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Not to be confused with hard rockers Union, Union 13 is a Latino punk band that came out of East Los Angeles' vibrant alternative rock scene of the '90s. The members of the bilingual outfit, which alternates between English and Spanish lyrics, were only in their teens when they formed Union 13 in 1992 and started playing backyard parties on L.A.'s heavily Latino East Side. Local gigs helped Union 13 members Edward Escoto (lead vocals), José Mercado (guitar), Ben Sandoval (guitar), Gerardo Navarro (bass), and Louie Villareal (drums) gain a small local following, and in the mid '90s, the band came to the attention of an intern at Epitaph Records. Impressed by Union 13's live performances, the intern introduced the five members to Epitaph's president and owner Brett Gurewitz. Formerly the guitarist for Bad Religion, Gurewitz shared the intern's enthusiasm and signed Union 13 to his label in 1996. Epitaph released East Los Presents Union 13, the band's debut album, in 1997; Why Are We Destroying Ourselves? was released in 1998. Youth, Betrayal and the Awakening followed in mid-2000, and found the band down to trio status after the departure of Navarro and Sandoval. Touring followed in support, but as the guys later sat down for their next album, Escoto made his exit. Instead of recruiting a replacement, Mercado simply stepped up and took main vocal duties over, while Rudy Ramos joined in on bass. This slightly altered lineup (Villareal was still manning drums) produced 2003's Symptoms of Humanity, released through Disaster Records. ~ Alex Henderson