THERE WASN'T a subculture Los Crudos failed to embrace. Hardcore, queer, straightedge, and Latino, the seminal Chicago band shimmered as a beacon for true, undistilled DIY punk in the '90s. Culled from the working class Pilsen neighborhood, Los Crudos nobly clung to their Chicano roots, singing (err, screaming) primarily en Español and offering a broader lyrical view than the predictable mosh anthems of their peers. Much like Fugazi to the east and Unwound to the west, Los Crudos were the focal point of Midwest punk culture, but it wasn't enough to prevent the band from splintering in 1998.
The next musical outlet for former Los Crudos frontman Martin Sorrondeguy was a bit more personal, yet of equal importance. Limp Wrist channeled all the fury of Sorrondeguy's former band, but did so under the rainbow banner of queer punk culture. Much to the chagrin of Bad Brains, homosexuality and punk rock have gotten along famously, from the pre-queercore days of the Big Boys and the Dicks to the inspiring run of Team Dresch, and even acts that oftentimes placed their sexuality ahead of their music (Pansy Division, Tribe 8). But Limp Wrist is still in the minority within hardcore (and more specifically the straightedge hardcore community, although the band no longer identifies themselves as such), a scene less willing to embrace social change than its more liberal punk brethren.
"I would have never come out in the '80s," explains Sorrondeguy. "I recall spotting a few folks who were queer in those times and I was nervous for them. There were many violent folks around at the time so it was a bit scary. When I came to the point where I was actively gay it took a bit of time to get comfortable and come out but I felt ready for whatever came my way."
For Limp Wrist (drummer-turned-guitarist Scott Moore, bassist Andrew Martini, drummer Paul Henry, and Sorrondeguy) there is a certain pride in mocking hardcore's lingering machismo with a thrashy, sexualized, pro-queer stance. Their unofficial anthem "I Love Hardcore Boys, I Love Boys Hardcore" is an ode to men of all scenes, the "California Girls" of gay hardcore anthems ("Emo kids whine, but I'll give 'em a shot/Tight pants skinheads with bodies that stack/This whole damn scene makes my eyes roll back"). Over the course of a handful of vinyl releases and CD compilations, Limp Wrist pulls the curtain—or opens the closet door—on the overt manliness that has forever defined hardcore; the beefy moshing dudes that adorn album covers, the suspicious absence of the fairer gender, the "cut the shit, start the pit" theatrics of pile-ups and stage dives, and the lyrical bro-on-bro battle cries.
Despite the fury with which they deliver their message, Limp Wrist tread carefully, deliberately not letting it overshadow their music. "It's quite challenging to balance message and music for a band," says Sorrondeguy. "This is not a unique problem to Limp Wrist, but it's been a problem for punk/hardcore as a whole. Lyrically, our songs have been dominated by sexuality and queer politics. Onstage it's prevalent and obviously gay. To the outsider's ear our music, especially out of the live context, it will come off as just angry dude noise."