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La Plebe was formed in early 2001 by childhood friends Guadalupe (Lupe) Bravo and José (Augie) Aguilera. The duo was joined by Mike Raytis (percussion), Alberto Cuéllar (trumpet), and Mark T. Harris (drums) and subsequently started playing shows around the San Francisco Bay Area. Raytis left at the end of 2001. Soon after, Alberto's brother Antonio joined to play valve trombone, thus rounding out the horn section, and solidifying the line-up for the next 2+ years. From early 2002 through mid-2004, La Plebe played 180+ shows throughout California, and into Mexico, playing Tijuana, Ensenada, Tecate, and Mexicali. They also twice ventured further south into central Mexico to play in Mexico City, Guadalajara, along with many other smaller cities.
In 2003 La Plebe released their first recording, Conquista 21, A 6-song EP which included the popular "La Posta" as well as the cover "Vahos Del Ayer", by the late Argentina punk band Flema. In 2004 they release a 4-song EP named Exploited People, produced by Faith No More's Billy Gould.
Augie left the group in September 2004, and Adam (Pags) Paganini joined La Plebe in October 2004. The band started writing all new material. Their first official show back was in March 2005 at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, California, after which the band got back to playing shows as much as possible, including more tours of central Mexico, multiple ventures into The Balkans (since 2006), along with a couple tours of Western Europe (since 2008). At their first ever show in London in 2008, they were joined on stage by The Clash's Mick Jones to sing the song "Guns Of Brixton". Notably, in their 10 year history, La Plebe has played in 17 (non-U.S.) countries in total, but in only 6 U.S. states.
In July 2005, they released the 8-song EP Entre Cerveza, Ritmo, y Emoción..., again produced by Billy Gould but this time engineered by Jamie McMann. Songs included "Que Barbaridad", "Enfadada", and "Hijo Mio", as well as a cover of the Ewan MacColl song "Dirty Old Town" (known best as done by The Pogues).
2007 saw the release of their first full-length album ¡Hasta La Muerte!. Again produced by Billy Gould and engineered/ mixed by Jamie McMann, the album was released on Red Scare Records in the U.S., and on Gould's own record label Koolarrow Records in Europe. The album contains show favorites "Mi Tierra", "Pinches Fronteras", "Plebe Por Vida", as well as the band's version of the Louis Jordan song "Run Joe".
On July 27, 2010, La Plebe was voted "Best Poder to the People", an editors' award in the San Francisco Bay Guardian's Best of the Bay issue.
The band released their most recent full-length recording Brazo En Brazo on November 9, 2010 through Koolarrow Records. This was the first time that the band released a recording on vinyl.
In 2013 they released a shaped 7" picture disc on Pirates Press Records entitled Been Drinkin' Again. The record is in the shape of a Mexican lotería card (artwork by Johnny "Peebucks" Bonnel of Swingin' Utters; colorized by Josue Rojas). The record also comes packaged with a full lotería set.
The band played their final show on October 15, 2016.