Blog Extra: Tito Larriva on Repo Man

Singer and guitarist Tito Larriva has had a healthy musical life in both the early days of the L.A. punk scene, as well as having his music featured in quite a few films. The first cinematic appearance of Larriva's music came as part of the iconic cult film, Repo Man, directed by Alex Cox in 1984, with his band the Plugz supplying both songs for the soundtrack and composing the score.

In more recent years, Larriva's been fronting Tito & Tarantula, whose music has popped up in quite a few Robert Rodriguez films, such as Desperado and From Dusk Til Dawn. Larriva's also scored films as diverse as the rather underrated Kevin Costner golf film, Tin Cup, and the Latina coming of age movie Mi Vida Loca.

Larriva wasn't able to speak with us for the podcast, but was kind enough to answer by e-mail some possible questions about his involvement in Repo Man we'd advanced his publicist.

How did you come to get involved with Repo Man?

Alex Cox was a fan of my punk band, the Plugz (late '70s/early '80s). He was a part of a video the Plugz did at UCLA and after he graduated from film school, we got together and talked about his idea for Repo Man and what direction he wanted for the score: punk Leone ...

What song from the film stands out most in your mind?

There are so many cool tracks it's hard to pick: Circle Jerks, Iggy's Repo Man theme -- hard to pick, really.

Where did the music come from -- your standard set, written specifically for the film, or a combination?

The songs, of course, were from the Plugz records, but the soundtrack I created with my friends Ruben and Stevie. The Plugz cut the tracks and I conducted it to the actual film: no click tracks back then. It was all done live to picture. Still my favorite way of doing things.

Was there music which was left out of the film?

In regard to all the cues the we cut for the film: no, we used all of it. 

Did you have any involvement with the other music from the soundtrack?

I'm not sure what you mean by that. If you mean the score, we recorded all the music in the film but for one cue. It was a pretty cool cue, too, written by Zander Schloss, who was an actor in the movie. But all songs were from pre-existing records of the artists. Iggy's Repo Man theme was the only song that was specifically cut for the film.

How has the music aged for you?

Like a fine wine, my friend -- like a fine wine.

Did the music influence your later career? If so, how?

Very much so. Shortly after the release of the movie, I started a new band called the Cruzados. We had the punk Leone sound, got signed to a major label by Clive Davis, and had a short but very successful run all through the '80s.

What are your current projects?

Tito & Tarantula, of course. Lots of touring, maybe get a new record out before the year's over. A few film projects on the horizon but can't really talk about it to much. You know... I don't want to JINX it, so we'll leave it at that.