Sunday, September 6, 2009

Intewview with Martin of the band LIMP WRIST


I interviewed Martin when Limp Wrist performed in Philadelphia back in 2007 (I think).

PS: Before Limp Wrist you had a band named Los Crudos. What did the name Los Crudos mean?

limp wrist

MS: Los Crudos has a double meaning. It means “The hangovers”. it’s a slang term for Hung Over. It also means raw. And when we started that band we took it for both those meanings. But it was more of a socio political thing for us because being hung over in the sense of you know with what we dealt with topic wise as a band and where we were from our community, things we were facing as young Latinos and living in the U.S. and all that. We felt that some shit was so heavy for us it felt like being hung over, just trying to see clearly. And that’s why we took that name. And we liked the raw aspect because it was just nasty and raw. (laughs)

PS: Los Crudos were really popular. People would be saying “Oh there fucking awesome.” Then you came out of the closet. How did you come out to the scene?

MS: Well I think it all really started with my telling a few really close friends. And then when we went on one of our tours I started to come out at shows. And the last place I came out to was Chicago and that’s because it was home. You know it’s easy to drive by and do a drive by coming out and you don’t know how people really reacted to it or not. And I was gone before I could really hear about it; the reactions. But when I got home I knew I had to live with the reactions to that.
When I did it at the show a lot of people jumped up on the stage and hugged me it was really awesome. And over time I heard like “Fuck that shit.” “Martins a fag!” and my response to that was if you thought you were into Los Crudos before I came out and now your not then you weren't really paying attention. It was a little bit of a let down but you know it made things a even bit better for us because we were about being really hardcore punk and that’s about being honest about stuff and real so for me it was the right way to go.

PS: I interviewed David Carter. He wrote “Stonewall: the Riots That Sparked The Gay Revolution.” He was concerned about how the Gay Communities aren’t aware of there history and how you can’t have a community that doesn’t have a history. In the Punk rock scene kids know the lyrics to bands that broke up before they were even born. So there’s this connection to the past and I've seen kids activated by that. So You’re a homo and a part of the Punk scene and connected
somehow to the Gay scene.
What differences and similarities do you see between the Gay and Punk Rock scene culture and history wise?

MS: It's a hard question to answer because what I find with the punks is there's an unbelievable amount of loyalty that punks have to people of the past in punk for people who were around and active. Even in Punk there are things that get lost over time. We have done such an unbelievable amount of work on the grass roots level at documenting what is happened in punk so if you really wanted to do your home work and research on it you can find stuff where as Gay history is harder, because of so much fear things got lost over time. There was such a stigma for so long and I think like a lot of the history we're probably going to look at doesn't go to far back. There's people who have done really great work. I was at the University of Chicago for this big conference and people were presenting some excellent papers on history and that was really fascinating for me. I think mainstream gay culture doesn't really dig enough or really present enough of just how rich the culture really is. There's a lot of doors being shut on anything that kind of falls out side of what is OK by the mainstreams standard of what is gay and it really fucks us all up. So many voices go unheard and it's really tragic. Why add another tragedy to what sometimes an already tragic scene at times. Being Gay sometimes for some people is kind of scary and tragic but do we have to keep on doing it? (Living that way)

PS: Part of what it means to have a history is to have examples you can set your life by. And I've talked to Gay and Lesbian people who didn't know what Stonewall was.
This one women said she found out what Stonewall was from taking a class in college. To have to go to college or to have to go to a conference to find out what your history is... I don't understand how that happened.

MS: I'm teaching that in high school this coming semester. I teach at an alternative high school and do radical queer kind of history class and I'm going to do a little home work on my end to pick some nice things and Stonewall is defiantly one of them that's in there. My high school kids range from freshmen to senior are going to b learning that this year. I wish more people were able to do that but on a high school level it's so hard in this country in this day and age to do anything that kind of goes outside of the boundaries of what is acceptable education.

PS: I think it's an important story to tell not just for Gay kids because America was a different place before Stonewall. It was literally a
different country.

MS: Yea. America is still a very different place. There are some powerful people that control what is being pushed out there and America is still not what they tell us it is.
We really know because we live it. It's much more then what is presented to us. And it's up to us I think and people like us who are into what we're doing that keep on pushing and promoting other stuff that bends a little bit out side of the norm.

PS: I volunteer at WBAI ad help out with the Gay program there Out-FM . We did a news segment and in this one story, I think it had something to do with a court defeat in Gay marriage. It was a white Gay guy and he said it made him feel like being moved to the back of the bus. And the women who was going to read the story felt the need to edit that comment out because it made him look bad. I agreed. Your not a strong black women your a white Gay man and you should embrace that. And the reason he said that I think was first, he wanted to translate Gay oppression to the civil rights movement in the 60's. The other reason is he's not aware of his history. There's a Gay history that he could be mining and using for examples of what we've had to put up with over the decades. And that way people would know how far we've come as well. And I think that's part of the importance of knowing our history.

MS: Absolutely. I agree. I don't really know how to comment on something like that because that kind of comment, I think what he was trying to do was, as you said, to relate it to something that everybody can supposedly can relate to. It's tricky. I mean I wouldn't use that as an analogy or comparison. That's not what I would have done but, I mean I don't think we have to go that route. We just have to tell our stories and how we feel. We don't have to relate it so people can understand and on a kind of greater level. And I'm trying to be clear about this I think the way we tell our stories should be a unique way of telling our story. We are today. We are now. We are living in the now. And lets present things in a way that are important and relevant to now. My story, I think it has commonalities with other peoples struggles and other peoples stories but it's not always exactly the same and I don't think they should be cause that means we haven't grown, we haven't gone any where.

