Unofficial biography of Los Prisioneros. Los Prisioneros life and work. Los Prisioneros contributions.
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Los Prisioneros

Los Prisioneros was a Rock en Espanol band from San Miguel, Santiago, Chile completely formed in 1982. They began as a local band during the early 1980s, playing small shows in their neighborhood and high school. After selling a limited press number of their first album in Chile under the independent Fusion producciones label, they signed to EMI in 1985, re-releasing the same album on an LP record and Cassette. From that point on they reached mainstream success in Chile, then Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. Eventually in the early 90's their albums were re-released completely in remastered Compact Disc form, this is when Chile was no longer run by a military regime which oppressed their music in the late 1980s. Throughout the 1990s their music spread out, reaching all of South and Central America as well as some parts of the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

The Line Up

Current and final line up until their dissolution:

  • Jorge Gonzalez - Lead Vocals/Guitar
  • Miguel Tapia - Drums/Background Vocals
  • Sergio "Coti" Badilla - Synthesizers/Programs/Pre-recorded bass

Original 1980s/Reunion 2001-2003

  • Jorge Gonzalez - Lead Vocals/Bass/Synthesizers
  • Miguel Tapia - Drums/Background Vocals
  • Claudio Narea - Guitar/Chorus Vocals/Synthesizers


  • Jorge Gonzalez - Lead Vocals/Guitar/Synthesizer
  • Miguel Tapia - Drums/Background Vocals
  • Cecilia Aguayo - Synthesizers/Background Vocals
  • Robert Rodriguez - Bass Guitar/Bass Synthesizer


  • Jorge Gonzalez - Lead vocals/bass guitar/synthesizer
  • Miguel Tapia - Drums/background vocals
  • Alvaro Henriquez - Lead guitar/background vocals

This formation was used during the time Claudio Narea left/was kicked out of the band but before they re-grouped with Gonzalo Yanez and Coti to record "Manzana".


Los Prisioneros started when Jorge Gonzalez (bass and vocals), and Miguel Tapia (drums) decided to start their own band while still high school students. They began to practice in Jorge's mothers house. Jorge and Miguel were very good friends and Jorge helped Miguel write one of their songs which is now a hit, "Quien Mato a Marilyn". Jorge spent lots of time reading as a young teenager and dedicated a lot of his time to writing lyrics. In the neighborhood lived Claudio Narea, who was going to the same school as them but was a year under them, they knew he was a "rocker" and played, albeit sloppy, the (guitar). They asked him if he would want to play guitar with them. Impressed with the music Jorge composed, he accepted. During 1979-1982 they went through various name changes before settling on "Los Prisioneros", the longest name they had previous to Los Prisioneros was the name "Los Vinchucas". By 1983, they had already played a number of shows in their high school and neighborhood. Around 1983, Jorge went to a university to study music, that's where he met Carlos Fonseca, a young student, although a bit older than Jorge, who was the son of a small record label owner. Through him, they managed to score a record deal with Fusion Producciones. During this time, they finally decided to settle on the name "Los Prisioneros". Carlos became their manager, getting the funds to let the band record in his fathers studio. They recorded a demo which impressed Carlos and the owner of the label, so they decided to record a full length album.

In december of 1984, their first album titled "La Voz De Los '80" was released. The album hardly received any radio airplay, but became emblematic in the Chilean music scene later on. The only song to make the Chilean pop music rankings was "Sexo". It never reached a top ten rank, but was around the 20's which propelled them enough to begin to spread out in some radio airplay. During 1985, when they had signed to EMI, they began to play more shows with around 200+ in attendance. They also had some Chilean television presentations, one of them being Sabados Gigante.

In 1986, their fanbase grew and their second album became a long awaited album. It was titled "Pateando Piedras". It became a double platinum album in Chile. By that time, the group was invited to perform at Argentina's Chateau Rock Festival and later to a similar event in Montevideo, Uruguay. On this album, the recording quality had improved vastly compared to "La Voz De los '80". This album marked the change in their sound. While in "La Voz De Los '80" they had the typical guitar/bass/drums rock outfit (they did have synthesizers on the songs, they were just very low or far in the mix) in "Pateando Piedras" the first song on the album showed the new Los Prisioneros. "Muevan Las Industrias" has nothing but synthesizers and electronic drums, showing that Los Prisioneros were moving on into the more electronic sound of the 1980s rather than staying in the rock genre. Still, the album was a mix of their political and social ideas lyrically with their familiar rock sound and newly flourished synthesizer-layered pop rock. They released a number of singles for the album, and some of them include "Muevan Las Industrias", "Porque No Se Van" and "Quieren Dinero". During this time, they toured extensively all over Chile and they reached mainstream success in the Chilean rock scene.

