So what’s it like to be the only punk band in the entire country?
Probably not that different than we’ve all felt at one time or another. At this moment I am sitting in an undisclosed cafe in South America typing this up, listening to some horrible Fito Paez caterwailing over the loudspeaker (Does he ever sing in tune?)
Why don’t coffee shops ever play Social Distortion, Black Flag or even some Manu Chau (I’m in Latin America after all). Hell, I’d settle for some latter day Green Day at this point.
But the point is as most punk rockers go through their day to day lives in the civilian world, they can probably feel pretty isolated and alone when it comes to their musical tastes. Maybe that’s why punk shows feel so good. Finally, you’re surrounded by people who’ve heard of artists beyond Lady Gaga, Kanye/Jay Z, Coldplay, etc, etc.
And its not just the coffee shops. Worse offenders are the gyms, the undisputed kings (or queens) of cheese.
No matter where in the world I am, the gyms the world over play the same high energy, over produced garbage that forces me to plug the i-pod into my ears full blast prior to arrival… not so much to tune in some good punk music but to tune out the Richard Simmons aerobics class on speed garbage. Yep, I’ve worked out in a lot of gyms the past 3 years while traveling and I can safely say that music in gyms the world over… suck.
Now what if you lived on a Caribbean island nation of only 1.3 million people and said island nation’s cultural identity is almost 100% tied into it’s own unique musical genre of which there is incredible national pride?
If you’re a band like Anti-Everything, the only punk band on the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, where the 1st thing that comes to mind is Carnival, Steel Pan Calypso and Soca Music, it’s gotta pretty hard holding down the scene right?
Well, maybe not. Maybe not if your as talented as these guys. I mean I think that to even be a punk band in a place like T&T means that you have to be good. If you weren’t you’d never survive in the first place.
Ever been to the desert and noticed how the flowers that grow among the barren landscape seem to be the prettiest? Of course they are the hardiest as well.
Whereas in the U.S. or UK with their established scenes, a mediocre and halfway dedicated band could play some gigs, put out some CDs and do all the things that punk bands regularly do… in Trinidad, where your feedback form people ranges from “What the hell is dat?” to “Why you playing dat devil music boy?”, you have to not only be dedicated but confident in your own ability, your own identity as a punk band.
When few people from the hometown are saying, “hey man, love your stuff, keep it up” it’s tough. And don’t we all want to be accepted in our hometown? Just a little.
Well, I’ve spent some time in T&T (about a month) and while it is indeed punker than you think, that ain’t saying much. And it’s a young country, so who knows, with the marked decline of punk in the U.S. maybe Trinidad will become the next big thing in Punk Music? But if it does, it will be in no small part thanks to the guys from Anti-Everything.
They have a new CD set to drop later this month so be on the lookout for it. In the meantime, enjoy what the guys have to say about being the only punk band in the entire country and more.