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The Last Goodbye: Los Temerarios Close 40-Year Career With Record-Setting Tour

The Last Goodbye: Los Temerarios Close 40-Year Career With Record-Setting Tour

As the 18,000 fans gathered at Mexico City’s Arena Ciudad de México on Feb. 14 screamed at deafening levels, the duo Los Temerarios ran onstage — Adolfo Ángel from the left, Gustavo Ángel from the right — and embraced briefly but fiercely upon meeting in the middle of the vast platform.

Then, Adolfo, 60 — dressed in black pants and shirt and light blue jacket — took his customary place behind an array of keyboards while frontman Gustavo, 55, dressed in a shining black and red embroidered jacket, picked up his microphone.

Without preamble, he sang the first notes of the first song of the brothers’ last tour, Hasta Siempre (Until Forever).


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After more than four decades together, 41 entries on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart and an astounding 46 entries on Top Latin Albums — more than any other Latin act in history — Los Temerarios is calling it quits.

“Tomorrow is the beginning of the end of an era for Temerarios,” Adolfo says over a bottle of wine in Mexico City the night before the tour opens, his eyes welling up with tears, in his first and only interview since the group’s announcement of this finale. “I’m a little sensitive,” he adds with a soft, embarrassed laugh.

Adolfo, the “big” Temerario, is over 6 feet tall and brooding. It’s not unusual to see him get emotional. After all, this is a group whose career has quite literally been built on love songs, all penned and produced by Adolfo since he was a teenager doing music with younger brother Gustavo, the dashing, charismatic singer with the high, expressive tenor.

But during a U.S. tour in August, Los Temerarios made a surprise announcement on social media:

“With the love that has united us since we were kids, the same that we feel for the vocation that we’ve had the privilege of working in for more than 46 years, we want to share that we’ve made the difficult decision of separating, closing one of the most important and gratifying cycles of our lives,” the brothers wrote. “Everything we express from this moment on will be in the form of music and in our next shows where we’ll be giving you the best of us.”

Los Temerarios’ Hasta Siempre tour played CDMX Arena in Mexico City on Feb. 16.

On the eve of their farewell tour, Adolfo stayed true to his statement, refusing to further explain the group’s split except to say they were ending Los Temerarios at Gustavo’s request and that things were not just amicable, but brotherly.

“My brother and I were clear that [beyond the statement] we were keeping things between him and me, and I want to respect that, and I’m sure he does, too,” Adolfo says. “We will finish this tour, each of us will go our own [professional] way, and I will always wish my brother the very best.”

For now, they’re making good on their promise to fans by bringing their best to the stage. On Feb. 14, backed by their longtime five-piece band, Adolfo and Gustavo performed for well over two hours as the crowd sang along. The brothers sold out five consecutive nights, a record for the venue.

“Having a single artist play five consecutive sold-out [shows] goes beyond anything we’d done before,” says Alejandro Arce, general director of tour promoter Zignia Live, which also owns Arena Ciudad de México. The promoter initially announced nine tour dates across Mexico for Los Temerarios, “and sales were extraordinary,” Arce says. The group hadn’t toured the country in over a decade, and the response has been phenomenal, spurring the addition of three more dates at the Mexico City arena (for a total of over 120,000 tickets sold), as well as three sold-out dates (30,000 tickets) at the Arena Monterrey. Not that any of this was a surprise. Last year, the group grossed $12.3 million and sold 125,000 tickets to 14 shows, according to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore.

All told, in 2024, Los Temerarios will play over 50 arena and stadium dates across Mexico, Central America and the United States — including Madison Square Garden in New York and two nights apiece at Houston’s Toyota Center and Chicago’s Allstate Arena, with more cities expected to be announced. The U.S. leg of the tour is promoted by Zamora Entertainment and, for West Coast dates, in partnership with Frias Entertainment.

“Los Temerarios is a group that has transcended generations,” Arce says. “Very few groups in this genre can fill stadiums. It opens this kind of music, which is completely different and with a completely different message, to new generations.”

The duo won the top Latin albums artist of the year honor at the 2005 Billboard Latin Music Awards.

