Tomorrow, Thursday December 12 (Tacoma)
@2nd Cycle, 8pm
Dirty Joe and the Brickwalls- seattle 12/7/13
Gag @ The Nut Hole (pt II)
Warm MIlk, Locker Room, Haunted Truck Bed
When I was 14 I was garbage, I was a mish mash of strong emotions. ——
I had moved to the southside of San Jose, a nicer suburban part of San Jose during 7th grade. I had previously gone to school in downtown San Jose where the majority of students were brown and I only hung out with mini gangsters and laughingly claimed to be a norteno because all my school friends were and wanted to be down. It was an extreme culture shock moving just 10 miles south, who would have thought!
It was the beginning of a spiral down down the drain for my brain, but felt more like a long tumbly roll down cement stairs. As much as I hate to admit it, I feel like MOST problems start with being race related internal or external. I felt so out of place I am part white but am BROWN and will always be seen as BROWN. My brother says “We are both, none, one or the other at all times” and this fucked me up. I was lost alone and searching for something that was remotely similar to me in anyway, and if I found one piece, I grabbed a hold and clung with all my might, no matter how counterproductive it was to my ‘growth’.
My family at this point was already falling to shit, watching drugs, abuse and mental health literally decay my parents and whatever structure we had built, had me running as far away as possible in every way. There are so many things I am not proud of from this time 7-10th-ish grade. The ways I tokenized my brownness to appease my white friends, the ways I talked and treated others and the ways I distanced myself from my brothers and sisters (to this day it is still hard to be close with them). It’s hard to find something to make you feel good about yourself, when you have no idea what you’re looking for.
I was just some chubby awkward brown kid hanging in the drama room listening to a boom box blasting A.F.I with my small group of mostly white punks and skaters. I had no idea what the fuck I was doing or why, I was just angry and sad and did not feel right. I felt really good about my friends, but always had this looming feeling like I was circling them and not actually in the group with them. They all seemed so certain, and I always (still) was so UNCERTAIN. I was a piece from a different puzzle that found its way in their box.
All the music I heard and saw was mostly white, all my first shows were mostly white, and all my friends were mostly white. I was casting a wide net but just catching the same bullshit over and over again. WHERE WAS MY ANTHEM!? WHERE THE FUCK IS MY IDOL?! WHO ALSO LIKES BLACKSTREET AND ALSO NAPALM DEATH? There were seriously so many times I wanted to stop being ‘a punk’ because it didn’t match me. BAD BRAINS is cool, but I hate reggae and also secretly also had kissed 2 boys in highschool and heard they were against that. CRUDOS is sick, but I don’t speak spanish and there are all those white punk bands that get all the attention when you are just getting into punk and they are wearing swastikas as joke or to be edgy? I thought maybe its not for me, or else these chumps wouldn’t be wearing all that shit.
I’d think why the fuck am I trying on all these costumes and just getting beat up all the time for being a ‘rocker’. All the street punks look so slick in there tight jeans and cut off shirts. I was sporting bright green hammer pants (seriously) and a over-sized sweater and homemade patches.
One day I stumbled onto a show downtown in some backyard, setting up were two brothers, Danny and Paul. they had this monstrous pieced together amp set up with all these abnormal speakers where it looked like they made them at home out of car stereo parts, the drums were beat to shit and set up so low. Paul saw me standing there and just immediately started talking to me about rap metal and how it sucked but that he liked the cure. I had no idea who he was or why he started talking to me, but he was brown and spoke less like a gangster and more like me. They started up and opened with a NAPALM DEATH cover! They were a wall of noise Danny hit so hard and was fucking wild, they had this connection to each other like nothing else fucking mattered. I IMMEDIATELY HAD GOOSEBUMPS. I had never seen brown folks play grind and looks so NOT PUNK, and they did not give a fuck. after completely annihilating the drums to the ground and scattered everywhere they just looked at each other and stopped. Danny walked to the mic with the biggest smile and thanked everyone for coming in english and spanish.
It was that day that I found what I was looking for.
Nowadays I am not one for ‘heros’ or ‘idols’, but they were/are my Kathleen Hannah, my Ian Mackaye, my light at the end of a tunnel. Because of GODSTOMPER I have this idea of punk that we all have the capacity to be influential, to change someones life, but mostly they showed me that you can torture yourself finding a space for you in a place that is systematically NOT or you can make your own space and invite whoever the fuck you want to share it with you, even if just for 2 hours at a time in a backyard or a basement or a hall.