In 1987 Los Prisioneros would head into the studio to record their third album, "La Cultura De La Basura". After nearly two months of recording sessions, the album was released. The album was strongly opposed by the military regime and Los Prisioneros were blacked out of the mainstream media, affecting sales and limiting the exposure of the album. Much tension yet relief was accomplished during those two months, the band had never sounded so unified. They put out many singles like "Pa Pa Pa", "Maldito Sudaca", "Que No Destrocen Tu Vida" and others. This album was by far their most socially & politically active album lyric wise since "La Voz De Los '80". They toured around South America for months, using the tours to help promote the "No on Pinochet" vote in a national plebiscite on military rule. In 1988, due to not so high of what the label expected in sales, they re-released "La Cultura De La Basura" for the Latin American market with most of the songs re-recorded. They also included the song that would become the first video to be ever aired on MTV Latino, "We Are Sudamerican Rockers". With all this, Los Prisioneros gained a lot of mainstream attention. Towards the end of 1988 personal conflicts began growing between Jorge and Claudio.

In 1990 due to conflicts with Claudio and Jorge, Claudio decided to leave the band. They no longer got along musically, or personally. Miguel Tapia has said he always tried to keep the band together, but this time, he couldn't. It was a bigger problem than could be fixed. The exact reason for why Claudio left is still a little bit unclear to this day. Los Prisioneros went through a rough time without Claudio, but they continued to move forward. Without Claudio Narea, Jorge Gonzalez had the responsibility of recording the next Los Prisioneros album, since he was the main composer Miguel Tapia was not present. He went to the United States to record their following album, "Corazones". It was recorded in Los Angeles, California. After the album was mixed and edited, Los Prisioneros released "Corazones" in South America. When the first single was released, "Tren Al Sur", the song became an instant classic and was a heavily played song on the radio as well as its video on MTV Internacional. The album was very different compared to the first three Los Prisioneros albums, this album was filled with ideas and stories of love and romance, heartbreak, and lust. They released other singles like "Amiga Mia", "Corazones Rojos", and another huge success, "Estrechez De Corazon". It seemed they had left their politically heavy lyrics and rock sound but the truth was, the songs that appeared on "Corazones" were actually the ones Jorge didn't expect to put on the album. Los Prisioneros by now had reached the most mainstream success in their whole career as Los Prisioneros. After a year of non stop touring, they decided to do a "farewell" tour and the group played for the last time in january of 1992 in the Estadio Playa Ancha.

During the years when Los Prisioneros were a defunct band (1992-2000) the remaining band members continued pursuing musical careers. Miguel Tapia went on to form Jardin Secreto, an electronic dance band formed with former Los Prisioneros keyboardist Cecilia Aguayo. They put out two albums with some success. Jorge Gonzalez went on to become a solo artist releasing three albums under his name and one called "Gonzalo Martinez". His solo albums under his name are "Jorge Gonzalez" self-titled in 1993, "El Futuro Se Fue" in 1994, and "Mi Destino (Confesiones de una Estrella del Rock)" in 1999. Claudio Narea formed a rock band called Profetas y Freneticos. They put out two albums and had success, but when comparing success between the three members during their time apart, Jorge Gonzalez maintained most of the success. Narea also put out a self-titled solo album in 1999, rutling in the hit single "Amar es Complicado" which became very popular on the radio. During the defunct Los Prisioneros years, a two-disc compilation titled "Ni Por La Razon, Ni Por La Fuerza" was released in 1996 which was quite a success. It contained their greatest hits and included unreleased songs by the group. Los Prisioneros saw how big they had gotten throughout the years and during the late 90's they would secretly put past problems aside and decide to reunite the group when the time was right, this happened in 2001 announcing the return of Los Prisioneros.

In the year 2001, Los Prisioneros announced that they would reunite, with the original guitarist, Claudio Narea. They announced that they would play a show as the reunion show at the estadio nacional de Chile. The first concert completely sold out so they added a second night at the stadium, on each night over 70,000 fans came to watch the reunited band play again. A total of over 140,000 fans came to the concert, which culminated on a double disc cd and later dvd release of the famous concert. From then on until 2002 they continued touring and played sold out shows all over Chile, South America, U.S., and Canada.

