first off, one has to approach this blog entry with the knowledge that in this corner of the blogverse The Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now?” is *THE* flyest song ever. i mean, c’mon now y’all, it has a karaokable (if thats even a word) guitar riff!

now that we have that knocked out the box, i can tell you for a fact that in 1986 it was not all hip-hop all the time in the boogie down. far from it. freestyle was huge at the time for anybody that really wanted to get their groove on and also for lovers of those who liked to get their groove on. places like Emerald City, The Fun House and (my very first club haunt) The Devil’s Nest were pumpin out the neo-disco grooves that was freestyle. a lil bit of the miami sound (huge horn sections & clave), a lil bit of phil spector (quite the number of trio girl bands), a ton of chicago house & jungle and enough early electronica to make “Running” by Information Society a dancefloor classic(!). ah yeah, freestyle was da bomb for a hot minute in the late 80s/early 90s.

the music was so damn encompassing that it made room for some other unlikely songs in its rotation including the B52’s “Rock Lobster” & “Private Idaho”, the Bangle’s “Walk Like An Egyptian” and Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” (which all the bronx boys used to call “in the midnight hour” those in the know can forgive the faux-pas). this eclectic branch of freestyle was enough to also bring the goth kids out to the club. yep, there was goth in the bronx back in the day. not some imported manhattan variety but down home latinos that i guess werent happy with the trendy hip-hop nation.

while MTV and the trailer park wiggers were still in the dark, hip-hop was already a decade in the making in the bX. kinda old news to some.

ima take a few liberties here cuz i was not the kind of teenager that took a lot of chances. i was jus emergin from mah geek shell when i was hangin hard at the nest so i wasnt lookin to rock the boat on mah new found (semi)coolness.

but i was diggin the New Wave. Depeche, U2 and (ah yeah) The Smiths. this was the time that i first discovered all these bands and i was thinking that much like these goth kids that i couldnt quite figure out, that i was jus plain weird.

but lo and behold. it seems like this bronx boy’s love of morrissey is not as stange as it may sound. check this out…
Morrissey’s “Latino connection” has been a source of amusement and confusion to journalists who cannot quite see how this skinny, effete Englander with his oblique references to dank Manchester cemeteries could appeal to the traditionally macho, sun-kissed Latino culture. Nevertheless Morrissey dedicated his 1999 ¡Oye Esteban! tour to these fans, once famously told an audience in Orange County “I wish I was born Mexican,” and the singer’s new hometown is affectionately referred to as “Moz Angeles” by the local Latino contingent. Of the handful I spoke to at the Totally 80s Convention, all had seen Morrissey perform live at least twice, all had visited the annual The Smiths convention held each year in Los Angeles, and two had even met Moz in person. “Everyone we know has been touched by at least one Morrissey song,” said Hernandez. “He’s been in our lives for many years.” more here

and from another article:
Snowsell theorizes that Morrissey’s appeal to Latinos lies in the fact that he represents for them the same hope that he offers to all: an opportunity to transcend your lot in life. “Morrissey was, in short, providing to lower- and middle-class Mexican-Americans the same dual utopian message that he had once provided a decade earlier to predominately Anglo fans in the United Kingdom,” he writes. And what did he offer Anglos? “Escape from the injustices of a social order that confines them to the margin, but escape also from the limited identity options entrenched in peripheral, working- and middle-class culture.” more here

or you could jus love a baggin guitar riff or a dude that titles an album “Viva Hate” ;-)

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  1. So funny. This morning I come out of the shower and Steph has the ipod hooked up to the stereo blasting “There is a Light that Never Goes Out”. God, I loved The Smiths. As a freshman in high school, perpetually crushed out on some beautiful junior or senior, “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” was my theme song, or “Unlovable”.

    There’s a long-standing stereotype of Latino “machismo”. Did you ever find people you knew having problems with the gender bending that Morrissey flaunted? I knew, even in white, suburban Tucson people thought the Moz was a “poof” (to use the kindest possible term) and anybody who listened to him was guilty of the same by association. Of course, I didn’t help matters by being thin, wearing eyeliner, and reading for-god’s-sake poetry.

    Anyway, fantastic post. Thanks for taking me back.

  2. morrissey machismo. i just thought there was some oxymoronic sumthin sumthin there. jus thought — i’m soooo sorrrryyyy…..

  3. LOL, All my friends were into Freestyle (and still are) and I always thought I was the only Latina who liked Morrissey. All that angst! Who would have thunk it! Great info :)

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