Qué Onda Guero
By: Beck Hansen, John King, Mike Simpson

Written by: Beck Hansen, John King, Mike Simpson

Alternate Titles:

a.k.a. Guero

Versions:
  1. Qué Onda Guero (3:29)
    Available on Guero.
    Credits
    Recorded at: The Boat
    The Dust Brothers: Beats, Mix, Producer
    Danny Kalb: Engineer
    Beck Hansen: Mix, Producer, Sounds, Vocals
    Charlie Capen: Sounds
    Paolo Diaz: Vocals
  2. Gameboy / Homeboy (2:48)
    Available on Girl and 2 other releases.
    Credits
    8-bit: Remix
    Beck Hansen: Vocals
    Paolo Diaz: Vocals
  3. Qué Onda Guero (Islands Remix) (2:29)
    Available on Guerolito.
    Credits
    Tim Kramer: Bass (Upright)
    J'aime Tambeur: Clarinet, Drums, Glockenspiel
    Patrick Gregoire: Clarinet (Bass)
    Natalie Alcorn: French Horn
    Nick Diamonds: Guitar (Acoustic), Keyboard / Synthesizer, Vocals (Background)
    Islands: Remix
    Beck Hansen: Vocals
  4. Qué Onda Guero (Leaked Version) (3:45)
    Available on Guero.
  5. Qué Onda Guero (Money Mark Remix)
    Credits
    Money Mark: Remix
  6. Qué Onda Guero (Nortec Collective Remix) (4:44)
    Available on Guerolito.
    Credits
    Nortec Collective: Remix
  7. Qué Onda Guero (Surround Mix) (3:29)
    Available on Guero.
Unofficial Versions: [show/hide]
  1. Guero (Rock the Guero) (3:47)
    Credits
    PsychoKinetic: Remix
  2. Que Onda Guero (Team Shi Latino 96.3 Remix) (2:58)
    Credits
    The Mae-Shi: Remix
  3. Que Onda Guero (Team Shi Latino 96.3 Remix) / Que Onda Guero (Islands Remix) (2:38)
    Available on Three Steps Beckwards.
    Credits
    Beck Hansen: Mashed
    Ian Wardle: Remix (Mashup)
 
 
Lyrics:
Qué Onda Guero [Version (a)]:


Que onda Jose?
Que onda Jose?


See the Vegetable Man
In the Vegetable Van
With a horn that's honking
Like a mariachi band
In the middle of the street
People gather around
Put the dollar-dollar-dollar in the can
Ay wey, que onda?
TJ cowboys hang around
Sleeping in the sidewalk
With a Burger King crown
Never wake 'em up
Mas cerveza
Til the rooster crows
Vatos vergallos
Que onda guero?
Que onda guero?
Que onda guero?
Que onda guero?

Mano blancos roll with crowbars
Sing rancheras on cheap guitars
Abuelitas with plastic bags
Walking to the church with the Spanish candles
Dirty borracho says 'que putas!'
Andaley, Joto, your popsicle is melting
Run better run, da doo run run
Mara Salvatrucha in the midnight sun
Guero, where are you going?
Que onda guero?
Guero, where are you going?
Que onda guero?

Rampart boys with loaded rifles
Guatemalan soccer ball instant replays
Mango ladies, vendedoras at a bus stop
Sing a banda macho chorus

Que onda guero?
A donde vayas
Que onda guero?
A donde vayas

Que ??? es ese?
Alla en la en Pico
La Pico y Vermont
Hey vamos a jugar futbol hay en el Griffith Park
Hey Lacoro
Yeah now I'm going to LACC, man
I'm taking a ceramics class
See the Vegetable Man in the Vegetable Van
James Joyce
Michael Bolton!!!


Que onda guero
Hey where are you going?
Que onda guero
Hey where are you going?

Hey what's up guero?
"You doing pushups?"
No te veo guero!
El guero!
Que Pasa
Otra vero guero
I dunno I saw a puppet at Tang's
with a mullet and a popsicle.

Hey Guero
Que locura!
Chico

Hey Guero
Yeah Bro?
Hehehe, footlong?
Let's go to Cap'n Cork.
They have the new Yanni cassette
Gameboy / Homeboy [Version (b)]:

Qué onda José?
??

See the Vegetable Man

See the Vegetable Man
In the Vegetable Van
With a horn that's honking
Like a mariachi band
In the middle of the street
People gather around
Put the dollar-dollar-dollar in the can
Ay wey, qué onda?
TJ cowboys hang around
Sleeping in the sidewalk
With a Burger King crown
Never wake 'em up
Mas cerveza
Til the rooster crows
Vatos vergallos
Qué onda guero?
Qué onda guero?
Qué onda guero?
Qué onda guero?
Qué onda guero?
Qué onda guero?
Qué onda guero?
Qué onda guero?

