Monday, March 14, 2011

Was + Metal + Chick

Dagger was born in 2004 as an alternative all-girl metal band in Mexico. Cult band for some few, two demos and 1 EP titled “The Mean Machine” (2008). Dagger won Best Metal Album at the Indie-O Music Awards, and was featured in several festivals, interviews, books… The music was something like THIS:

DAGGER was born during the first months of 2004. Conceived by guitarist and singer Gaby de la O, Dagger’s main objective was to attack the lack of girl bands in Mexico and the idea that “girls can’t play”. Their first show was at a small party in the Bondojo neighborhood, south Mexico City, playing some Metal classics.

For June, with a mix of covers and original material, Dagger performed at the contest “The King of the Metal”, promoted by Indie label Nuevos Ricos remaining as the winner band of the night. Since then, Dagger has performed in diverse venues and major festivals in Mexico such as Manifest 2006, Monterrey Metal Fest II, Women’s Festival at the Zocalo in Mexico City, Festival del Centro Histórico, Lady Fest Monterey and Plataforma Puebla 06. Dagger has shared stage with The Delays, Tim “Ripper” Owens, Neil Turbin, Azraels Bane, Ignitor, Los Fancy Free, Las Ultrasonicas, Twin Tones, Yokozuna, among many other bands. Their first “Dagger Summer Demo” in 2005 secured them immediately great press reviews and interviews in important newspapers, magazines and webzines in Mexico, USA, Canada and The Netherlands. Dagger released their debut EP The Mean Machine in 2008 which was co-produced by Jenny Bombo from legendary all-girl band Las Ultrasonicas. The band embraces seventies metal guitar riffs with a mix of punk and dark vocals. Dagger’s infectious primitive rock sound is a show not to be missed. *Discography: The Mean Machine EP (2008!) Libre (2006) Dagger Summer Demo (2005)

Some press: “From some hidden and rebellious neighborhoods in Mexico City comes a good ass kicking in the form of Dagger”. - Lucky, Sugar Buzz Magazine, California… “One of the best new Metal talents!” - R&R, Magazine, Mexico. “They have dirty, crunchy tone to them (perhaps why I keep thinking Black Sabbath) with a Rock sensibility that makes the songs more memorable and enjoyable than they would be otherwise. The choruses are simple but effective with the chorus from Black River being stuck in my head since I received the demo”

- Chris, Metal Reviews, Canada.


For more info about the band:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Los Fernanduccis - The making of Fucked Up Cat

From the vaults, Los Fernanduccis video.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Moonblink Twilight Limbo

This is the cover design I made for unreleased The Sweet Leaf's 2009 demo, "Moonblink Twilight Limbo". You can listen to the songs here

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Bye bye Sweet Leaf

Photo: Camila Jurado

I remember perfectly the very first jam with The Sweet Leaf. I was awakening for a long infertile dream. The way the songs reverberated in my head, the way I was feeling I was at last joining a "real" band, getting inside this very creative rock-conscious group of individuals who carried a breathtaking musical history and experience. That night I finally doze off around 3 a.m. I was so excited and felt so blessed. 

The last time I played with them was in a Black Sabbath Tribute on May 8th 2009, organized by Stoner Rock Mexico. We had major fuck ups and failed terribly. And after that, everything started to sink. I couldn't understand what happened to the band that night, as we were improving so good. 

Anyhow, some days later we were invited by this guy that wanted to set up the tribute in his bar, northern Mexico City. The guy asked for the same line-up so I asked him to pay all the bands. Shockingly, this attitude brought up comments by my band mates calling me "Classist". It apparently means that for them $100 pesos ($7.4 USD) might not be a difference whether deciding for playing or not. Of course, we don't make a wealthy living from playing in this country.  But what I still do not understand is why you are not morally allowed to charge a fee for your performance, knowing that the promoter is going to receive a lot of money from beer and tickets. Some band members uttered that their musical work is made for art's sake only, for the people. And this is where the term "Classist" comes up, implying that musicians even in a great opportunity like this event, knowing that one could be decently paid for gas expenses, performance and gear investment, shouldn't charge.  This is by no means arguing against that music should be free and for the masses. It is just a matter of self-respect. No wonder why in Mexico City there are several promoters and bar owners booking bands with no remuneration guarantee. No wonder why several Mexican bands are playing for free. No wonder why most of them are really very bad bands who are satisfied with some loads of beer and long-waited stardom dreams. 

Ivan Nieblas and me organized this tribute months ago. I believe we started at the very beginning of this year planning, setting up, contacting people and bands. Aside from gaining some bucks, what we really were pursuing was to introduce Mexican kids to the Stoner Rock genre. Some people would say that maybe a better option would had been a Saint Vitus or a Kyuss Tribute. But culturally speaking, Mexicans know more about Black Sabbath and that was the hook to give kids an option to listen new bands, "new" genres. None of these motives apparently helped. 

I had enough. I always believed TSL would be playing big, they deserved it. I deserve it. So I quit the band. After spending most of my time dedicating to promotion, selling their records, designing several layouts for their myspace page, answering fan emails, uploading videos overnight... Now, everything is gone and it's sad to tell. Not that I have suddenly turned into a bigoted rant! It's just that I have been "there" before, struggling with Mexican Rock bands fluff. It still amazes me that none of them truly believed the chance they had now with a Myspace page or a FB page. This band was formed in the nineties and struggled with the fact that you had to wait two or three months in order to receive any letter or review from magazines.  Now it  seems they prefer to rock comfortably in "reality" rather than spending some moments virtually giving some time to some of several fans from the US, Europe and South America that contacted the band since their Myspace page was kicked off. It seems they have given up. 

No wonder why in Mexico, Rock music is falling into the hands of the execs. If independent musicians do not ask for respect and decent remuneration for their performances, then they won't ever have it. 

This is a video from a gig in Xalapa, Veracruz. That venue was really small, but we had an incredible time playing there. I really enjoyed spending time on the road with these "forever-rock" fellows. This is a way to somehow preserve the good memories. 

Bye bye Sweet Leaf.

Mexican Women, they read.

Not the case for the gents. I took these pictures while riding the Metrobus, a Mexico City's public transportation that runs from south to north. The first two sections are exclusive for women. I have noticed that Mexican women read more than Mexican men. Whether they read magazines, newspapers and books women strive for some space to sit comfortably and start reading. 

While most of the men, dedicate themselves to send text messages. 

Monday, June 01, 2009

I love my cat

Tomás sitting on my belly, apparently asleep. I start to stroke him.

Tomás wakes up, he's going to do something. Mad cat!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pasó en el Metrobús - el silencio de muchas, la voz de unas cuantas.

Es increíble las reacciones que una mujer puede recibir en cuanto levanta la voz o hace algo por las demás mujeres. En este caso, quiero compartir lo que acaba de sucederme.

En apoyo a la causa del performance del sábado, (No más Acoso / Sabado 16 de Mayo, 16:00 hrs, Glorieta de Insurgentes) imprimí el volante y le saqué copias. Mi objetivo era repartirlo en el metrobús de regreso a casa. Entré a la estación de Durango, y sin problema alguno, empecé a repartir los volantes a las mujeres que me encontraba. Muchas de ellas, concentradas en la puerta que dice claramente “Exclusivamente Mujeres, Niños y Adultos de Tercera Edad”, ya que subirse en otra puerta implicaba por la hora tener que compartir espacio con los hombres, incómodas. Repartía y decía gracias con una sonrisa. Una vez en mi autobús, empecé a distribuir el volante a las mujeres. Algunas me decían “No gracias”, a ellas les explicaba brevemente de lo que se trataba, que era la invitación a quejarnos sobre no poder usar falda o escote o cualquier otra prenda en esta ciudad ya que siempre hay hombres que te acosan con la palabra y con la mirada, con el chiflidito, con el sonido de un beso asqueroso. Muchas de ellas, después de escucharme lo aceptaban, les brillaban los ojitos entendiendo perfectamente, como hermanando la situación por las que todas hemos pasado. Lo aceptaban, lo leían.

Bajé en una estación porque ese autobús venía muy vacío y me subí a otro. Éste estaba más lleno, y me fui de punta a fin a repartir el volante, predicando la explicación anterior en voz alta con una satisfacción increíble. Era delicioso poder hablar del acoso callejero así enfrente de los hombres. El problema se hacía verbo.

Subió más gente, y entre ellos un hombre de mediana edad que en la sección de mujeres ya estaba sentándose cómodamente. Después de repartir más volantes, sentí que lo que estaba haciendo y lo que estaba viendo no correspondían, y le dije “¿Sabe que esta es sección de mujeres? Bueno, entonces ceda el asiento a una mujer”. Él me dijo “¿Te vas a sentar?”, y yo le dije que no, y entonces con un “Bueno” se quedó ahí sentadote. Y después abrió la boca para decir “Ahorita que se suba una mujer, le doy el asiento”, a lo que respondí “Pues quiero ver, voy a repartir esto y vuelvo para checar que ya no estás aquí sentado”. (Ya le hablaba de tú).

