bands for a young punk

One of my favorite things has always been to recommend bands to younger people. As I’ve been getting older, sometimes they recommend music to me, but for the most I have still been able to keep with new bands and new music, but still I think it’s important to get a taste of the range in different genres, and especially to learn what has come before.

Below is a list of bands I like that I’d burn or recommend to a student that told me he liked punk (whatever that really means now) music. In no particular order…

1. Sex Pistols 

So I will admit that anytime I sang in high school with the Scrubs and later Crying Laurel, I was always pretty much just trying to sound like John Lydon, (Johnny Rotten). These guys have been written about enough, and love or hate their attempt to continue to tour while being the same age as my parents, their emergence was prolific.

2. The Clash 

As I got older, I really began to appreciate the Clash more and more. Once I became politically aware, the Clash’s message becomes much more radical than that of the Sex Pistols. The Clash also managed to age much more gracefully probably because of their point of view is much more informed and mature.

3. Bad Religion 

I love this band. They’re intellectuals. They’re political. Greg Graffin is a college professor, and his solo album Cold as Clay, was also pretty damn good. I used to ride the train in high school, and while I listened to “Stranger Than Fiction”, I felt like I was listening to stories about the future that we are still all becoming.

4. At the Drive-In 

This band became Mars Volta, which is also an awesome band, and a lot of the newer stuff that Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is doing is just way ahead of its time. But there was a certain energy to At the Drive-In that is only found in those albums.

5. The Jesus Lizard 

Being that they never reached the success of Nirvana, those of us from Chicago always felt like the Jesus Lizard were our own secret. The energy. The angst. The noise. And a hint of weirdness.

6. The Blood Brothers 

The combination of vocals is freakin’ awesome. They’re from the Seattle area for whatever that’s worth, and though I found about this band pretty late, they quickly became one of my favorites.

7. Nirvana 

Perhaps over-rated for some, but I was 12 when Nevermind came out and barely discovering music. Nirvana changed my life, and made high school so much more tolerable because those that identified with not identifying could easily identify each other because of our identification with the band and what they stood for.

8. Green River 

This band determined who were the posers, and who was really into grunge and punk for my friends and me. The members went on to form Pearl Jam and Mudhoney. Anyone interested in what was going on in Seattle in the early 90’s had to check these guys out to understand the full story.

9. Rage Against the Machine 

Rage Against the Machine’s members all had roots in hardcore scenes. So it was easy for someone like me that really didn’t like rap music at the time. Rage changed all of this for me. The music still had the energy and edge of the bands I liked, but I was also able to appreciate Zack de la Rocha’s rapping style, which at moments had more in common with hardcore screaming than rap. Their politics also introduced me to the history of the world.

10. Iggy Pop 

Without sounding too much like a punk snob, but if you don’t check out Iggy Pop then you have no business saying you like punk rock music. Yeah he’s old, but this is where punk started, especially his work with the Stooges. Fortunately, the movie, Trainspotting, helped him become relevant again.

I know there are a bunch of other bands I could have named, but these are the ten bands that I chose today, maybe if someone had asked me yesterday or two days ago, I would have said something else.

my year in lists – topics of interest

So I will be compiling random lists of tens. I guess until I run out of ideas. Each list will be about a specific topic. None of the lists will be extensive, but merely reflect the mood I am in. All of the lists will be presented in no particular order, but probably more or less the order in which I thought about them.

If anything these lists are meant to help me keep mental inventory of my interests.

Topics of Interest

1. Graffiti 

piece by Blu

I love the city, and am an urban brat. With that said, maybe it’s because of the neighborhoods I’ve grown up in, but graffiti has always intrigued me. The level of expression and the level of illegality make the art form attractive to all urban rebels, especially since many of its messages have yet to be deciphered.

2. Yoga


I know it’s trendy as all hell, but for someone who grew up disliking jocks, yoga is a happy medium. The stretching is something that gets me going, and ready to head out into the city streets. The fact that I can practice yoga anywhere I have my mat is something, which ensures I maintain my yoga practice. Plus the meditation aspect of yoga is perfect to help shut off the city noise when so desired.

I’m personally a big fan of Rodney Yee, and watching his DVD’s really helped get my practice started which has now lasted over two years.