The duo performs wistful and passionate love songs with arrangements that veer from very traditional Mexican — cumbia, ranchera and the keyboard-heavy sound associated with Mexican romantic groups — to sophisticated pop, a duality the band uniquely achieved in its sphere.

Originally launched along with a cousin in the late 1970s as Grupo la Brisa, the group was always spearheaded by Adolfo, the budding keyboardist-composer who penned songs for his brother. Their romantic grupera musica was beginning to surge in Mexico, with dozens of romantic groups, including Los Bukis and Bronco, gaining traction. Los Temerarios had an additional asset: the entreprenurial Adolfo’s keen business sense.

He eventually changed the duo’s name to Los Temerarios and started releasing music on his own label, AFG Sigma Records, in 1989 while also promoting the band’s shows. That DIY approach served the group well. Save for a brief moment at the very beginning of Los Temerarios’ career, the brothers have always licensed albums as opposed to signing with a label, keeping the rights and control over their masters. As for Adolfo’s publishing catalog of hundreds of songs, it has always been administered by their own publisher, Virtus, the successor to an earlier company, ADF, set up in 1989. This year, the group is signing its first publishing administration deal, with Kobalt.

Twelve years ago, the brothers went completely independent, launching their own label, also named Virtus, and taking over their own promotion and marketing. Their cousin Mayra Alba, who has a master’s in music management from the University of California, Berkeley, has managed them since 1996.

“Their music doesn’t stop evolving,” Alba says. “As artists, they’ve done what they want yet have continued to be authentic, connecting with a multigenerational audience and reaching every possible milestone.”

The results speak for themselves. In addition to its record number of entries on Top Latin Albums, the band has placed 41 tracks on Hot Latin Songs since 1990. Of those, 17 went top 10 and four hit No. 1.

On Latin Airplay, the group has 15 top 10s and four No. 1s, and on Regional Mexican Albums, its 47 entries best those of any group. Los Temerarios is one of only five acts to have achieved eight No. 1s on Top Latin Albums. Only two acts, Marco Antonio Solís and Luis Miguel, have achieved more (12 and nine, respectively).

The steadiness of the group, which has been performing since 1980, made the news of its split even more surprising. And yet, so far, Los Temerarios’ farewell tour has been joyous — and has garnered an overwhelming response.

For these shows, Los Temerarios upgraded the production, adding sophisticated visuals, courtesy of longtime collaborator and video director Carlos Pérez. And aside from Gustavo’s vocals, Adolfo, for the first time, is also singing a short set of songs. It may be a harbinger of what’s to come.

“I’ve never been afraid of experimenting. Then all these energies come in and try to say no to you, but I never listen to that,” Adolfo tells Billboard. “I listen to my heart. I’ve discovered that’s the key: Listen to your heart.”

I would love to hear the story of how you got your first record deal as a teen.

Yes. It was a time of dreams. A time when you saw a lot of artists and groups that inspired and motivated you and you wanted to get to those same stages and take a positive message to the hearts of those who heard you. I went to every single label at the time, and they all said no. I would take our little demos, and they would all say, “This is all very good. Come back in February.”

And then it was March. So, since no one wanted us, we decided to make our own albums, using our gig money. I’d take [our own records] to the radio stations and say I was the radio promoter. I was a teenager. I’d sit there for hours, and sometimes they would see me, sometimes they wouldn’t. I’m not complaining. It’s part of something that now I understand had to happen.

I also took the records to the record store, on consignment. If they sold them, they paid me; if not, I had to pick them up. And when we started to sell 5,000 copies and I had to say, “Hey, send me another thousand,” the people from Sony — CBS then — came over and we signed a contract. Didn’t even look at it. Just said “Órale” [“OK”] and signed. That was around 1983.

You began your career by hustling and doing everything on your own, and now, as a superstar, you’re still independent.

Yes, and that has been important, positive for our career. It made us learn and took us down a road that has been a great gift. Because in the beginning, we knocked on doors and they’d say, “Come back next year.” Until I realized that we had to do it ourselves. And I did it.

Adolfo Ángel of Los Temerarios perform during their Hasta Siempre Tour at CDMX Arena in Mexico City on Feb. 17.

Did you have a mentor?

