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By Benjamin Villegas
Translated from the Spanish by Jay Noden
Foreword by Beto O'Rourke

In a state rife with caricatures, Benjamin Villegas’ "anti-biography" explores the history of a Texas border-town punk band that is too good to be true.

Publication Date: August 17, 2021

Paperback: 9781646050611

eBook:  9781646050628

Limited-edition "Rock and Lovets" Vinyl

Bundle: Paperback edition of ELPASO and limited-edition vinyl


In 2015, Benjamin Villegas traveled to Texas in an attempt to write the biography of a music group that could have changed the history of rock: ELPASO, a long-since defunct Chicano band from the U.S.-Mexico border with a punk sensibility and little left to remember it by but a suitcase of fanzines and one-off recordings. 

This is the story of one of the many bands that will never appear in rock n’ roll history books, but are at the core of the scene; a band that earned its stripes from sweaty fans and self-taught rock aficionados in basements, garages, and small venues across the country. This is the story of two kids who came together to embrace the punk ethos of the 80’s and be a part of the rock n’ roll revolution sweeping the US, a world of the Ramones, Black Flag, and, of course, ELPASO.


"A wild, imaginative ride based around the musical history of both my musical and literal birthplace. So we’ll crafted and detailed that I’m now having a difficult time discerning whether it did all indeed really happen. Highly recommended." –Jim Ward, lead singer of Sparta and cofounder of At the Drive In

“[ELPASO] builds to a robust conclusion, and the blistering descriptions of live performances are top-notch.”Publishers Weekly

"Did I really see ELPASO or do they just represent the hundred or so bands I witnessed on a near nightly schedule when I was growing up? I’m not exactly sure, but Benjamin Villegas takes me right back to those extraordinary days in this enchanting book, so vividly I can smell the players & the venues!” — Ronnie Barnett, bassist for The Muffs

ELPASO may be a faux biography, but it has enough historical details to make it an essential book on Texas music. On a universal level, the story perfectly captures fleeting young-adult friendships and rebellious phases, particularly among social outcasts.” —Jeremy Hallock, The Dallas Morning News

"The amount of research that went into this book is unfathomable, and it truly brings the El Paso punk scene of the 1980s to life in a way that nobody has or has even thought to do before." –David Fletcher, Dallas Observer

Biographical Note

Benjamin Villegas was born in Spain. He was named after Fantastic Four's The Thing, and grew up in a household full of comics, music, and movies that shaped his taste for American pop culture. He is a musician, illustrator, audiovisual producer, and graphic designer. He is also the author of Huele como a espíritu posadolescente (Smells Like Postadolescent Spirit).

Jay Noden is a Spanish translator who has worked on a variety of titles both literary and design/architecture-related. He lives in Barcelona.