The spitboy rule
Tales of a xicana in a female punk band
Spitboy are known as a female punk band. Formed in 1990 I always saw them as a political punk band screaming for a better future. Women playing punk in an age of riot grrrrl these were not a sop to bikini kill. There’s was a positivity of women in an inclusive environment. Michelle Cruz Gonzales was Todd in spitboy. This is the story of a Mexican North American (xicana) woman playing punk rock music.
I’ve always felt many punks were in the comfortable position of coming into a movement they (or rather their parents) could afford to. They could rally against a system safe in the knowledge that they had a safety net of privilege. Most of spitboy had that privilege. But not Michelle. Hers was the dividend home growing up where wealth was what other people had.
Growing up poor in Tuolumne was something that didn’t appeal to a young Michelle and on hearing the clash she realized that life could take a different direction. I wonder how many people took the words of strummer and the music of the clash and changed direction in their lives. I would guess their influence bridges many continents. Spitboy firmed in the bay area of San Francisco. Home to east bay punk scene that wasn’t just the lookout poppier sound of Green Day and Mr t experience but noise of econochrist and neurosis. Spitboy combined the two with political lyrics. Always handing out sheets at their gigs, something so few bands who wanted to change the world actually did.
It’s a book of many short tales, many of these dal with people confronting the band over their sexuality in a threatening manner. Spitboy were ready to answer back but what sort of punk rock do you want to be associated with if people of colour are being heckled because of their existence.
I like the idea of bands play by shirt sets. Spitboy had a policy never to okay for more than 30 minutes. To me that’s perfect length. Long enough to be intrigued and short enough not to lose interest. This didn’t always work when touring as they felt a certain responsibility. Leave it be is what I say but good that the band thought about it. It was nice to read about this and how the band made heir own t-shirts, a true spirit of diy punk.
Like their live sets this book is short and snappy. You get an insight into what it must have been like to be a xicana in a female punk band. There’s a ton of questions that comes from it but overall it makes me want to go back to my Spitboy records and remember the good things the band did