For decades, Dade County has been caught up in a tide of grime and blood that rolls across the concrete wastelands of the city and its suburbs. But that's also the cesspool from which punk-rock bands are born. Such as Die Trying, a Miami crew whose members — Charlie, Matt, John, Los, and T-Flo — represent 15 years of the MIA's punk history after having belonged to Fate, Unit 6, Eztorbo Social, Askultura, and Hellhounds.
Last week, ahead of Die Trying’s Saturday appearance at Skanko de Mayo, 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 an anti-racist skinhead.
New Times: What type of songs do you write?
Die Trying at Skanko de Mayo
Skanko de Mayo: With Die Trying, Askultura, Ghetto Blaster, Sheffield Crew, Duppies, and others. 6 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com. Cover costs $10. Ages 18 and up.
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.
Talk about "79th and Biscayne," on your new album, Flatlands.
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 do you know about 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?
"On the Streets of Miami" has 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.
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How do you describe the music?
Just street punk, oi!, with some touches of old-school hardcore. And, y'know, rock 'n' roll.
You do this for a living?
It's like Johnny from To Be Hated says: "Punk rock will never pay the bills."