Finding the FM dial in Brownsville, Texas, was tough for Albert Besteiro — there wasn’t one.
His parents grew up on Spanish music in the Lone Star border town, but “our generation was more rock ’n’ roll,” says Besteiro, bassist for Austin’s preeminent success story Del Castillo. “I was an American Top 40 fanatic.”
He and his friends devoured AM, and when Brownsville finally got that FM station (consisting of pre-programmed tracks), he spent every Thursday listening to “The Great American Radio Show,” which introduced him to The Police, The Knack and other cutting-edge acts of the day.
“At that time, we would read all the periodicals from front to back, like Hit Parader, etc.,” Besteiro says.
The education served him and the other members of Del Castillo well. In 2000, Rick and Mark del Castillo, both guitarists and singers, wrote an album of acoustic guitar-based material that would form the foundation on which Del Castillo would build. In 2001, they played their first live show in Austin, and released Brothers of the Castle to audiences ready for a spin on traditional Latin and flamenco music.
The band’s latest album, Brotherhood, touches on the universal axiom of unity through diversity.
“We’re all very close. There’s different types of music,” Besteiro says. “There are different religious beliefs in the band. We’ve been able to find common ground. Unity through diversity: That’s our motto.”
Del Castillo’s popularity reached a new high thanks to a series of collaborations with film director Robert Rodriguez. Rick del Castillo played Antonio Banderas’ flamenco guitar parts in “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” the third film in the El Mariachi series, as well as “Spy Kids 3D: Game Over.”
The band’s music is also featured in the final scene of Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill Vol. II.” “We were an unsigned band at the time,” Besteiro says. “It was quite an experience. Snoop Dogg was there.” That exposure has become a primary way people hear Del Castillo.
“I personally ask people, ‘How did you hear about the band?’ And they say, ‘We found you guys through the ‘Kill Bill II’ movie.” Rodriguez also edited the band’s 2004 live DVD.
Del Castillo was scheduled to play an AT&T-sponsored concert at the Democratic National Convention in Denver the night before Worldfest, but campaign finance laws nixed the show. Next year, the band hunkers down with 20 road-tested songs that are in keeping with the anything-goes ethic, covering reggae, salsa and their trademark Latin sensibility.
The band’s democratic mindset even extends to who controls the stereo on tour: the driver, with a few exceptions.
“Every time we make our descent into the Holland Tunnel, I’m pretty insistent that we listen to Dylan’s ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,’” for the last verse: I started out on burgundy / But soon hit the harder stuff / Everybody said they’d stand behind me / When the game got rough / But the joke was on me / There was nobody even there to bluff / I’m going back to New York City / I do believe I’ve had enough.
Del Castillo headlines the Worldfest Main Stage at 9:30 p.m. Friday on the Belvedere.
Free; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. (noon on Sun.)