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Mixing the familiar sounds of Dick Dale, Duane Eddy, and the Ventures, Los Straitjackets create their own version of energetic surf guitar twang complete with Mexican wrestling masks. Los Straitjackets began in the summer of 1988. Eddie Angel (guitar), L.J. "Jimmy" Lester (drums), and Danny Amis (guitar) formed an instrumental trio called the Straitjackets, which played local Nashville shows throughout the summer. After a six-year hiatus, the Straitjackets reunited, added E. Scott Esbeck on bass, and changed their name to Los Straitjackets. In November 1994, the band signed with Upstart Records. They released their first single, "Gatecrasher" b/w "Lonely Apache," on Sympathy for the Record Industry in February 1995. In March 1995, the band's first album, The Utterly Fantastic and Totally Unbelievable Sound of los Straitjackets, was released on Upstart. That summer the band went on its first major U.S. tour. In June 1996, the band released its second album, ¡Viva!; The Velvet Touch of los Straitjackets followed in 1999 and Damas y Caballeros! surfaced two years later. The mysterious musos decided to move on to holiday music the next year, and tackled several Christmas favorites on the fun 'Tis the Season for los Straitjackets! Supersonic Guitars in 3-D arrived in 2003, followed by a collection of outtakes, live tracks, and rarities called Vivos y los Raros in 2004. Twist Part dropped in 2006, followed by the all-star Rock en Español, Vol. 1 in 2007. In 2009, Los Straitjackets returned with The Further Adventures of Los Straitjackets -- a back-to-basics album that nixed guest vocalists and horns in favor of the Straitjackets core rocking guitar sound. 2012's Jet Set, which marked the return of Amis to the band after recovering from a difficult illness, was recorded at the Pow Wow Fun Room Studios in Los Angeles, produced by Janne Haavisto, and featured guest spots from the Basic Cable Horns (best-known for their work on the Conan television show) and Finnish actress and musician Irina Bjorklund.
Los Straitjackets is an American instrumental rock band that formed in Nashville, Tennessee in 1988. Originally comprising guitarists Danny Amis (formerly of Raybeats) and Eddie Angel and drummer L. J. "Jimmy" Lester under the name The Straitjackets, the band split up soon after forming and reunited as Los Straitjackets in 1994 with the addition of bassist E. Scott Esbeck. Esbeck left the band in 1998 and was replaced by Pete Curry. The current lineup also features Greg Townson on guitar and Chris Sprague on drums.
The band has released thirteen studio albums, two collaboration albums and three live albums.
Eddie Angel was a noted rockabilly guitarist, having moved to Nashville in the early 1980s to record and perform with the Planet Rockers. Danny Amis recorded and performed with the Raybeats, then worked as a sound engineer in Nashville. The two formed The Straitjackets in 1988 with Jimmy Lester, a Nashville session player who had worked and toured with Robert Gordon. They played several gigs during the summer of that year, but soon broke up.
In 1994, they reformed as Los Straitjackets, adding bass player Scott Esbeck. Their first album, The Utterly Fantastic and Totally Unbelievable Sound of Los Straitjackets, was released the following year on Upstart Records. In the post-Pulp Fiction surf revival, the group began attracting a following, though their music is not entirely surf-oriented.
Over the next few years, the band developed a cult following through its tight instrumentation and gimmicky stage shows. When performing live, band members dress identically, wearing black clothing, gold Aztec medallions, and personalized Mexican wrestling masks. Amis (aka "Daddy-O Grande") is the only member who speaks, introducing songs in fast, badly accented Spanish.
In 1998, Esbeck left the band during the recording of The Velvet Touch of Los Straitjackets and was replaced by Pete Curry, formerly of the Halibuts, a 1980s surf-revival group. In 2005, Lester left and was replaced by Jason "Teen Beat" Smay.
They've become known as frequent collaborators, recording Sing Along With Los Straitjackets with a number of different artists. They were nominated for a Grammy Award for their collaboration with blues singer Eddy Clearwater, Rock 'N' Roll City.
As time goes on, their stage shows have become more elaborate. Shows frequently feature choreography, guest vocalists such as Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater, Kaiser George of the Scottish band the Kaisers, Big Sandy, and burlesque dancing troupe The World Famous Pontani Sisters. In recent years, they have staged festive Christmas Shows during the holiday season.
In 2010, Danny Amis was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. He was sidelined from recording and touring while under treatment. Los Straitjackets recruited guitarist Greg "Gregorio El Grande" Townson to fill Amis' role during his absence.
In 2012, Amis announced that his cancer was "under control" and he would return to recording and limited touring with Los Straitjackets in September 2012. This coincided with the band's new studio release Jet Set and debut of new drummer Chris "Sugar Balls" Sprague.
Film and television 
Los Straitjackets provided some of the music for the independent film Psycho Beach Party, and appeared briefly in the film. They also recorded two albums of music specifically for television and commercial use, and their work is often heard as filler or background music on radio and television shows.
In the late 1990s, Conan O'Brien had the band perform Christmas music each holiday season on his late-night television program.