Los Gallos was formed by Manolo Gonzales in 1999. He had seen Flaco Jimenez perform in Paris the year before and fell in love with the music.
Manolo already played bass, banjo and guitar, so he had a bajo-sexto made by a Parisian luthier, which he learned to play watching videos of Max Baca. He and his friend, Thierry Carpentier, who had just started playing accordion, began playing songs learned from Flaco CDs between sets at their regular Disneyland Paris music job. Another friend, David Rolland, joined them soon after, playing bass and singing harmony.
David and Manolo decided to go to San Antonio the following year for the Tejano Conjunto Festival. Manolo bought a bajo-sexto from the legendary Don Martin Macias and all the CDs he could find, returning to Paris with a stack of over 40 new Tex-Mex albums. Joined by two other friends, they began playing the music seriously, at some of Europe’s biggest festivals, opening once for Dwight Yokam. They quickly developed a strong reputation and were twice invited to return to the Tejano Conjunto Festival not as spectators, but as performers. Flaco Jimenez heard one of their original songs, “Tan Sola”, and liked it so much he recorded it on his album Squeeze Box King (2003).
After ten years of touring, and two albums, Thierry took a break to start a family. Manolo and David started playing Cajun music, which carved a steady path for them for another ten years, though there were occasional sold-out Los Gallos reunion concerts during the hiatus.