In 2003 the band released their first new album since Claudio Narea left the band in 1990. It was titled self titled, "Los Prisioneros". The reviews for the album were quite mixed, some loved it while others didn't or thought that the band no longer sounded like Los Prisioneros. The album had a whole new sound, but it kept the political lyrics of the band in most of their songs. Basically the first half of the album is very centered in the rock genre while the second half moves into more of an electronic and acoustic folk guitar influence. They made two videos for the album, one for "San Miguel" and one for "Ultra-Derecha". They then began a tour to promote the album in 2003.

The same year, Los Prisioneros played in the famous music festival of Vina Del Mar in Chile. This was a live broadcasted show and a very controversial one. Jorge Gonzalez changed or added lyrics expressing his anger towards George W. Bush, about the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions, and other major things happening in Chile. By this time, Jorge was becoming very outspoken which caused controversy and tension began to become noticeable between Jorge and Claudio. In September, Claudio Narea was dismissed by the band, the remaining members said they talked it out like gentlemen, and decided to keep the reason of his dismissal between the three, and then until the band's final break up in 2006, Los Prisioneros would face on and off disrespect from certain newspapers and sometimes even Claudio. During a press conference to announce Claudio's departure, his replacement, who was called "guest of honor on guitar", and the recording a covers album that would be coming out that same year, the press kept bringing the subject up of Claudios departure; Los Prisioneros became annoyed and told several of the press members that they would not give any details regarding the breakup between Los Prisioneros and Claudio and would not talk about it anymore. Eventually, Jorge lost his temper and knocked down all the microphones and threw a glass jar of water which was on the table onto the ground, then he left the conference and so did Miguel and guest of honor on guitar: Alvaro Henriquez with a big smile on his face and waved goodbye.

Los Prisioneros went into the Rock & Pop studios to record their live studio covers album with guest musician Alvaro Henriquez, of Los Tres fame. The album Raras Tocatas Nuevas features only two original Los Prisioneros songs while the rest are but covers. Some of the covers include "Es La Lluvia Que Cae" originally by Los Iracundos, "Birthday" by The Beatles, "Alone Again (naturally)" by Gilbert O'Sullivan and many others. The album had a limited production and is now a hard to find collector's item.

In 2004, a new line-up with Gonzalo Yanez (as guest musician) and Sergio "Coti" Badilla, released their new album called "Manzana". The album received great reviews, and sales, even though Jorge has said it's been hard to promote the album. The album featured a far more pop rock influence than the previous album. The album sounds as if Los Prisioneros were somehow realizing their roots and in some of the songs, it is evident of past Los Prisioneros albums that came out in the 80's. While the album has a lot of electronic synths and in general electronic influence, each song pretty much stayed in the Rock genre. Their lyrics were a lot more up front than their previous album. They specifically attacked El Mercurio in the song "Mr. Right" about how that newspaper created propaganda against Allende and hinted the Chilean coup of 1973 where Chile's current president (Salvador Allende) of that time was mysteriously killed by (depending on the sources) himself or the army Pinochet commanded. They made a video "El Muro" and began a tour that same year to play in South and Central America, Mexico, the U.S.A. and Canada. During the tours, two more videos followed "Manzana" and "Eres Mi Hogar".

In 2005, Gonzalo Yanez left the band (he was only a guest guitarist) to continue on his next album as a solo artist. The band continued doing tours until the end of 2005, and Jorge Gonzalez has recently relocated and now lives in Mexico. After a dismal tour in early 2006 the band is now on hiatus, and many believe this is truly the end of Los Prisioneros as a band.

In April 2006, former guitarist Claudio Narea reported that he has been approached by Chilean filmmakers flirting with the idea of a biographical film about the legendary band. Narea is optimistic about the project and says he "likes the idea". Other members of the band have not commented on this very recent development. None of the other members have spoke about the film as of september 2007, but it is currently filming and set for a late 2007 early 2008 release.


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See also

  • Jorge Gonzalez (musician)
  • Los Updates
  • Claudio Narea
  • Miguel Tapia
  • Rock en Espanol


  • Grandes Exitos (1992)
  • Antologia (2002)
  • Lo Estamos Pasando Muy Bien - Estadio Nacional (2002)

External links

Other pages about Chilean musical groups

-Chilean rock -Gondwana (musical group) -Hetroertzen -Inti+Quila? -Inti-Illimani -Kudai -Lesbos in love -Los Jaivas -Los Miserables -Los Prisioneros -Los Updates -Lucybell -RIBO -Sol y Lluvia -Vigilante (band) -Weichafe

Other pages about Chilean rock music groups

-La Ley (band) -Los Blops -Los Jaivas -Los Prisioneros -Los Tetas -Los Tres -Lucybell -Weichafe

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Los_Prisioneros

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