Been reading the book “White Riot… Punk Rock and the Politics of Race” for the past few weeks. I’m almost finished and more on it later. It’s an intense book that is proving to be valuable in terms of the history of punk and of getting another perspective than the typical Ramones, Sex Pistols, Clash history we so often are told over and over and over. I’ve got a lot to say about this book, mostly good, with a few criticisms, but for now I just want to bring to your attention an all Latino punk band from Chicago in the 1990s “Los Crudos”.
They were one of, if not the first U.S. punk band to sing almost 100% in Spanish, though as you can see form this clip, they also spoke fluent English. Also, as you can tell by the clip they are (surprise) very political and as you can tell by the short, burst of lyrics that are hard to understand regardless of language, very hardcore.
Not my favorite genre of punk music so I would have probably never stumbled upon these guys with pandora or ipod or any of that type of music had these guys come along a decade or so later. Yet their perspective as their self proclaimed “We’re that spic band” probably would have landed them on “American Latino TV” or “LatiNation” alongside NOFX, Tiger Army, Calavera, Madball, No Way Jose and any other semi-well known punk, pysychobilly or rockabilly hand that had a decent Latin following.
I was always trying so hard to counteract the popular notion that Latinos only cared about R&B, Rap, Hip Hop and “Latin” (Cumbia, Meringue, Salsa, etc.) music. We tried really hard to showcase underground communities where Latinos were so instrumental and that includes punk which, if you’ve been following us for a while, has a huge Latin American and American Latino (U.S. Latino) following as well as a history of participation.
Punk history is rich with Latinos in the scene including bands like Black Flag, Iggy & The Stooges and many, many more I won’t go into here today.
When I Executive Produced those shows, I was very involved in getting our producers to target these subcultures very strategically, covering not only bands but events like “The Warped Tour” and “Viva Las Vegas” from a U.S. Latino perspective and it worked beautifully.
Not only did I feel good about representing this ignored part of Latino culture, ratings in cities from California to Texas increased dramatically. We had successfully added to our following which was really important for a small, indie TV Show with no marketing budget to speak off airing in most of the country in the most fringe of late night or early morning weekend time periods.
Now, sadly, and predictably the new owners and producers have cheezed it up again. The shows look like a cheap version of TMZ, with nothing but pop culture after pop culture references. They even changed the show logos and theme music to gaudy, loud metallic purple and silver colors and cheeze ball electronica music.
But hey, the shows are in their 11th & 9th seasons respectively so I understand that change is inevitable. It’s ok. There are a couple of people there that do try to represent (Agnostic Front were featured last season and one of the editors is from the Colombian band “La Pestilencia”).
In the meantime, I leave you with a couple of videos of “Los Crudos”. I would sure like to interview these guys for “Punktology” documentary. If anyone knows how to get in touch with them, please hit me up.