain. Alberto Tarín left the band and 1997's self-produced En la Boca del Volcán was fatally flawed by studio excess. Neither 1999's Camino Vertical, described as a return to roots with some nods to techno/electronica, nor Va Por Ti, an album of songs associated with pioneering '60s rocker Bruno Lomas (whom Casañ called the Elvis of Spain in an online interview), in 2000, restored the group's popularity. Grandes Exitos: Gracias por las Molestias, a greatest hits package (with extra DVD) was released in 2002, and Seguridad Social's best days seemed to be behind it. ~ Don Snowden

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