Mano blancos roll with crowbars
Sing rancheras on cheap guitars
Abuelitas with plastic bags
Walking to the church with the Spanish candles
Dirty borracho says 'que putas!'
Andaley, Joto, your popsicle is melting
Run better run, da doo run run
Mara Salvatrucha in the midnight sun

I saw a puppet at Tang's, a mullet and a popiscle

Qué onda guero?
Qué onda guero?
Qué onda guero?
Qué onda guero?
Qué onda guero?
Qué onda guero?
Qué onda guero?
Qué onda guero?

Rampart boys with loaded rifles
Yea, bro, hey guero, ???
Rampart boys with loaded rifles
Yea, bro, hey guero, let's go to Cap'n Cork's
They have the new Yanni cassette

Rampart boys with loaded rifles
Guatemalan soccer ball instant replays
Mango ladies, vendedoras at a bus stop
Sing a banda macho chorus

Guero, where you goin'?
Qué onda guero?
Guero, where you goin'?
Qué onda guero?
Guero, where you goin'?
 
Qué Onda Guero (Islands Remix) [Version (c)]:

See the vegetable man
In the vegetable van
With a horn that's honking
Like a mariachi band
In the middle of the street
People gather around
Put the dollar-dollar-dollar in the can
Que onda?
TJ cowboys hang around
Sleeping in the sidewalk
With a Burger King crown
Never wake 'em up
Mas cerveza
Til the rooster crows
Vatos vergallos
Qué onda guero?
Qué onda guero?
Qué onda guero?
Qué onda guero?

Mano blancos roll with crowbars
Sing rancheras on cheap guitars
Abuelitas with plastic bags
Walking to the church with the Spanish candles
Dirty borracho says 'que putas!'
Andaley, Joto, your popsicle is melting
Run better run, da doo run run
Mara Salvatrucha in the midnight sun
Guero, where are you going?
Qué onda guero?
Guero, where are you going?
Qué onda guero?

Rampart boys with loaded rifles
Guatemalan soccer ball instant replays
Mango ladies, vendedoras at a bus stop
Sing a banda macho chorus

Qué onda, Jose?
See the vegetable man
In the vegetable van
With a horn that's honking
Like a mariachi band
In the middle of the street
People gather around
Dollar-dollar-dollar in the can
Ay wey, qué onda?
Qué onda, Jose?

Qué onda guero?
 
The Song:

"Guero" is a portrait of the colorful East Los Angeles neighborhood where Beck was born, and lived in as a teenager. A New York Times article about Beck began with this:

"As a teenager, Beck Hansen would board the bus in a Latin neighborhood just south of downtown Los Angeles, where he lived with his mother and brother. He was a pale, blond, slightly built kid, with narrow shoulders and no hips. Mostly, he was ignored, but occasionally, someone on the street would shout, ''Guero!'' (''White boy!'')."


The song contains very picturesque lyrics, painting a picture of that neighborhood scene with short strokes. Lots of color, people yelling things, bustling chaos everywhere.

The recording is made even more vivid with all the homemade samples. As Beck explained this in Filter Magazine, "I went down to record street sounds from this neighborhood I grew up in, because the song felt kind of empty. In the song, I was talking about all these impressions from the neighborhood, just snapshots, so we went down there." Not only did he capture street sounds, but Beck got his friend Paolo to shout things. Initially, Paolo was shouting stuff that you might actually hear on the street, but soon it got more "fanciful and ridiculous," such as the shouts of "James Joyce!" and "Michael Bolton!" Beck recalled that often the residents of the neighborhood would call him "Axl Rose" because he was a white kid with a guitar, and this felt along those lines. Beck did appreciate the surreal "Michael Bolton/James Joyce collision moment," as he called it.

The song itself feels pretty simple and straightfoward, even considering all the samples. The groovy beat mimics the street sounds in the same way the words do, and it all seems like fairly typical Dust Brothers fare.
 
Live:

Played live 181 times:
Earliest known live version: January 28, 2005
Latest known live version: December 11, 2016

Beck has pretty much played "Que Onda Guero" quite regularly since he released it.

2005-2007 Guero/Info tour

Live, "Que Onda Guero" feels and sounds effortless. Much like the record, actually. The groove is a bit more hypnotic and seductive, but not much has changed. Played almost every night in 2005, and maybe 2/3 of the time in 2006-2007.

2008-2009 Modern Guilt tour

Still regularly in setlists, Beck continued to do the song, playing at around 30 of the 50 shows.

2012-2013 pre-Morning Phase tours

After a couple years off, Beck returned to touring, doing a minimal amount of shows (15 in 2012 and 25 in 2013). "Que Onda Guero" continues in the circulation: 4 times all in Australia in 2012, and then 10 more times in 2013.

2014 Morning Phase tour

On the Morning Phase tours of 2014, Beck played "Que Onda Guero" at about half of his shows. That seems to be the norm now. The only real change they made was to the ending of the song, which on record is a longer effect-filled groove. On stage this year though, they cut it pretty quick, doing the chorus twice and then ending the song.

2015-2016 post Morning Phase tours

Beck kept these years simpler, playing 30 shows in 2015 and 32 in 2016. Again, "Que Onda Guero" floats in about half of the time in 2015... but climbed back up and was played almost every show in 2016.

The song continues to be one of Beck's top live choices.
 
Notes: