“Punk is no longer a subculture or a counterculture in any way. It’s totally just a small reflecting mirror for the same things that go on in larger culture.”- Geoff Rickly, lead singer of punk rock band Thursday.
Oh boy am I excited about this one, folks! You cannot imagine the glee I had watching this video for the first time on Friday. Amidst all the headbanging and jumping around I was doing, I remember my first thought was “Man I wish this song existed when I was in high school”, and my second thought was “Oh this is gonna make a BANGER of an article next week.”
The Linda Lindas are an L.A. punk band with four girls, ranging in age from 10 to 16. Their style is described as “riot grrrl” music, much like that of The Frumpies, Bikini Kill, and older acts like Joan Jett and Siouxsie and the Banshees. They were performing at the LA Public Library for an event about Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Month.
The youngest member, Mila (drummer) starts off the video describing a racist experience she had at school. “A little while before we went into lockdown, a boy in my class came up to me and told me that his dad told him to stay away from Chinese people. After I told him that I was Chinese, he backed away from me. Eloise and I wrote this song based on that experience.”
What’s the resume look like?
Two days after the video went viral (gaining 4 million views in 72 hours), punk recording label Epitaph Records signed them onto a record deal. This may seem premature, but they have kept a watchful eye on the band even before they went viral. In Amy Polher’s latest film “Moxie”, the girls actually performed Bikini Kill song “Rebel Girl” as themselves.
In December 2020, the Linda Lindas released an EP titled “Claudia Kishi”, named after a character from the Babysitters Club series. Claudia was the vice president of the club and a rare positive representation of Asian girls in the 80s and 90s. “She wears red high tops without socks. Her sense of style, it really rocks.” (My personal favorite song of theirs, but maybe that’s just because I thought Claudia was cool too).
In a YouTube video called “Meet the Linda Lindas”, the girls talk about what they do in the band, claiming that they “switch around” when it comes to instruments. “We all played instruments before we started the band… we started, like, less than a year ago” stated Lucia. “Yeah, and we were like really really bad” added Bela, followed by laughs from all four girls. They go on to discuss later gigs, big and small, and how they were selected to open the reunion tour of Washington punk band Bikini Kill. The video then shows us footage from concerts where they were performing “Kids in America” and (in my opinion, absolutely SLAYING) “Cherry Bomb”.
So far the girls have received critical acclaim from the rock community. Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine has called “Racist Sexist Boys” his Song of the Day. Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill thanked the girls for their amazing music and promoting a charity t-shirt company she founded. And, of course, the rest of rock and roll Twitter is obsessed with them too. (https://www.tees4togo.com)
SO, what’s next?
Well, other than the record deal, we haven’t heard about much yet. Mila has said that this fame has come at the worst possible time for her because she is trying to finish elementary school. “I have like, three projects due on Monday, and I haven’t even touched them.” So we can be positive that their next release will come after she finishes them. Study hard, Mila!
In the meantime, I think we should reflect on the message that the Linda Lindas spread. These girls aren’t even 18 yet, and they understand true rage better than some adults do. The fact that these racist sexist boys feel so entitled to ruin people’s self esteem so casually means they don’t think they’ll get in trouble for it. So to all of the decent people of the world, let’s start doing that. Let’s start holding them accountable for the sickening things they say, and relish at the look of shock in their faces.
And if you are a racist sexist boy reading this, well, I’ll just leave you with a lyric from my new favorite band. “WE REBUILD WHAT YOU DESTROY!”