Hoopla

The Iguanas bask in musical mashups

Dwight Marshall photo

The Iguanas will bring a spicy musical gumbo from New Orleans to CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday (7/9) night. Band members are (from left) Doug Garrison, Joe Cabral, Rene Coman and Rod Hodges.
Dwight Marshall photo The Iguanas will bring a spicy musical gumbo from New Orleans to CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday (7/9) night. Band members are (from left) Doug Garrison, Joe Cabral, Rene Coman and Rod Hodges.

Much has changed in the world since 1989. Three decades ago, the Soviet Union existed; grunge had yet to kill hair-metal; and the internet and cellphones had yet to appear.

However, The Iguanas, which formed 30 years ago, hasn’t made many modifications. Four of the original five members continue to deliver unclassifiable music.

The band’s sound is a hodgepodge of R&B, roots-rock, zydeco, Mexican and Cajun styles — just like it was when Ronald Reagan was President.

“We still make the kind of music that we love to make,” vocalist/saxophonist Joe Cabral said by phone from his New Orleans home. “There was never a stylistic mandate for our band. We were never chasing a trend. We’ve never said we’re a blues band or a rock ’n’ roll band.”

The Iguanas, which also includes vocalist/guitarist Rod Hodges, bassist Rene Coman and drummer Doug Garrison, has always been sonically adventurous.

“That’s the glue that has held us together,” Cabral said. “We’re fans of all kinds of music. We love mashups.”

It’s never been easy for record labels to market The Iguanas, performing Tuesday (7/9) at CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids.

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“That’s the way it is for diverse recording artists,” Cabral said. “One of our favorite bands is Los Lobos, and you can say the same thing about them. You can’t put them in a category just like you can’t put us in a category, but that’s always been fine with us. We just want to play music. You can call it whatever you want.”

The New Orleans-based band believes continuity has kept the act together and enhanced its music.

“I think that has absolutely made an impact on everything we’ve done and what we do,” Cabral said. “We started out as a band with five guys in it, and now we’re down to four guys. That’s the only internal shake-up (that’s) ever happened with this band. Since it’s the four of us, that’s definitely part of the magic of being in this band. I think that’s so when you look at bands that have been around for as long as us or longer. The groups with the same lineup that have been around forever, like ZZ Top, have a little something that’s extra special.”

The Iguanas don’t have a record label but band members still are writing and recording. The group recently released some singles, including the playful and catchy “Needle in a Haystack.”

“We’re still compelled to create,” Cabral said. “We just recorded some new songs with Will Sexton. We’re not going to stop making new music.”

Even though Cabral moved to The Big Easy a generation ago, the Omaha native’s heart still is in the Plains.

“That area speaks to my soul,” he said. “I absolutely love it there. It’s home. Coming back is always special whether, we’re playing a date somewhere in Nebraska or Iowa. What I like about Cedar Rapids is that it’s subtle. There’s a calmness there. The last time we were in Cedar Rapids was two years ago when we played a house concert. It was a great time and I’m sure when we come in this time it’ll be fun like it always is for us in Cedar Rapids.”

Expect a rollicking, unpredictable show from the band.

“We always have a lot of energy,” Cabral said. “We try to play with the same kind of spirit our favorite bands play with like Los Lobos, The Blasters and NRBQ. Each of those bands raised the bar as far as live performance is concerned. Every time out, we try to play on that level.”

Get Out!

WHAT: The Iguanas

WHERE: CSPS Hall, 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday (7/9)

TICKETS: $17 advance, $21 door; CSPS box office, (319) 364-1580 or Legionarts.org/events/upcoming/iguanas/

BAND’S WEBSITE: Iguanas.com

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