Tijuana Steel

"We just did a metal show at Tilly's," says Sergio Carlos, who plays drums in San Diego's Parasitic and Tijuana's Armagedon. Carlos says TJ bars such as the Hard Rock Café, Sotano Rita, Box Underground, and the Voodoo House are increasingly hosting metal shows. No TJ bar regularly hosts live metal, but certain promoters rent out venues every other month or so and book both U.S. and Mexican metal bands.

"My band played El Foro [formerly the Jai Alai Palace] in October with Rata Blanca from Argentina. It was the first time I know that El Foro ever had a metal show."

Carlos, who lives in San Ysidro, recognizes the risk involved with taking band equipment into Mexico. So, he has a method to ensure he comes home with his kit.

"What you do is on the way down you go into secondary [inspection] on the U.S. side. You get all your stuff itemized and registered, then you make a U-turn, get back in line, and then go into Mexico through the declaration line. You have everything registered, and they leave you alone." As far as shakedowns go, Carlos says, "I've never given them one penny. I told them, 'This shit is mine; it is not yours to keep.' " (Carlos speaks Spanish.)

Carlos maintains that TJ cops are no more corrupt than American police.

"I just heard about the cop from El Cajon who would do chicks in the back seat. In Tijuana they do it differently. They get the money and then the money gets them [prostitutes]. Having money is what best works to their benefit."

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