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When You’ve Lost the Hardcore Punks . . .


Maximum RocknRoll magazine is not a place one normally goes for astute commentary on social issues. Their political views run to this sort of thing (from the July issue, courtesy of Megan March, drummer of Street Eaters):

One of the problems with our society is that lame people are having kids, who they teach to be lame, and the numbers multiply. If punks, as well as other socially aware people, became inspired to have kids, my hope is that there would be more generations of rad people doing rad things, making the world less ugly.

While the music criticism tends to be like this:

I convinced her and all her lesbian ex-punk neighbors to come to me with this show after regaling them with tales of how the strong front-woman was the strongest and sickest front-person they’d ever see. Unfortunately for my cause, the band Glue (the boy band Glue, from Boston) opened and my queer friends got all duded out and left. I tried to explain how the macho posturing/onstage presence thing was ironic, but it was really hard to explain because they hadn’t been to a hardcore show since like 1996. So they all left and bummingly got to miss Michelle screaming, “You think I’m ****ing ugly? You think I’m ****ing fat? I don’t give a ****!” in little hardcore boys’ faces.

But then guitarist Harold, of the Miami band Mehkago N.T., goes into a political rant that, with a few stylistic niceties cleaned up, could almost have come from a Jay Nordlinger column:

Harold: . . . There’s one song that I wrote about what I saw growing up in Cuba when I was a kid, “Fall of the Bastard.” It breaks down how the Cuban people saw Castro as a savior at first and then the deceiving murderer that he became. This is a strong subject for me because I saw how my family was treated for being against the system and for wanting to leave the country. A lot of people think . . . that the situation in Cuba is not that bad. They’ll defend it by saying **** like they have free healthcare and the education is great. Yeah, those things are true, but at what price? The people pay the ****in’ price; step out of line and say the wrong **** and speak up against the government and watch how you get locked the **** up quick, or worse!

MRR: This is a really interesting point of view. Do you feel like the punk scene misunderstands the reality of what’s going on in Cuba? A lot of people that are hostile to Castro are usually painted as former Batista supporters and people who were ripping off the country. I don’t think a lot of people have heard the perspective of people who were Castro supporters at first and then turned against him.

Harold: I don’t think people here in South Florida misunderstand the situation in Cuba, but I do think that people around the country don’t really pay too much attention to the real situation and the reality of what’s really going on. It doesn’t really matter if you lived through the “dictator****” that existed before Castro or if you’ve lived through the “dictator***” that he created! Human rights are being violated all the time in Cuba and most people could give a flying ****! If anything, I hope punks are aware of this and don’t sympathize with that bull**** mentality! For example, people wearing a shirt with Che Guevara’s face on it — do you know what that stands for? Do your ****ing homework!

Admittedly, Harold forfeits a bit of right-wing cred when he goes on to say, “One of the main things that drew me to this music is taking a giant **** on all forms of government and organized religion!” But still . . . 


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