PS: When did Limp Wrist start.

MS: Limp Wrist started shortly after Los Crudos was coming to an end. It was just me telling one of the guys, “You know it would be so amazing to have a real Hardcore Punk Gay band.” And we liked the idea and we started to brainstorm about it: what other people we could get.
It was sad because in order to find somebody who we felt would really be into it and really understood where we would be coming from unfortunately lived in all different cities. But we managed to scramble and pull it together. “Well this guys in Philly, I’m in Chicago, you’re in up-state New York and it all kind of came together.
And we just talked to them , they loved the idea, and we started doing it. So that’s how
Limp Wrist happened.

PS: How do you manage rehearsals? Do you call each other on the phone and then play your instruments into the mouth piece?

MS: Oh, I will call my guitarist and hum things into his cell phone messages. And I’m like, “Get this down.” And he’ll play it and record it into his computer just so we remember that riff, and then when we come together we try to work on it. We’ll do a tour, and if there’s time we’ll sit down and write music. Or do something like that.

PS: Why the name Limp Wrist?

limp wrist

MS: Limp Wrist: We’re Fags! You know, I’m like “Let's do it.” I’m not afraid of that. I’m not afraid to say, “Yea, I’m a faggot, or I suck dick, you know. I embrace that you know. I’m not afraid of it. So Limp Wrist made since. It confuses people. I’ve been to leather bars and I say “I'm in a band called Limp Wrist.” and there like, “Eww, that’s so fem.” And I say, “Yea. You see us live and you’ll trip the fuck out!”

PS: It’s a Hardcore Punk Rock band but it's not pink tu- tu on stage.

MS: We might do that. I might wear a pink to-to because sometime the Punk scene can be really hard and aggressive and I might come on in a pink to-to in order to fuck with those kids that are at that show. You know we’ll go all over with it.

PS: What kind of effect do you think your band has had on the scene?

MS: I don’t know. I like to leave that answer to the people. I think other people can talk about what they think about the band. People come up to me and they share how they feel about the band. A lot of it is really positive. If we’re ever done and people think back and talk about how it may have been effective or how it wasn’t very time.

PS: Talking about the issue of history again, you wrote a song called “The Ode” and you mention folks like Gary Floyd, and the late Randy “Biscuit” Turner of the Big Boys. It’s interesting because kids are going to know who that man was because of a song.
I was speaking to a spoken word artist named Jen/ED and she said that story telling and the spoken word was how a culture maintains it’s history
and transmits it.

MS: Yes absolutely. And for us a song like the Ode is exactly that: an ode. An Ode to those Queer Punks. I not long ago saw this humongous book on Queer Punk and it hardly mentioned any of those people. And it’s sad tome. Because people like Gary Floyd and Randy Turner were doing extremely important work in 1980 in Texas! I mean dressing up in drag or just being over the top. Being very open about being Gay, being Punk, being commie. I mean, FUCK! People didn’t know how to deal with that. They'd go to bigger cities and Punks in Bigger cities didn’t know how to deal with that. They thought “these guys are fucked up!” But it’s people like that that did really important work. There were so many punks who were Queer. People who think “Queer Punk is something that came up in the 90’s. For us it was important in that particular song to pay homage and say “This song’s called “The Ode and it’s an ode to all the people who were and the people who are.”

PS: That’s the thing in the punk rock scene. They write songs about people who are dead. They write songs about people in the scene so there names are not forgotten. And that’s something I find lacking in the Gay/Queer music scenes. I go to a disco or a gay Bar and I listen to hours of beautifully produced, seamlessly sequenced sonic wall paper. But I don’t hear any histories, any biographies, or any values being transmitted. And I think that’s part of a problem.

MS: I’ll tell ya, when we did that song Gary Floyd came up to me and said, “My boyfriend bought your CD. I can’t believe you wrote about us in a song.” And he was kind of choked up about it. But Hey! We love those guys. We played with them with the Dicks in Texas. We were so honored. For us to play with the Dicks. And I was so proud to be doing this. The songs talks about Jane County, Pete Shelly from the Buzzcocks, Nikki Parasite from The Parasites, Mike Bullshit from the band “GO!” It talks about so many people. So yea, that’s what we wanted to do.

PS: Any advice for kids getting into the Punk Rock?

MS: Hey you know what? You’re not alone. There’s a lot of us. If you’re a queer and you’re into punk there’s plenty of people who are interested in your story. There’s people who will always be wanting to hear about something, and about you and your life, so Do it.

PS: I remember talking to a girl who was just starting to learn drums. A friend asked her to join his band and she didn’t know if she knew enough about drumming. I asked “What kind of music? She said Punk Rock” and I said “Fuck, DO IT! Expression comes first. You will learn the technique later. Get the first two Clash albums. Everything you need to know about Punk Rock drumming is there. Expression Comes first!”

MS: Yea, The Idea. It’s that urge. That wanting to do it because you feel you have something to say. That is The First thing you need to have. Is that passion and wanting to do it. And then it’s going to all come together after that.

PS: I think the Punk Scene has a lot to offer the Gay scene.

MS: To the world. Because we’ve been doing it for s long. We’ve been exercising this DIY kind of politic in Doing It Yourself and Doing It with Everybody, not going it alone. You know I think it’s something that could spread out to so many
different places.


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