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Los Lobos

Louie Perez's father died of a heart attack when he was 8, so it became his mother's solemn mission to keep him occupied. Her first idea was to sign him up for baseball. "I had the shortest career in baseball history," Perez recalls. "I lasted one game." Then, she dragged Louie and his sister to see variety shows at the Million Dollar Theater in downtown Los Angeles. That went over much better. Perez spent hours watching the variedades, or Mexican variety shows, starring mariachi bands and singers on horseback. "I remember this guy came out on a stage with these lights just gleaming off these discs of silver," says Perez, 59, drummer, guitarist and songwriter for the veteran LA rock band Los Lobos. "(Other people) go, 'Oh, OK, my first experience was going to some rock show.' Nah, my first was this Dali-esque, surreal experience."Read the full Los Lobos interview 7:30 p.m. Friday at Park West, 322 W. Armitage Ave.; $60; 773-929-1322 or