An immersive study of the influential and predominantly Chicanx punk rock scene in El Paso, Texas.
Punk rock is known for its daring subversion, and so is the West Texas city of El Paso. In Chuco Punk, Tara López dives into the rebellious sonic history of the city, drawing on more than seventy interviews with punks, as well as unarchived flyers, photos, and other punk memorabilia. Connecting the scene to El Paso's own history as a borderland, a site of segregation, and a city with a long lineage of cultural and musical resistance, López throws readers into the heat of backyard punx shows, the chaos of riots in derelict mechanic shops, and the thrill of skateboarding on the roofs of local middle schools. She reveals how, in this predominantly Chicanx punk rock scene, women forged their own space, sound, and community. Covering the first roots of Chuco punk in the late 1970s through the early 2000s, López moves beyond the breakout bands to shed light on how the scene influenced not only the contours of sound and El Paso but the entire topography of punk rock.
Tara López is an assistant professor of ethnic studies at Winona State University and the author of The Winter of Discontent: Myth, Memory, and History.
Chuco Punk is what all musical histories should aim to be: meticulously researched, steeped in sociocultural history, dedicated to an undercelebrated artistic movement that has been subject to generations of whitewashing, and most of all, heartfelt—in a rascuache kind of way. You won’t look at punk the same way again.
~Maria Sherman, author of Larger Than Life: A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS
Chuco Punk is a splendid study of why music matters and how history happens. Tara López draws deeply on her love for the city of El Paso and its punk music scene as she shows how disrespected and disregarded young people turned ditches, riverbeds, skateboard ramps, and car repair shops into unexpected sites for festive self-affirmation, convivial co-creation, and social movement mobilization.
~George Lipsitz, University of California, Santa Barbara, author of How Racism Takes Place
Born and raised in Texas with ancestors from Mexico, I am reminded by this book that our history and our community cannot be erased. We need to remember to be rascuache to the core and, like Tara, get our asses out there and make things happen!
~Phanie Diaz, Fea
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