Loud, Proud, Punk and Brown

Martin Sorrondeguy helps push punk past its borders

"Resistance is the meeting point for Latinos and punks," he concludes. "Resistance, reaction, unrest—that's what Latin America and punk are about."

And it makes sense: Latin America is the location—not just geographical, but psychological and social as well—of what may be the longest undeclared war in history, from indigenous, bloody empires to conquistadors, fascists and the CIA. Out of the rubble of savagery, battle, torture and the disappeared has emerged a rich musical tradition of resistance. It varies from country to country: the corrido of Mexico spreading news of the victories of Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata during the Mexican Revolution; the Caribbean canción nueva (New Song Movement), which incorporated messages of ethnic solidarity in the face of Anglo discrimination alongside salsa beats during the '70s; the young Argentine rockeros who risked death to speak the truth during their country's Dirty War.

And now, as Crudos found when they left the U.S. to meet the kids who'd written those letters, there was a new way to resist: punk.

Sorrondeguy hasn't heard of over the Counter Intelligence, but it's not because he isn't paying attention. Partly it's because he's still getting used to Orange County: taking a boom box bursting with blistering international hardcore to the beach wasn't as relaxing as he'd expected. "It doesn't feel like it works here," he laughs. "With the beautiful water and all this shit, where does it fit?" And partly it's because there are so many bands—new and scattered and tearing along the same wavelength that Crudos and their compatriots were tuned in to, from East LA to South America—that he couldn't keep track of them all.

Crudos broke up in 1998 after an emotional—not emo, thank you—final Chicago show, but the Latino punk movement moves on, with kids worldwide networking and communicating, playing the same music for the same reasons in whatever language they claim as their own. And Sorrondeguy's moving too: after capturing the scene in a too-short video documentary on a generation of Latino punk called "Mas Alla de los Gritos" ("Beyond the Screams"), he's heading in a new direction. His latest band, Limpwrist, is set to go on tour to support their—maybe America's, maybe even the world's—first album of pummeling gay straightedge hardcore. It's perfectly natural, of course: there are borders yet that need to be erased.

"Some people were like, 'We don't like Crudos anymore; Crudos used to be good,'" Sorrondeguy says. "And I guess they meant when I was in the closet. People give you this kind of thing—'You're a fag; you can't be valid'—and it's interesting who it came from. I think it has to do with the whole machismo thing in Latino culture, which is such a dated concept. It's like, 'You're still on that? I thought we dealt with that years ago!'"

Crudos was never a single-issue band, Sorrondeguy says. Their band was their lives, and in life, everything ties together. "If I love a man, what's it to you?" he sang on one of Crudos' albums; during this upcoming tour, Limpwrist will play with bands like East LA's Kontrattaque. He likes the idea of challenging preconceptions and prejudices, of holding up a mirror and making people examine themselves: once it was through Los Crudos; now it isn't. But it's always been punk.

"I'm really down for supporting people's struggles, whatever they may be," he says. "The making noise, the little sparks are important to me. I'm into many different things, and to me, when it all comes together in a burst of expression, that's fucking right on. That's where it's at. When it happens, I'm moved by that. Having a purpose, having substance behind what you're doing, that's what I wanted with Crudos. And that's what I always wanted to do."

Limpwrist performs with Kontrattaque, Find Him and Kill Him, Youth Riot, and Colostomy Bag at Koo's Art Café, 1505 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 648-0937; Sun., 7:30 p.m. $6. All ages.
« Previous Page