Forgive me people, it has been nearly a year since my last post and I have found much mischief to involve myself in. I was recently called out by one of the editors of this blog for not sharing any of those experiences with you. He could not have played the guilt card at a better time, as last week found my little band, Pug Skullz, opening for one of punk’s foremost current bands! If you are a follower of punk rock, you know it is undergoing a healthy revival as we speak. Glue, out of Austin, NYC’s Hank Wood and The Hammerheads and LA’s Generacion Suicida are three bands at the cleaving edge of its resurgence.
Last week all three bands were in California, and it was Pug Skullz privilege to join Generacion Suicida for their Sacramento appearance along with Cadaver Dogs, Jesus and the Dinosaurs, FearEction and Class System. With their international touring schedule and near weekly shows at their place, The Dog Haus, in Los Angeles, I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to see Generacion Suicida play. But, with our local scene getting a bit more recognition, and a well-placed friend booking shows for The Colonial Complex, we were able to get an opening slot. Having the show at Sacramento’s favorite DIY venue, Cafe Colonial, gave us a chance to meet the band, and hear a bit about their current East Coast tour and the release of their new album, ‘Todo Termina‘, (rough translation, ‘It All Ends”) in an intimate, relaxed way.
Before talking about ‘Todo Termina’, I want to gloat a little bit, as I was able to procure one of the last few copies of ‘Con La Muerte a Tu Lado‘ on clear vinyl, and it hasn’t left my turntable in a week. I’d been listening to that album for over a year from a purchase off the Generacion Suicida Bandcamp page, but the warm sound of vinyl, with all the crackles and pops of my youth, really reveals the strength of this recording in a way mp3’s and earbuds cannot. Buy it if you can find one! (Going Underground Records has both LP’s in stock! Just click the link!)
Their sound is unique unto itself, though deep influences are readily heard. The folk music of Mexico and old Americana, fused with 77 punk and 80’s hardcore become something fierce with an edge of true melancholy. There’s also a strange hesitancy in their changes sometimes that adds something so personal I can’t begin to explain it. It’s a timing thing that’s become more pronounced on ‘Todo Termina’ and I’ve never heard it in another band.
I was happy with my first pass through the newly released album on Bandcamp. This is obviously Generacion Suicida…their sound has not changed tremendously. As I began listening to both albums heavily, one on the turntable the other in headphones, I began to notice a shift in songwriting structure. This band is growing in their ability to express, musically, purely with instruments, the truth of their lives.
Lyrically, the simple prose and poetry of ‘Todo Termina’ explores the same themes as ‘Con La Muerte a Tu Lado’, yet there is a more universal or community feeling to their struggle, as opposed to the more self-centered (not meaning selfish here, just explored from an individual or small group perspective) rage at society and oppression. There seems to be a growing awareness of the nature of oppression, the failures of civilization and a witness to the collapse of those who fail to fight any longer and those who have disappeared into our blindspot, forgotten waste of the decaying city.
The band is currently travelling the eastern US (8/5/14), driving 6-9 hours between gigs. I asked Tony for a quote, here’s what he sent me from the road:
“I guess the point of us doing what we do or why we do it, is because everyone always told us we couldn’t do it. We’re not looking to be famous and we’re not your typical band that can freely travel wherever we want. Everything we do requires a lot of time, effort, and money (things which we have very little of). But the beauty of punk is being able to work around all the barriers and obstacles that stand in our way. When our band first started, we bought a tape duplicator for $40 and bought 100 tapes and cases for $60. We then stole card stock from a local store and made copies at Kinkos of our tape covers (which we also stole). After selling out the first 100, we did it again… And again. Until we managed to sell 500 copies of our first demo. After that people contacted me to release it on vinyl, and before I knew it a lot of people had become interested in the band. Way more than I ever thought honestly. But that’s what punk is to me. The ability to think outside the box and overcome shortcomings no matter what the obstacle.”
These are happy kids. Early twenties, beautiful people with the heart to bring their gorgeous, disturbing truth to a society that will undoubtedly fail to notice. Willing to entertain my fantasy of having them play one of my Seismomatic events, offering encouragement to the local bands…just real people with a gift for sound. I wish I could find a way to tell you all what it means to this old punk to see and hear the fresh, righteous sounds of rebellion presented to a new generation with intelligence and authenticity. Those with ears to hear will be well rewarded. Amen.
P.S. No post of mine would be complete without some super dark, inaudible, self-shot video. Here’s a few minutes of footage from the Colonial show: