"I pursued an interview with a bunch of masked dudes packing machetes"
By: Xander Dunlap | Photo: Pod
If you’re not familiar with the Mexican death metal band Brujeria, rumor has it that they’re narcotic-trafficking, Satanic, anti-Catholic revolutionaries. Whether or not this is true, Brujeria thrash in solidarity with indigenous Mexican struggles against the repressive Mexican government. They’ve been suspected of partaking in the narcotics industry, which is historically a trade that operates in impoverished and sanctioned communities as a means of survival.
Nonetheless, it’s a violent and bloody trade, probably due to clashes with CIA drug routes and competing cartels. The members of Brujeria cover their faces with ski-masks and bandanas at shows to avoid potential identification by state agencies looking into their previous “business transactions,” or maybe even unsolved murders. But suspected pastimes aside, Brujeria play with an intense, violent brutality that, with the right crowd, would probably result in politicians being hung from lamp posts.
As expected, the Portland show was fucking sick. Violent blast-beats, machetes, and suspected masked drug dealers singing in Spanish—what more could you ask for? After the show, drenched in sweat and slightly battered, I pursued an interview with a bunch of masked dudes packing machetes. Brujeria consists of an unknown number of mysterious rotating band members, but the aliases of the members who played tonight are El Brujo (vocals), Fantasma (vocals), Hongo (Guitar), El Cynico (Bass), and Podrido (Drums).
After reminiscing about skateboarding and how Black Flag, Code of Honor, Negative Approach, and other skate rock bands played a substantial role in Brujeria’s inspiration, Fantasma—who’s wearing a Black Label sweatshirt— admits that the song “La Migra” is based on lots of Black Flag beats and riffs. In fact, Fantasma’s first memorable skateboard was the Black Flag Skull Skates board. He had a Z-Flex in the late ’70s, too.
The song “Anti-Castro” has received a fair amount of criticism, considering the pro-Zapatista and revolutionary agenda within the band. However, according to Fantasma, who lived in Cuba a couple years after Castro’s rise to power, it soon became clear that the state of affairs was “more about the Soviets and less about dethroning a dictator.” In other words, the Cuban revolutionary regime was about pleasing the communist regime in Soviet Russia—and soon there was no room for dissent. “If there’s no freedom or room to grow, you can’t use your mind in a creatively,” he says.
Although Fantasma recognizes the current accomplishments in Cuba (high literacy rates, health care, higher education), and remains proud of his Cuban heritage, he stresses the danger of eliminating speech and the right to voice dissent. He draws a comparison between the social control mechanisms of anti-Americanism during the Castro regime and the way the United States uses the term “terrorism” to ignite fears—especially against Mexican immigrants—under the US Patriot Act.
He also remembers and misses Thrasher’s Puss Zone.
Being a gnarly band of suspected drug lords, I thought it fit to ask them about the drug and border violence occurring between the United Skates and Mexico, and how it affects the band.
“What gets through, gets through, good and bad,” says El Brujo. “It’s all the same for us. Everyone is in on it, even the police. Everyone is worked in and gets paid off.”
This led to a series of stories about run-ins with border patrols, los Federales, and the Mexican military—throwing joints out the window at surprise check-points, then getting let off by Texas agents in exchange for autographs. One time, a soldier at the border fanned out on the band and shouted, “Matando Gueros!” It seems like anyone else would have a nervous breakdown at these check-points, but El Brujo and the others laugh when they tell me about how the police treat the band: “Cops bring us weed when they find out we’re in Mexico,” he says. “You know, a couple pounds with seeds and trimmings. They had probably just confiscated it.”
1/17/2017Maseo took some time while in Argentina to discuss the new album, performing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and whether or not working with Prince Paul will ever happen again.
1/17/2017The top-three list for SOTY was all tuff no fluff: Figgy, K-Walks and Evan Smith. While he don’t mind not being the “guy,” he’s just stoked to be on planet Earth having the time of his life. Listen to Mr. Smith talk about the road and the mag on the airwaves. —Jake Phelps
1/17/2017Descendents were the background music to so many sessions and they contributed to the soundtracks of some of the most-watched skate videos of all times. Thankfully, they’re still cranking out the tunes with a brand-new album. We caught up with their front man, Milo, to see what makes them tick year after year.
1/17/2017The "LA Stories" collaboration between Snoop Dogg and Mark Gonzales connects skateboarding, music and art.
1/17/2017They’re like a dash of punk, an ounce of metal, but really just some of the best speedy rock ‘n’ roll in ages.
1/17/2017With rock stars dropping like flies nowadays, we are really lucky to have Alice Cooper still out there going full throttle. Welcome to Alice’s nightmare.
1/17/2017Metallica played their album release show last night to a lucky crowd at the House of Vans in London.
1/17/2017Metallica is be debuting their new album Hardwired... To Self-Destruct at the House of Vans in London today. Tune in to the live stream at 1pm PST/ 9pm GMT.
1/17/2017Jeff Grosso breaks down the relationship between skating and music. Check it out.
1/17/2017Descendents teamed up with Santa Cruz and each deck comes with a flexi disc featuring a song off their new album.