“By the time they recorded Cuacha!, the Sidewinders had almost figured out what kind of band they wanted to be. On some cuts here the Hüsker Dü-goes-West mix of acoustic textures and roaring guitar is almost perfect. ‘I Guess It Doesn’t Matter’ and ‘Blood on Our Hands’ are punk-pop masterpieces driven by Rich Hopkins’ snarling guitars and Dave Slutes’ country-inflected but brash singing… The album is worth having for the first released version of ‘What She Said,’ a song that the band released on three different albums, each time rocking a bit harder and at greater length. The version here is a dark, mournful folk-rock piece.” —AllMusic
“More than one observer of the Arizona rock scene has noted that had the Sidewinders not been derailed by legal and label problems, the Tucson quartet might’ve beaten neighboring Tempe’s Gin Blossoms to the brass ring. Or maybe it was just a case of the too-good/too-early American band syndrome in the conservative pre-Nirvana era. Formed around the songwriting core of guitarist Richard Hopkins and vocalist David Slutes, the Sidewinders quickly garnered local acclaim and recorded “Cuacha!” for Hopkins’ own San Jacinto label. The album has its share of jangly folk-rock moments instantly familiar to any fan of mid-’80s R.E.M. Yet its traditional feel—part psychedelic pop and part dustbowl blues—suggests influences stretching back at least two decades.” —Trouser Press
Take a look at a quick list of "Best Albums” from 1987 and you quickly get a sense of the musical mood of the year: the Joshua Tree by U2; Appetite For Destruction by Guns N’ Roses; Sign ‘O’ The Times by Prince; You’re Living All Over Me by Dinosaur Jr.; Document by R.E.M.; Sister by Sonic Youth; Darklands by The Jesus And Mary Chain; Diesel And Dust by Midnight Oil; Come On Pilgrim by Pixies; and Pleased To Meet Me by The Replacements. It’s not a stretch at all to plunk the Sidewinders “Cuacha” right amongst those records—both in terms of quality and “sound.”
The Sidewinders formed in the spring of 1985. The group released “Cuacha!” in 1987 (and again in 1988), and subsequently signed to RCA/Mammoth Records, with whom they released two full-length albums, 1989’s “Witchdoctor” and 1990’s “Auntie Ramos’ Pool Hall.” “Witchdoctor" cracked the lower echelons of the Billboard 200 on the strength of two rock radio hits. The band scored exposure on MTV and VH1 and embarked on a worldwide tour. But the Sidewinders were soon sidelined due to legal problems stemming from a challenge over the band’s name. As the Sand Rubies, they released an album on Polydor/Atlas in 1993 (at one point, Pearl Jam served as their opening act). However, the strain of the legal tussle led the Sand Rubies to dissolve during a tour in 1993—just as two other Arizona rock bands, Gin Blossoms and The Refreshments, attracted mainstream attention.