Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Mykel's MRR Column for #327 (August 2010) Mexicans...

[NOTE: There may be a little Spanish in this column. I will not translate it. Americans who can't speak Spanish should be deported to where they originally came from.]

    An American, a German, and a Mexican are in a sinking boat. Each of them has to throw things out to make the boat lighter.
    The German throws out 4 cases of beer and says, "We have a lot of bear in Germany so we don't need these!"
    The Mexican throws out 5 cases of burritos and says, "We have a lot of burritos in Mexico so we don't need these!"
    The American grabs the Mexican and throws him out.
    “Why'd you do that?” asks the German.
    The American replies, "We have a lot of Mexicans in America so we don't need him!."
              --Internet Joke

Of course, the Mexican should've grabbed the gringo, tossed him over, and said, Nosotros estábamos en America antes que tú. Chinga tu madre!

The Aztecs, the first Mexicans, were more advanced contemporaries of the American Indian. The first Spanish speakers came to North America in 1492. Annoying gringos didn't arrive until almost 200 years later.

Now, Arizonans want to keep out illegal Mexicans-- and make the legal ones wear a yellow chili pepper for identification. Why?  Because Chicanos would rather eat and drink, than work and go to war. Because their heroes are professional wrestlers rather than soldier-murderers. Because they idolize rebels more than Christian hate-mongers.
White Americans fear Mexicans because they might steal their car radios. Me? I fear white Americans because they might throw me in jail for drinking on the street. Given a choice, I'd say. Take my radio... please!
Those last two paragraphs are part of what I wrote for a documentary on La Merma, one of the earliest and longest running punkbands in Mexico. I never saw them play, but because of my love of things Mexican, Gilberto asked me to write the intro. The movie will be called 15 AÑOS DE CAMINO.
In 1984, I produced WORLD CLASS PUNK for ROIR. 27 bands, 25 countries.  
I never met most of the bands on that CD. They sent me tapes. I fiddled with them in the studio. ROIR pressed and distributed the thing. Once every five years or so, I send out 35¢ in royalties.
The band from Mexico was SOLUTION MORTAL. Until this week, I'd never met them. Ah this week, therein lies the tale. 
But before we get to the nachos, I need to put out the salsa.
Flashback: It's 2004. I write about Lucho, a Peruvian-American who may be America's greatest promoter of Latin American punkrock. He's certainly the most loved.
A test:
     Some attractive brownskin says, “Oh yeah, we're from Bolivia and we played in Chicago in 2001.”
     You answer, “Oh, do you know Lucho?”
     If they answer Who?, they're lying.
Back to Now: Lucho's been in the US for 15 years or so. And, he's had enough. He and Letycia, his beautiful Mexican-American girlfriend, are tired of the grind: Up at 7 to get to work. Home at 7. Same thing tomorrow.
Or maybe they just see the writing on the wall. The Arizona ethnic-cleansing law is a whole statefull of wall writing.
They're getting while the getting's good. I would too.
ASIDE: Ah those Hispanics, if they hate America, why do they come here in droves?
 Why indeed? I ask.
 Americans work 48 hours a week. By the time the next paycheck rolls around, they have no money. Hispanics relax.
 Hispanics smoke weed, drink on the street, listen to loud music and show up when they feel like it. For Americans, ten minutes is late (except for Negroes, punks and girls, who are barely Americans anyway).
 Hispanics, Mexicans in particular, create the best soap operas on television. Catfights. Incest. Screaming brawls. Sex up the wazoo. America has CSI-Miami and American Idol.
 Latin America gave the world the poncho and the taco. White America gave the world McDonald's and the atom bomb.
 Life in America is banal, boring, drab, drudging, dry, dull exhausting, fatiguing, insipid, irksome, lifeless, soporific, tiresome, unexciting, uninteresting, vapid.
 Why would anyone want such a bucket of shit? I donno. I only stay because I have a cheap apartment in New York. END OF ASIDE
Lucho's farewell party is in Boston... or some nearby suburb. It's going to be a mad carousal, with punk rock bands, lots of beer, and Lucho-worshipers from around the world. I wouldn't miss it for a 3-some with Dominicans... well...
On the same day as Lucho's party, Verbal Desecration, a Mexican band with the drummer of the original SOLUTION MORTAL, is playing at ABC NO RIO. I can't fuckin' miss that show either.    
 Gilberto told me they're coming from Boston by bus. They need to return to Boston to play Lucho's party.
So what's a 70 year old punk-rocker to do?
The answer? Rent a van, meet the band at ABC NO RIO, drive 'em up to Boston so they can play Lucho's party and I can be there.
 Here's the plan: They arrive late Thursday via Chinatown bus. Play in Brooklyn Friday night. Then play ABC NO RIO on Saturday. We'll meet/set up at 2, be off stage at 3:30, then jump in the van, drive to Boston and arrive by 8. Everything timed perfectly.
 Yeah, right. THESE ARE MEXICANS! Not only that, they're PUNKS. Timed perfectly my white ass!
Thursday: tonight is Drink Club. We meet at Paddy Reilly's, an Irish bar smack dab in the middle of an Indian neighborhood. I hear they have eight beers on tap-- all Guinness. Outside the bar, the street smells like curry. Ah, it'll be a good tonight.
Steve, the couch-surfing pal who put me up in Trinidad will be there. He's in town for a few days. He'll take my couch tonight and fill me in on the doings in that blissful island country.
The problem? Gilberto is coming in with the band tonight. Normally, they'd stay on my couch, the floor, anywhere. Six Mexicans in a one-room apartment is not a problem.
But Steve is originally an American... a New Yorker. I'm not sure he'd be up for sharing a couch with all those Chicanos.
Besides, they don't get in till after midnight. We may be home and asleep by then.
At 9:14, while I walk from the subway to the bar, my cellphone vibrates. It's a text message from Gilberto.
Hey Mykel, U no cheap hostel for us?
A cheap hostel??? This is New fuckin' York! There are no cheap hostels here.
Ah the guilt. In Mexico, I stayed weeks for free with Mexican punks... and their parents! The fed me, beered me, took me to sex shows... and I'm gonna make these guys stay in a cheap hostel? And there are NO cheap hostels in New fuckin' York.
Just as I reach the bar door, the phone vibrates again. It's another text message. This one says:
Mykel, I won't be meeting you tonight. A pal of mine tried to kill himself. I gotta take care of him. See you later. --Steve
Near death. What luck for the Mexicans!
I text Gilberto: 4get da hostl. My place 2nite.
At about midnight, after Drink Club, I come back home... sloshed, of course.
I fall on the couch in a hazy half-sleep.
What? The alarm already? I feel like I just fell asleep.
Through the fog I realize I did just fall asleep. My alarm goes MEEEP MEEEP MEEEP not GZZZZZZZ, GZZZZZ. GZZZZZ. That must be the doorbell.
Somehow avoiding puking between the couch and the doorbell, I walk over and press the talk button.
Ola Mykel, comes Gilberto's voice, we're here.
I push the DOOR OPEN button, wait until I hear them click in. Then, I run for the bathroom and kneel next to that porcelain receptacle. The smell of fecal ferment disgorges a bellyful of Guinness. Heave! Heave! Heave!
It's the doorbell. With a towel, I wipe a few strands of beer-ralf from my beard and answer the door.
Gilberto gives me a big bearhug. Then steps into my apartment, sniffing, but not commenting on the parmigiana-scented air.
He introduces my new guests.
First there's Alex, a bearded guy (bass player) who I assume has a painful earache. His hand permanently presses the side of his head. Later, I find out it's not an earache, but a heartache. In his ear-pressed hand is a cellphone. On the other end is his girlfriend. I hope he doesn't want to use the bathroom to jerk off. I forgot to flush the toilet.
Next comes Alan, the grizzled drummer with an easy smile and a hearty, friendly, hug. Almost my age, he wears a cap-- kind of like a ship captain's hat. I figure he must be going bald. Why else would a punk rocker wear a hat indoors?
“Ola viejo!” I say. “Como yo.”
Next comes the 40 ounce bottle of Reingold. Alan hands it to me. I barely take a sip before passing it to... a teenage goddess.
Seventeen, skinny, a splotch of green through her black hair. Faride's sexier than a chipped front tooth, funnier than a priest caught alter-boy stuffing, and cooler than the Aquavit in my freezer... and she's the girlfriend of the drummer!!!
That guy is nearly my age and he has the coolest seventeen-year-old girlfriend this side of the Rio Grande. Why can't I???
I'll tell you why. No soy Mexicano! That's why. ¡Ay, caramba!
 “Hay otros?” I ask
“Everybody else rented a hotel room,” says Gilberto. “We're staying at Hotel Board.”
“Los otros tienen dinero!” I say.
“Si,” says Gilberto... “And Mykel, speak English. Otherwise these guys won't be able to understand you.”
Wise guy.
