Editor's Note - The following entry was submitted by Matt Caughthran, frontman of The Bronx and Mariachi El Bronx. Initially, the request was to gain some first-hand insight from Mariachi El Bronx ahead of their latest release, Musica Muerte. There just aren't many bands, if any, that can produce such dynamic punk tunes and craft traditional mariachi music. It's a showcase of versatility that never gets stale. What's particularly important is that Mariachi El Bronx does so with a true reverence for the sound. There's no gimmick, no pandering. It's not shtick. In fact, the ongoing label of Mariachi El Bronx being the 'alter-ego' of The Bronx seems silly given MEB has been it's own entity for well over a decade.
While the aim was to discuss Musica Muerte and the dexterity of LA punks that share sheet music with classically trained mariachi musicians, Caughthran instead submitted this. Equal parts stream of consciousness and social commentary, Caughthran's candor is just one facet that makes both The Bronx and Mariachi El Bronx such universally-praised practitioners. Aside from this being a great read worth sharing, Matt's take underscores the bigger picture of a reality that just about everyone is navigating.
Hello there everybody.
My name is Matt Caughthran and I am a total loser.
I currently have absolutely no desire or motivation to do ANYTHING. The Metal Gods have been hounding me for weeks to contribute something to Knotfest.com and I just can’t seem to put pen to paper, thought to action, or rubber to road. They want me to tell you the story of Mariachi el Bronx and why our latest release, Música Muerta, somehow matters in a world that is currently fucking itself in the ass.
This all started about three months ago when the Coronavirus effectively put the world on house arrest. With so much uncertainty and sadness across the planet, it honestly felt wrong to worry about your own life.
They were stacking bodies into refrigerator trucks in New York! 'Nobody cares about your cancelled tour bro!!!'
One day turned into another, and one terrible live stream at a time we all sank deeper into the darkness. As I reset the router and wiped tears from my eyes, I wondered if anything would ever be the same. Are we living on the edges of extinction? And if so, do I really want to spend my last days compiling a comprehensive list of Mariachi el Bronx B-sides, rarities, covers, and live tracks?
Then George Floyd got killed by the cops and everything truly went to shit. Now ALL the cards are on the table. Global Pandemic, bankrupt economy, police brutality, systemic racism, media manipulation, political pandering, and murder.
The world took to the streets to voice its collective disgust as nationwide protests and civil unrest swept across the United States. The band raised over $20,000.00 for Breonna Taylor and I filed for unemployment in the same week. I’ve never felt so proud and so ashamed. Smiles and cries my friends, smiles and cries.
I guess if every apocalypse needs a soundtrack, then Música Muerta is our humble offering to the end of humanity. It only took months to compile, but a lifetime to create. It’s a labor of love in a heartbroken world. And as we all fry on the outskirts of existence, fighting for control of an uncertain future, I can’t help but wonder if any of it makes any difference.
Order Musica Muerte from Mariachi El Bronx HERE