No. It was always the desire to make it [that motivated me]. And I would look for the way. I’d pick up the phone and find the label, find the radio station. Then I would get in the pickup truck and drive wherever I had to go. And finally, it would happen. Little by little we became known, at least in our area.

But my dad was a very important example in my life. He still supports me. Without my dad, it would have been much harder, because he loves music. For example, when we had to work the fields and I didn’t want to go, I would pretend I was asleep. And when they were all gone, I’d go look for my music teacher in Fresnillo, Zacatecas, and the next day, my dad wouldn’t say anything. He allowed me those peccadillos. He bought me my first keyboard, a red organ. And then, when I outgrew it, he bought me the new model.

Early in your career you launched your own publishing company, and now you’re signing your first administration deal, with Kobalt. Have you considered selling your catalog?

No. My songs have a very special value. It’s not just the money. If I can take them by the hand the way I think is best — these songs that came from my heart — well, I’d rather do that than give them to someone in exchange for a check. That’s not what I want to do. At least not now.

A decade ago, you were on top of the world with chart success. You last released an album in 2015, then the pandemic interrupted your cycle. What did you do?

We were always doing something. Even though we haven’t released a full album of new songs since 2015, we have a few singles. I’ve always been patient in recording. We usually put out new albums every four, five years. I always thought the quicker you recorded, the quicker your fans got tired. I still think that, even in the era of TikTok. That’s why there’s so much space between albums. And resisting that pressure has given us results, even when people start to say things like, “Hey, I don’t hear your songs.”

The industry has changed, and now the cycle of releases is very fast. Did that worry you?

Some artists release songs every week, every two weeks, but I don’t think those songs transcend. They’re very ephemeral successes. I believe that if you give [the process] respect, if you take the time and make a great production and you feel satisfied with it, very great things can happen. Maybe something works on TikTok with the chorus for a little bit, but I don’t think that’s the path. I like things the old-fashioned way, where you go to the studio, you have a great console, you record a great production with the best engineers and the best musicians and not only with a computer. That’s the music I like to make, that lifts my soul.

Gustavo Ángel of Los Temerarios perform during their Hasta Siempre tour at Arena Monterrey in Monterrey on March 1.

Your music is romantic by definition. Are you dismayed at how some artists today portray love in their lyrics?

Not dismayed, but I was surprised to hear how music is being used to denigrate women. That had a big impact on me because I do the opposite. I try to say beautiful things about the most beautiful being in the universe; or at least, in my universe. But I respect everyone, and every artist will do their own thing. Me, I’ll continue writing my love songs, and I prefer to make a woman feel like a queen or a princess rather than something else. Maybe I’m being cheesy, but I like that. But I’m not criticizing anyone. Everyone does their own thing.

You wrote a lot during the pandemic, and most of the songs haven’t been released. Now that you’re splitting up, what do you plan to do with them?

I wrote them for us, thinking of my brother, of course. Even when I write on the piano or guitar, I do so in my brother’s tone, which is a higher range than mine. Then, when my brother decided he no longer wanted to be in Temerarios, the songs were put on pause. I don’t know what I’ll do with them. But now, we’re going to finish this tour, everyone will go their own way, and I will always wish my brother the best in life. I think my brother is a very talented man, he has a lot of charisma, people love him a lot, we have had a great career together, and we have the affection of the audience, both of us. He’s going to do very well in whatever he decides to do, and I’ll continue making my songs as long as I can.

Are you working on a solo album?

I am not. I love to sing, but I never used to do so onstage. Because I always felt very comfortable behind my keyboards, with my brother in front. Behind the keyboards I can tell you a story, talk with you; it’s like a protective cape where you feel very comfortable. That’s the way it was, for decades. Then, on this tour, I said, “OK, I have to do it.” And I sing a set of three songs. The only intent is to respond to the audience’s love. And I liked it. A lot. Now I feel very comfortable. But, right now, I’m always writing. I feel most happy and comfortable writing for Temerarios. And if my brother isn’t there anymore, I’ll think about doing it for myself.

What would you like your legacy to be for Mexican music and Latin music overall?

I feel we’re leaving behind a beautiful message for everyone who has ever listened to us, and that’s enough for me.

This story originally appeared in the March 30, 2024, issue of Billboard.

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