Fui de nuevo hasta el final del camión, y regresé para verlo plácidamente sentado en el mismo lugar. Y entonces no quise callarme, y le empecé a preguntar que si no entendía que ésa era la sección de mujeres… “Pues yo no veo donde diga que es para mujeres” – “¿Ah no? A ver chofer –estábamos hasta delante del metrobús- Dígale al señor que esta es sección de mujeres”, a lo que me contestó “Pues sí le voy a decir, pero también voy a reportarte porque estás repartiendo publicidad y no puedes hacer eso”. El hombre sentado sonreía ya complacido. Yo, levantaba la voz con más coraje “Entonces si le vas a avisar al policía, también le vas a decir que baje a este señor que está sentado en la sección de mujeres”. El chofer tomaba ya el radio para reportar un 015 o algo así. Llegando en la siguiente estación, empezó a pitarle al policía con desesperación como si en verdad existiera ya una situación caótica. El policía se acercó, y escuché que el chofer sólo me estaba reportando a mí: me acusaba tal cual de estar repartiendo publicidad. Como si se tratara de un impulso contra la aburrición, el oficial saltó al autobús y me ordenó que me bajara. Yo me negué. “¿A ver tu publicidad?” Tampoco se la di. La tomó de otra señora, y me dijo que bajara. –“Pues entonces también baje al señor que no está respetando el lugar asignado para mujeres”. El señor se levantó y explicó que yo había sido muy prepotente y que no sabía nada de esas reglas. El policía, con muuuuucho respeto y amablemente, le pidió que se pasara atrás. Y con una frase que no he escuchado en meses de utilizar el Metrobús, dijo “Caballeros, por favor atrás”. El señor obedeció. El oficial ya se volteaba a verme, y me decía “Señorita bájese”. En todo este tiempo, ninguna mujer abrió la boca. Ninguna dijo, exclamó, me dio la razón, todas, calladas, supongo yo, con la inminente actitud aprendida de no tener problemas con la autoridad. Entré en shock y en profunda tristeza.

Bajé del Metrobús con el oficial, que ya me estaba pidiendo mi identificación. Yo me negué, y estaba buscando la salida. Total, pensaba yo, caminaba y me subía en la próxima para repartir volantes. El oficial insistía en que le diera mi credencial, y fue entonces que opté por suavizar mi voz y tomar una actitud buena-ondita. Le expliqué que yo no había hecho nada. Que mi “publicidad” era justo para impedir el maltrato a las mujeres, que se respetaran las reglas, lo que no hizo el señor sentado al que le habló con mucho respeto.

Por el contrario, el oficial no bajó la guardia, y corporalmente empezaba a amenazarme, y a acercarse. Su mirada era dura. Empezó a levantar la voz, a tomar su radio, todas, actitudes ceñudas e inquietantes. Me solté a llorar. Mucho. La gente alrededor empezaba a voltear. Y fue cuando una supervisora de la empresa se acercó y me preguntó qué me pasaba y qué me estaba diciendo el oficial. Y entre muchos sollozos y palabras cortadas le empecé a explicar lo que había sucedido. Enseguida, ella volteó a ver al oficial con enfado, su mirada decía “Pinche cabrón”, y le dijo “acompáñame”. Luego se dirigió a mí y me dijo muy suave “¿Quieres acompañarme a la próxima estación porque aquí no hay luz y me cuentas qué pasó?”. Y nos subimos y el oficial se quedó pegado a nosotras, dizque hablando por radio. Una vez ahí, yo no podía dejar de llorar. Me entró “el sentimiento” –como le llaman. Obvio que muchas personas empezaron a voltear a vernos y a escuchar. Al principio, yo no podía hablar. Me ganaba la impotencia, el coraje, la amenaza. Hasta que por fin, le expliqué a la supervisora –y tal vez lo dije muy alto- que el oficial me había bajado por repartir unas invitaciones, que sus movimientos corporales eran rudos, que me había gritado, amenazado y pedido mi credencial cuando yo no había hecho nada. En síntesis, que me había tratado como un criminal, cuando en realidad el acoso, el manoseo, el robo en el Metrobús sigue sucediendo. Ahí explotó todo.