3. Shamanism

Shaman vision

My initial interest began with Jim Morrison. Eventually, I read Carlos Castaneda books. In my travels through Mexico, I have at several times attempted to connect to my indigenous past through shamanism and my ancestors magical past.

Anyone with a little of consciousness can sense that something is very wrong with the world. You don’t have to be an economist or rocket scientist to have a feeling that we are heading in a very dangerous direction. Perhaps, now more that ever, we are in need of the Shaman. Our rock stars no longer fulfill that need, the way the Doors intended to do.

4. IndieDIY

As someone that grew up on punk music, this is just a further extent of the culture into adulthood. I am glad that the DIY movement is extending outside of the music scene and into very pragmatic everyday things like generating one’s own electricity. The mainstream will never know where it’s at until it’s too late because the kids are all doing it for themselves.

5. Environmentalism

Being green.

This is a no brainer. The planet is on everyone’s minds, well at least those of us who believe in science. I’m really excited by the do-it-yourself aspect of a lot of environmental initiatives, especially those in the inner city and in “underdeveloped” countries.

6. Mexico

painting by Orozco

Mexico is the country where my parents came from. In order to better understand who I am, I have had to learn about where they came from. This has helped me understand them better, but also myself. The country to the south is like a grandparent I hardly knew growing up, but with which I have become very familiar with as an adult. Mexico is for all intents and purposes still a post-revolutionary state.

corazon Zapatista

7. Education


Let me be clear, I am interested in an education of liberation, and not simply in a liberal education. Until that distinction is made clear, all conversation and dialogue will be futile.

8. Poetry

Saul Williams

"Coded Language" on Def Poetry Jam

Poetry is my passion, my friend, my retreat, and my weapon. Poetry fills a lot of spaces in my world. I first started writing regularly when I was 12, but I didn’t think of myself as a serious poet until I was 16. Still I wasn’t able to refer to myself as a poet until I came up with the moniker, po’ E.T. about 4-5 years ago.

Will post a post about my favorite ten poets later, or at least my ten favorite that day.

9. Vinyl

not just for hipsters anymore

I got into vinyl into seeing something on the history channel. They found these vases that had grooves on the outside, which they tried to play with a needle and a speaker. They explained about how if we were to lose access to all technology, we’d still be able to play vinyl as long one had a needle and something to use as a speaker. It made me think, “I better get some vinyl to ensure I got some tunes for the apocalypse.”

10. Black & White Photography

Beatriz's great grandfather

Nothing beats being able to process your own film and develop one’s own photos. I miss having access to a darkroom, but digital photography compensates for it, and requires much less space and no inhaling of chemicals.

waking up to terrorists on the front lawn

yo, this country’s killing everybody. 
starting with you and me, 
and how we got sold to some entity that’s corporate- 
all based on who had the highest bidding in your state. 
how many tax breaks can we afford to make 
for people and companies that just want more and more to take? 
how much more can i take before 
i feel like just another corporate whore? 
and really when i stare at the future, 
i’m not sure what it is that we have in store 
as everything becomes a giant grey blur, 
and it’s at times like these when one needs love more and more 
than ever before. 
man, they got me feeling like an alien being 
cause i’m not understanding their thinking or reasoning. 
it’s like it’s not even the same language that we’re speaking. 
it’s like we don’t even exist on the same planet, 
and all these fanatics on a pulpit 
got me feeling like a maniac. 
man, i swear to god, 
i think i’ve had it with the chaos that surrounds, 
that’s created in this country. 
why is it my country produces so many weapons? 
and am i just its orphan son cause i disapprove? 
and where exactly is it to that zealots expect i should move? 
am i just the prodigal son 
that never learned to get along, 
but why is this the only way the west can be won? 
and was mao right, 
does all power come from the barrel of a gun, 
or was he simply stating a historical observation and analysis? 
leaving it up to us to learn the lesson 
and change the basis for what progress is. 
man, they got me feeling like an alien being 
cause i’m not understanding their thinking or reasoning. 
it’s like it’s not even the same language that we’re speaking.
it’s like we don’t even exist on the same planet.

recorded and written on 05.23.11