For decades, Dade County has been caught up in a tide of grime and blood that rolls across across the concrete wastelands of the city and its suburbs. But this toxic waste is also the cesspool from which punk rock bands are born.
Like Die Trying, a Miami crew whose members (Charlie, Matt, John, Los, and T-Flo) represent 15 years of the MIA's punk history, having belonged to FATE, Unit 6, Eztorbo Social, Askultura, and Hellhounds.
The other day, we spoke with singer T-Flo (AKA Antonio Flores) and here's what he had to say about the new album, a song about a prostitute, and life as anti-racist skinheads.
What type of songs do you write?
I write about the shit that we go through and the things that we see in the city. Sometimes, we focus on the bad, but then it's like, you know what, keep your head up high. Get out of the gutter.
How did you get the name for the album, Flatlands?
Flatlands is what we call Miami. It's also about getting older. It basically talks about you're 30 years old and life is not exactly how you want it to be, so you gotta pick yourself up. You can't be half-drunk all the time. Your life may not be what you wanted, but you still gotta try to survive. That's what it is. Miami is the Flatlands.
Talk about "79th and Biscayne."
That's a song about a prostitute. It starts off with her passed out on a bench when the sun rises. Then all the shit that she goes through, like she gets beaten by her tricks, but she just tries to maintain. 'Cause she might not have another choice. She doesn't know anything else. And then it talks about her kid. And how he wakes up to see her come home. She's all bruised up and fuckin' wasted.
What you know 'bout that life?
I live near there and I work late hours. And when you drive by at 4 in the morning, you always see these tricks out there and these prostitutes everywhere. You always wonder what their lives are like. 'Cause it's not just a fuckin' hooker walkin' on the street. It's like, what's connected with that, what's at home waiting for her. Who is she feeding with that fuckin' money? What are her reasons behind it?
You have a song about Nazis killing someone in the Czech Republic.
That song is called "Jan Kucera." It's a true story about an 18-year-old kid from a town called Příbram, near Prague. He got stabbed in the groin, neck, and back and he bled to death at the hospital. The point is that he got stabbed by a Nazi. He was an anti-racist skinhead who ended up getting killed by the fascist scum. He got in a fight with these people and he died for something he believed in, which I think is very honorable and should be remembered. So that's why I wrote a song about him. It's a pretty powerful song.
"On the Streets Of Miami" has got some great lyrics. You wanna say some?
Three kids and minimum wage on the streets of MIA. Sunburned bodies filled with rage on the streets of MIA. Everyone thinks that they're better than you. Immigrant blood inside all of you.
You have a message with your music?
We're an anti-racist band. All of us come from different fucking cultures. Everybody comes from different places.
How do you describe the music?
Just like street punk, oi, with some touches of old-school hardcore. And y'know, rock 'n' roll.
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You do this for a living?
It's like Johnny from To Be Hated says "Punk rock will never pay the bills."
Skanko De Mayo. With Die Trying, Askultura, Ghetto Blaster, Sheffield Crew, Duppies, and others. Saturday, May 4. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. The show starts at 6 p.m. and cover costs $10. Ages 18 and up. Call 305-757-1807 or visit churchillspub.com.