One of the best things about visiting Buenos Aires, Argentina last month after a year’s absence was the opportunity to revisit old friends I had made from the year before.
Some of these were my amigos from “Drop Dead Dreams” who I had interviewed in front of the famous Casa Rosada (Pink House) in the Plaza de Mayo, appropriately enough where so many protesters gather to complain about the litany of injustices still rampant in Argentina (see the 2010 Interview HERE)
Well this year Matyas, Kamo and Pablo asked me if I could join them for a rehearsal and I didn’t hesitate to say “si senor” (yes sir!”). Now did I really need to translate that?
A lot had changed in a year. The band added a bassist, Kamo finished medical school, Pablo is married and oh did I mention.. the band had changed it’s name to “Rebel Robot”.
The thing that hadn’t changed is that the guys still impress me. First of all their English is head and shoulders better than my Spanish. Secondly the dudes are really smart and I don’t say this because they speak English or because Kamo is a doctor.
No, I say this after having interviewed them a couple of times and hearing their well spoken and articulate thoughts on world events, not to mention fascinating insights on Argentina’s own turbulent and fascinating history these past 30 years.
All this in an environment where finding objective journalism from the media is like trying to find pancakes instead of croissants for breakfast in Buenos Aires (ok, ok bad analogy but trust me, finding an alternative breakfast in BA may be possible but it is hard)!
They likened it to those in the U.S. HAVING to depend on “Fox Noise” for information all the time.
Can you imagine the kind of person you’d be after just 3 months of watching nothing but Fox News? Bill O’Reilly and his neck waddle and beady little hate filled eyes are enough to send me in search of Public Television or Animal Planet or to tune the tube off in disgust completely. And that’s without hearing the little scumbag spew.
But imagine if you had no choice? Well evidently that is the case in Argentina where they suffer with 30% plus inflation (some of the highest in the world) while the government officially claims it has no inflation problem (“Inflation? what inflation?”) and all the corrupt media play along. It’s not like you can hide higher prices and flat wages from every taxi driver in the country.
Well, all I can say is thank God for the internet, satellite TV and the guys from Drop Dead Dreams (dammit, I mean Rebel Robot!). Argentina was one of the few countries I’ve visited (and I’ve visited a bunch) where the actions/in-actions of the government piss me almost as much as the U.S.
Incompetence and greed, which is not only on full display daily in the U.S. but is worshiped and idolized in the media, on wall street, etc., has been perfected throughout the years by the corruption of Argentina’s leaders and of course as always, it’s the people who suffer.
They either got “disappeared” during the military regime (when punk was “illegal”) or now that “democracy” has taken hold, they’ve been rewarded with financial crashes and 30% annual inflation that has almost 50% (and growing) of the country living in poverty.
This from a country that was one of the 10 wealthiest in the world not that long ago. It takes some world class cluster fucking up to fall from grace that far that quickly.
Maybe the current administration is turning things around, but the thousands and thousands of children begging and juggling (badly) for change in the street while the President changes 5 outfits a day is really disturbing to me. If you are the President of a country you should at least act like you empathize.
Enough rating from an admitted outsider who only has surface knowledge of the “facts” on the ground. Needless to say “Rebel Robot’s” regaling me with tales from the Financial Crisis in 2001 (they were scheduled to play the day of the crisis in Plaza de Mayo) was eye opening.
Somewhere along the line and in every interview, it does eventually get back to the music. Well the guys will be the first to tell you they are really not a hardcore punk band in the strictest sense and after hearing them play I have to agree. They are more a straight up rock and roll band with a punk attitude and influence. But that’s not meant to diminish the quality of the music.
The music is solid and the lyrics, all in English, definitely have a punk edge to them.
In this land of legendary old school, classic rock bands like Soda Stereo or ska bands like Los Fabulosos Cadilacs or pseudo punk bands like 2 Minutos, the biggest influence for the guys were American and European rock music or even metal; bands like Nirvana or old classic bands like AC/DC, which got me to thinking how much I enjoyed straight ahead rock music in the 1980s and 90s. Hell, I still enjoy bands like Seether and Muse, bands that have, at best, the loosest affiliation of any of the broadest definitions of punk.
So I guess it’s no surprise that I really dug “Rebel Robot”. Their third name in 10 years or so.
Well as important as names are to bands, what is really important is the music of course. But maybe equally important, to me at least, is the band’s energy and they have lots of it, and the good kind too.
After winding up a 4 week trip of almost non stop work, little play and even less sleep intelligent conversation, good music and hanging with some cool cats was exactly what the doctor ordered.
I hope to upload a video of their music soon so you can take a listen to Drop Dead, I mean Drop Dead Dreams.. dammit, I mean Rebel Robot and judge for yourself, so stay tuned!