Una mujer que venía sentada me habló y me dijo “Yo soy del movimiento feminista, ¿quieres reportar al oficial? ¿En qué te ayudo? ¿Qué te hicieron?”. Ella ya estaba levantándose con libreta en mano y preguntándole a la supervisora qué iban a hacer. Otro señor que venía detrás con su hija, me habló también y dijo muy indignado “¿Por qué no lo reportas ante tal y tal? ¡Ya estamos cansados que los llamados policías nos traten mal cuando viven de nuestros impuestos!”. Otro señor se acercó, y empezó a decir lo mismo, que lo reportara, que me quejara. Dos mujeres a los lados empezaron a apoyar diciendo algo así que ya estaban hartas de esos malos tratos. El oficial trataba de defenderse, sin éxito. De pronto se generó una nube de enojo, de rebelión.

Bajamos la señora feminista, un señor que nos dijo más tarde que era abogado, la supervisora, yo y el oficial quien, ridículamente seguía jugueteando con su radio. Todos empezaron a preguntarle por su identificación, todos empezaron a reclamarle por qué me había tratado así. Todos. Enojados. Disgustados. Hartos. El oficial ya con sonrisita ante la frase del abogado “Puedes perder tu trabajo por este tipo de actitudes”, se disculpaba ya conmigo. Y yo, firme, le decía que me había tratado mal y como criminal.

Al final, la supervisora quedó en pasar el reporte. Al final, el oficial dijo que él era joven y que le gustaban este tipo de eventos como los que decía mi publicidad (¿?). Al final y ya mucho más tranquila, me subí con la feminista. Para mi sorpresa y cuando me dijo quién era, recordé que ella había organizado cinco años atrás un evento en el zócalo en el que participó Dagger. Y entonces fuimos platicando bien en alto –las mujeres alrededor escuchaban con atención- sobre el performance, sobre el acoso callejero, sobre los escotes y las faldas. Ella me decía que en los setentas, sus primeras acciones de performance también fueron sobre el abuso sexual en el transporte, y que poco a poco esta inquietud se fue atenuando, hasta desaparecer por muchos años. Ahora ve con gusto que las voces se empiezan a levantar, que las mujeres se están quejando. Y que no hay nada mejor que recibir de pronto un volante como el mío donde queda claro que las mujeres no se están quedando calladas otra vez. Intercambiamos información. Ella traía un volante sobre la VIII Semana Cultural de la Diversidad Sexual en donde se hablará de Pederastia, Discriminación, Pornografía, Femicidio, Teología, Globalización Sexual, entre otros.

Cuando nos despedimos, sus últimas palabras fueron “¡Sigue tu lucha!”, con el puño en alto. Me solté a llorar, pero no esta vez por sentirme débil e impotente ante la autoridad corrupta y el machismo del chofer, sino porque de alguna forma recibí un gesto, un abrazo, un cariño, una actitud materna, que para eso es lo que estamos las mujeres en el mundo, para apoyarnos y apapacharnos.

De esta experiencia, lanzo las siguientes preguntas y reflexiones:

¿Qué es exactamente lo que hace que las mujeres permanezcan calladas, en mi caso, cuando el oficial me ordenaba bajar del autobús, sabiendo que eran más civiles testigos, no dijeron nada?

¡Cuán profundas son las raíces de la educación paternalista que nos impiden como mujeres defendernos mutuamente!

Últimamente los hombres no hacen caso de las áreas del Metrobús, y ya son varias ocasiones que no nos hacen caso cuando les decimos que nos den nuestro lugar. Cada vez se hacen más pendejos y se quedan sentados. Esto nos está arrojando a la situación que pasa en el Metro, por ejemplo, donde de plano, no se respetan las áreas para las mujeres.

Hay tema para platicar. Y mucho material para hacer algo al respecto.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


The following text was published in Stoner Rock Mexico and it was written by Ivan Nieblas and me. Feel free to comment something...

Dear all,

Due to the sudden massive email delivery since the swine flu epidemic started, heated messages which have been nurtured from all kind of political stance and theories, speculation and so called scientific information, we have decided to deliver the following views.

