Pistoleros: Death, Drugs And Rock N’roll (2022)

Mark and Lawrence Zubia grew up in a large Mexican-American family in Arizona and started their music careers in their dad’s mariachi band before forming several bands in Tempa, the same scene that contained Jimmy Eat World, Gin Blossoms and The Refreshments. In fact, Pistoleros was the band that ex-Gin Blossoms leader Doug Hopkins formed after leaving that band, but Hopkins had addiction issues and took his life six months after starting their band.

The movie that director Steven Esparza was making is way different than what he planned. On the first night he met the band, thinking he was capturing their comeback, the band was already split. Esparza told AZ Central, “No one knew Lawrence had fired him at that point, that Mark was upset and they were just basically going backwards again.” That’s because Lawrence and Mark were estranged for nearly a decade after what Lawrence describes as a six-year, self-destructive downward spiral fueled that started after recovering from back surgery.

Even though the brothers would work out their demons and their band, sadness came back into their lives when on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, Lawrence died of pancreatitis after contracting pneumonia while recovering from surgery.

This film is a rough but necessary watch. The Zubia Brothers had a love and hate relationship that also had to deal with being in a band, touring and drugs. Through meeting and interviewing Lawrence and Mark and their fellow bandmates and other bands in their scene, as well as journalists, friends and even doctors, you gain the full and complicated story while getting to learn why their music was so important.

You can get this from MVD.

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