Ozomatli © Dustin Downing

L.A. based Latin, hip hop and rock collective Ozomatli may have lost against their old friends Talib Kweli & the Rhythm Roots Allstars at the Red Bull Soundclash in Dallas, Texas, last month, but apparently they had an ulterior motive for taking part: they wanted to recruit former band member Ulises Bella back into the fold.

The two-time Grammy Award-winning band reckoned that the competition would be the perfect opportunity to invite the occasional band member (the "solo Ozo"), back into the group in time for a massive pre-Christmas celebration to mark their 15 years together as a group.

“We played a show just so we could steal Uli,” reveals Ozomatli’s bass/marimbula-player Wil-Dog Abers during a photoshoot in a back alley outside a sound studio somewhere in Dallas.

“Ozomatli’s always been… kind of a competitive band. Our roots go back to when Uli was in two bands.” continues Wil-Dog. “He was in our band and the band that we were opening up for at Viper Room.  And our whole purpose was to steal Uli from this band he had this allegiance with… and we did.”


null © Dustin Downing

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