We are witnesses a social crisis which unfortunately has happened several times before. Since this country came into existence (and that is, since “The Discovery of the Americas”) government lies and corruption have manipulated Mexicans with either science-fiction stories (e.g. “The Chupacabras”), nature-gone-wrong tales (e.g.”The African Bee Attack”) or any propaganda available to distract them from the truth (e.g. Similarities with Lopez Obrador and Hugo Chavez” etc.)

This country has been burned and tore down by its inhabitants and by their government. We can reassure you that there are no evident next-door swine flu cases, but deep and terrible silence. Each corner of this city (Mexico City) is saturated with silence. The events take place in the very center of our Nation, therefore, in our roots. Again, our voices have been silenced.

Prisoners in the meshwork of government, Mexicans do what they have been told to do. This is not a matter of wearing face masks or not (which their recent increase in demand have considerably increased pharmaceutical companies income), it is a matter of how easy and innocently Mexican people are responding to threat and apparent chaos.

When you walk on the streets and when you use public transportation, there are very few people reading, even talking. People rushing home to turn on the TV news in order to listen all over again how to wear a face mask properly or which are the symptoms of this new virus, even though many of them are unable to explain it. Some hours ago, our catholic and military-monger president has commanded to the Mexican people to stay home, because contact-only with our families will prevent the virus to be spread.

People are being deprived of a better future and a better income. Media, institutions and the selective upper class have piled them up on the edges not only of the city but on their very hearts and beliefs. We have heard elected politicians reasserting that this epidemic has gone badly, that critical actions must be taken, hiding such issues as the imminent search warrant to the private spaces, to our very own homes. A new law has already being approved by the Chamber of Deputies on April 23 along with the presidential decree on April 25, in which non-uniformed police officers or health agents have the right to enter our homes either for drug dealing suspicion or swine flu infection. Their actions and measures reveal their conspiracy against all of us. Institutions and companies are also implicated, not to mention the pharmaceutical industry.

And still, despite this, what has shocked us is the incapacity and uselessness of the big majority that is scared to the bones: “wear masks just in case...” Who hasn’t overheard this discussion? We hear all the time people complaining about government, and still, they obey.

We have already posted several information and texts in Spanish in our personal blogs and myspace profiles, but we think it is our duty to do so by Stoner Rock Mexico, both in English and Spanish so people who have subscribed to our newsletter not only from Mexico and Latin America but from Europe and the U.S. Feel free to start a discussion, to send us your comments. Your feedback is really important to us in this “dark times”.

We are sending the following recommended texts and links because we believe it is our responsibility not as society outcasts, but as human beings concerned for what is happening in Mexico, to keep people informed, and to keep you people away from your government’s claws.

We believe in truth, which already exists in our hearts. We are against fear, panic and sheep-like behaviour. We are also against the soon-to-be belief that we Mexicans, filthy people of the earth, pork-taco eaters, have spread the virus.

It is our duty to talk and spread in our own words what we stand for and what we see as witness of this hoax.

Surrounded by a constant fear for measures that have been developing until they become a state of exception, we stand for despising power of the “specialized class”, remembering all past and recent events that have taken place in this country. People tend to forget and forgive, ignoring pain, and will ignore soon their part in this martial law test. We strongly believe that those who sit on their capitalist thrones will congratulate us all for good behaviour in a matter of days. They will say that thanks to our good submission, the virus will be eradicated.

We still do not know if this propaganda will drive the population into mass acceptance for upcoming important political elections, into acceptance of imminent economic crisis which we have already dismissed from our heads. It is obvious that they were concocting this manipulation months ago. They have already achieved this: big and small restaurants are closed, museums, schools and universities are closed: every public event has been cancelled, constraining people to stay at home, censoring any action to disseminate suspicion and discussion, silencing the reluctant population.

Currently waiting for the authorities to confirm the Black Sabbath Tribute, the very first event we organized that would take place on May 8th, we hope it will not be cancelled in the last minute. The main goal for this show was to introduce Mexican kids to this music as an alternative choice to what they currently listen in mainstream radio and TV shows. Like many other subcultures and urban tribes in Mexico, we are doing a big effort to create more alternatives.

In addition, with our posts and these recommended texts, we want to introduce an alternative way of thinking and facing this "emergency". We want our voices to be heard, not to be shut off with a face mask.

Gaby de la O & Iván Nieblas

“Maybe there will be a popular revolution, and that will put us into state power; or maybe there won't be, in which case we'll just work for the people with real power: the business community. But we'll do the same thing. We'll drive the stupid masses toward a world that they're too dumb to understand for themselves”

Noam Chomsky, Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda.