As a Xicana in East LA raised by single mom, Gonzales’ upbringing was different than her bandmates
Michelle Cruz Gonzales and her bandmates didn’t fit the usual stereotype of punk rockers (read: angry white men). She told the Oakland audience: “I actually don’t like a lot of chaos in my life…but I became a punk rocker anyway.” As a founding member and drummer for Spitboy, a feminist hardcore punk band, their group was “friendly as fuck.” But as their band toured, factors outside their control drew focus on their differences. Namely: race and class. As a Xicana in East LA raised by single mom, Gonzales’ upbringing was different than her bandmates. Observing the other member’s privileges like balanced checkbooks, straight teeth, and college funds, Michelle internalized these differences and coped. She did it to make others feel comfortable. She made herself the other and performed. Listen to Michelle’s story of identity and internal chaos, watching her band’s roles reverse as they perform in Japan. Hear her look back at those punk years through her academic lens of schema and chaos theories, realizing her identies then were not and are not mutually exclusive. This is a story on code-switching, on the intersection of experiences, identities, and expectations. How can we sync the discordant, break down walls, and embrace the chaos? How can we rock what’s already there?