Interview originally published in HERO 19.
The punk scene in Los Angeles is alive, well and staying close to its roots. South Central and East LA are the breeding grounds for a new generation of punks, and punk bands. The shows are not in typical venues, instead they are guerrilla gigs held in alleyways, abandoned buildings, and in backyards. A packed show has less than a hundred people, the mosh pits are intense, and blood and sweat leaves its mark. It’s a BYOB policy and you never know if the cops are going to crash the party.
One of the bands fronting this feral scene is Dumb Fucks. With three out of four members still in high school, all they care about is making music and skateboarding – and with a hard-wired zero-fucks attitude, they aren’t catering to the masses. They recently held a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs of touring with fellow LA band No Parents, but after some “bullshit” and getting removed from the 21-and-over shows they return to LA where they are looking to slow down on the gigging for a bit to focus on setting their tracks to vinyl.
Evan Goodfellow: I checked out YouTube footage of your shows, I really liked them.
Will Uribe: Yeah they really crack.
EG: When did you guys start the band?
Dutch Faro Baltz: Like two years ago with our friend Nick, in September or something like that.
WU: Our first show was in October, we were around for six months before that. We were playing riffs and all that.
EG: How did you all meet?
WU: Me and Dutch met through school.
Garrett Soliday: I just met Will at a show at The Smell. I wasn’t in the band originally but then it eventually turned into that.
EG: When you first started did you know you wanted to do a band?
WU: Me and Dutch wanted to start a band so we wrote a song and then that was it from there.
DFB: The way we do the song writing process is that someone writes a riff and then we jam to it for ten minutes and that’s a song. [laughs] That’s the whole process.
EG: Do you think about your shows when you write the songs?
GS: It’s kind of all about the show, about how it will sound when played live. But also it’s about how much energy it has.
WU: How fast and angry you can make it – so someone wants to hit someone.
EG: How did you get into punk?
WU: I listened to a lot of old school 90s and 80s rap shit. Then I was like, “What else is there?” I wanted to listen to something else. I listened to bands like Black Flag and Minor Threat and shit, then I just started finding more and more bands and started getting into that whole lifestyle. Then I just kept falling deeper and deeper into that hole.
GS: For me, I’d mostly credit it to my parents. My dad especially. He has a lot of old records and he was into punk back in the golden days, so I started listening to his records.
EG: Where is the best part of LA for punk shows?
WU: If you want a real good hardcore show you’ve got to go to South Central or East LA, like Downtown LA doesn’t really have a punk scene, it’s more artsy; it’s like safe punk shows, I guess.
EG: Tell me about East LA and South Central, I haven’t been to a punk show there.
WU: It’s more of a raw experience than LA shows.
EG: Do you think that those areas have more angst which they can release in their music?
WU: I’d say so. Honestly thats a big part of it, it’s not the nicest area and things maybe aren’t going so well.
EG: Tell me about your GoFundMe page for the West Coast tour with No Parents.
DFB: [laughs] No Parents asked us two weeks before they were going on tour to go with them. We pretty much had no money, I think we had 100 bucks and we didn’t have a ride or means of getting there, so I thought “fuck it” and made one.
GS: We also threw a show to raise money for it.
DFB: We started the GoFundMe because we don’t really have proper jobs. All of us are either in school or doing our own thing. Will actually just got a job, but we just didn’t have any source of income and it was like two weeks of notice. It was to be safe if we didn’t raise enough money at the benefit show. We made some money, and we had to make a lot of merch. It was good that we did the GoFundMe.
DFB: It worked out, we got to go on tour.
EG: What were the highlights of the tour?
WU: Skating a lot. It was more like a skate tour than playing shows.
GS: San Luis Obispo was pretty sick.
DFB: Someone got socked in the face at that show.
EG: How was Seattle?
DFB: Dude, we didn’t go. They dropped us from the bill for the 21-and-up shows for some reason, I don’t know. We only went up to Sacramento because after that it was only 21-and-up shows. But that was some bullshit because Vancouver drinking age is eighteen.
GS: Some bullshit, you could say that.
EG: What’s your schedule like for your upcoming shows?
WU: No clue. I never know until the week before.
GS: I think we are trying to slow down on shows and focus on songs because we want to put out some new stuff.
EG: Have any labels reached out to you?
WU: No [laughs], negatory. Actually, my homie Ed has an independent label and I just forgot to hit him up. He said he would make us tapes.
GS: This is how it goes with us, we aren’t very good at remembering or being organised.
DFB: Actually, I don’t know if you remember this, but one of our first posts on Instagram was “Fuck all these record labels.” We never really thought to get signed to a label.
EG: I’m guessing record execs probably aren’t going to your shows. You guys had a show last night, where did you play?
WU: In fucking South Central for our homie Matt’s birthday.
EG: What was the venue?
GS: It was in some alley, I don’t even know what the building is used for in the day?
DFB: Meth for the most part honestly.
GS: We walked in and there was all this graffiti and there some Christmas lights they put up. I found a bunch of blood on my pants, I think someone bled on me while I was playing. There was no room so we had to stand against the wall and me and Dutch were singing and people were trying to grab the mic from me and sing and I think that’s how I got blood on me.
EG: How many people were at the show?
WU: There was a lot, it was packed out. There was maybe like 70.
DFB: I think more. They couldn’t fit everyone. This guy came up to me later and said he wished he could have seen us play but they wouldn’t let him in because there was no room.
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