After emptying the 40 ouncer, Alan and Faride crowd together on the couch. Alan takes off his hat. He is NOT going bald. I don't get it.
Gilberto pulls out a drawer-like mattress from under the couch and lies on that. Where's Alex?
I hear the flushing toilet. Fuck! Well, he's a punk rocker. He should be familiar with the smell of puke. It's punk rock.
Yeah, these exact thoughts will come back later to haunt me. You'll hear about that later.
I check the clock. It's 3AM.
“Sorry buckaroos,” I say. “I gotta work tomor... er... today. So I'm going to bed. Buenas noches. See you at 2PM Saturday afternoon at ABC NO RIO.”
“Muchas gracias,” comes the chorus from beneath me. “Duerma bien.”
I climb onto the loft and fall asleep with a hard-on... fantasies of a seventeen year old.
FRIDAY: The pain hits at 8:30 on Friday night. It's sudden, blinding. As if some S&M girl suddenly jammed her stiletto heel into the front of my left ankle.
No warning. I didn't even move it. I'm just sitting at the computer, jerking off to and then... a sudden strike. Kerpow! Stars! Like in cartoons!
I scream.
No one bangs on the wall. My neighbors are used to weird sounds coming from my apartment.
I look at my naked ankle? No swelling. No blanching. Looks like an everyday ankle. The pain subsides.
KEBLOOEY! Again... harder. I grab the ankle. Massage. It doesn't help.
What is it?
A strain? Naw, it wudda hurt before, when I injured it. I didn't injure it.
Diabetes? My father is diabetic and always has painful legs. My high blood pressure? It's been up there lately... OWWW! This is killing me! I can't drive to Boston tomorrow. I need to go to the hospital... NOW!
The pain disappears. Whew. It's passed, whatever it was. Gilberto and the band are counting on me. AAAAAHHHRRRGGG. It's back... with a vengeance.
It hits in a negative of before. From my ankle to my shin. From the middle of my foot to my toes. The only place NOT hurting is where it hurt 5 minutes ago. I'm gonna die. Tears come to my eyes. Snot drips from my nose.
I don't go to doctors. Doctors spend their time and my money putzing around, not finding things or finding things that they can't do anything about. I'd rather suffer.... AAAAAAH. KILL ME NOW! I can't take it.
An overnight hospital stay would put a crimp in the Boston plans. An amputation would really make us late. I don't think I could have a stump fitting by 2PM tomorrow. OK, I'll just suff... AAAAARGH! Fuck!
I don't sleep much. The pain wakes me at 6AM. I return to, type MEXICAN TEENS in the search window, jerk off, and get a few more hours of sleep.
I make it to work, but the pain continues all day. In waves. Ten seconds of pain. Ten seconds of nothing. Ten seconds of pain... in a different place. It's hell.
I work until 9, then go home, and load up on Advil.
Tomorrow is ABC No Rio.
“We'll be there at 2 o'clock,” Gilberto told me.
Yeah right.
SATURDAY: Figuring punkrock time plus Mexican time, I arrive at ABC NO RIO at 3. It's still way too early... and I still hurt... bad. 
About 4:30, Gilberto arrives with the band.
He's smiling... and shaking his head.
“Hey Mykel,” he says. “Sorry we're late. Last night there was a brawl. You know. Pow!”
He lightly hits the side of his face with his fist.
“Fist to face,” he continues. “Girls going at it, like a soap opera.”
He describes the mini-riot.
Then he asks me about equipment for the band. Since they're touring by Chinatown bus and Boardmobile, they have none of their own. They need to borrow some from another band. 
I refer them to Huasipungoist and ABC door-king Esneider.
“Debe preguntar a Esneider. Él lo sabe todo,” I tell them.
“Yo no se nada,” says Esneider.
“Hasta luego,” I tell them, as I leave for Hertz with Gilberto.
By the time we get back, they've found equipment and are  just setting up the stage.  It's almost 6 o'clock. We were gonna leave at 3:30.
It's a terrific show, though. Alan's son, Alan Jr, sings. He looks like any hardcore kid from the 80s. But this is the 10s. Plus, he's a great active performer. Throwing himself around stage, into the crowd. It's been awhile since I've seen so much energy from a 19 year-old NOT on Oh yeah!
I know most of the ABC NO RIO regulars... especially anyone as geriatric as me. But there's a woman here. In her 40s, she wears red... pants and beret. She's Latina shaped and sits on the merch table with her legs curled under her. She seems to know the Mexicans.
“Who's that?” I ask Gilberto.
“That's (I forget her name, but I'll call her) Carmelita,” he says. “Alan's mother. She'll be traveling with us.”
As it turns out, the 7-person van will traveling with:

1. Alan, the drummer, 50-something.
2. Faride, 17, the guitar player and Alan's girlfriend
3. Alan Jr., 19, Alan and Carmelita's son
4. Alex, 20-something, the bass player
5. Jessica, around 20, Alan Jr.'s girlfriend-- maybe pregnant, in any case puking the whole trip
6. Carmelita, 40-something, Alan's former wife and Alan Jr.'s mother
7. Argel, around 30, and a mutual friend of Gilberto and me. A nice quiet guy-- the only one
8. Gilberto, 30-something, I think, the tour organizer.
9. Me
Hmmm, singer, singer's mother and father (no longer together), singer's father's new teenage girlfriend, singer's maybe pregnant girlfriend, heartsick bass player, and a few bit players.
 Does this sound like the makings of a tour diary? A Mexican soap opera? Ho ho! You have no idea... but you won't find out either... At least not until next month. 

ENDNOTES: [email subscribers ( or website viewers ( will get live links and a chance to post comments on the column]  

-->Thanks Norb dept: I want to thank the Rev. Norb for writing (in Razor Cake) about how the only reason punks wear hats indoors is that they're going bald. It's one of those things everyone knows, but no one says.

-->Next-door to Arizona, they believe in equality dept: The first legal male sex worker in Nevada says he want to be called a gigolo, not a prostitute.
He told the press, "this is the first time in the economy of the United States that a male has stood up and said, I want to do this for a living, and be protected under law to do it. It's just the same as when Rosa Parks decide to sit at the front instead of at the back of the bus."

-->The Menifee California school district has banned the Miriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary because it contains definitions for "oral sex."

-->The Center for Responsive Politics reports that 44 percent of members of Congress are millionaires. Of those, seven top $100 million.

-->They should play in Arizona dept: Don Lewis is the commissioner of an all-white basketball league called THE ALL-AMERICAN BASKETBALL ALLIANCE. Why all white?
Says Lewis, "Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch?"

-->Who's the bad guy? department: On one hand, Apple, notorious for cutting off Google from its iPhone... also cut off hundreds of other apps. Many of them were sex related and were cut ONLY because they were sex related. That gets Apple a big BOO!!
      On the other hand, Apple said that developers cannot use geo-location to target advertisements to users. That gets them a big YEAH!
     Then there's Google. They take anything. Got an app? Google says: GO AHEAD! Yeah!
      Not so fast. Right now, Google is working with advertisers to help them use its Android system to target people based on their location. Spam by GPS. BOO!!
    The moral? With megacorps there are no YEAHS. Only more or less boo for your buck.

-->Coming next to an Arizona near you dept: The Republican candidate for the Third District Congressional Primary in Iowa wants to do something about illegal aliens. He wants to implant microchip tracking devices under their skin. Then, we can all keep tabs on them with our Google Android phones!
    The Iowa Independent has the details:
     Candidate Pat Bertroche made it clear that he wasn't joking when he suggested treating undocumented immigrants like pets.
     "I think we should catch 'em, we should document 'em, make sure we know where they are and where they are going," he said. "I actually support microchipping them. I can microchip my dog so I can find it. Why can't I microchip an illegal?”

-->Makes you wonder about YAHOO dept: In its reports on the Times Square smoking-car incident, Yahoo wrote:
     Officials said the device found Saturday was crudely constructed, but Islamic militants have used propane and compressed gas for years to enhance the force of explosives. Those instances include the 1983 suicide attack on the U.S. Marines barracks at the Beirut Airport that killed 241 U.S. service members, and the 2007 attack on the international airport in Glasgow, Scotland.
     Funny they didn't mention the fertilizer in the car, or that Christian terrorist Timothy McVey used it in America's second largest terrorist attack.

-->What a surprise dept: Life Extension Magazine reports that medical journals with the MOST pharmaceutical ads published significantly FEWER major articles about dietary supplements than journals not supported mainly by the drug industry.
Those drug-pushing journals were also twice as likely to conclude that "dietary supplements are ineffective."

-->The right way and the wrong way dept: Frankly, I don't give a shit about your underpants. But if New York State Senate President, Malcolm Smith wants to buy stop-the-sag billboards, it's his dime. The senator has, in fact, paid for posters and billboards to ask colored people to pull up their pants.
       “It's a matter of pride,” he says.
        I say-- depends on what you're proud of.
        On the other hand, Trenton NJ, Atlanta GA, and several cities in Louisiana have legally banned the style, fining people whose trousers drop too low. That is the wrong way. Whose pants are they anyway?
     It's as wrong as the French banning head scarves. Laws dictating fashion? Jeezus, where will it end? Laws banning ethnicities? Oh, I forgot. Arizona.


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