Let’s be honest, hardcore shows have a tendency to attract large numbers of young men who aren’t afraid to get physical if the music’s right. In the thick testosterone fug of dimly-lit backrooms, you’re guaranteed a mass of flailing bodies, with guys pausing to remove their shirts and wipe sweat from their brows.
These nightly rituals only bolster the macho reputation that hardcore music has garnered over the years. However, for New York punks Limp Wrist, this display of hyper-masculinity inadvertently provided the perfect backdrop for their own brand of ‘queercore’.
Homosexuality within the hardcore scene hasn’t always been widely accepted. While punk rock provides a platform for supporting many causes, the genre has never really opened itself to the gay community until recently. In the ’80s, bands like The Dicks and The Big Boys, both of which featured openly gay lead singers, were confronted with homophobia everywhere they played. In a scene largely run by outcasts for outcasts, these gay musicians were forced into further isolation, sending out a message that homosexuals weren’t welcome at punk shows.
Today, these blinkered opinions have decreased, while Gary Floyd of The Dicks and Randy Turner of Big Boys are regarded as pioneers of the gay movement within a scene that once turned their backs on them.
Limp Wrist’s lead singer Martin Sorrondeguy was no stranger to discrimination himself. His old band, Los Crudos, struggled to find acceptance in the scene due to their Latino background. His decision to start an all-gay punk band almost makes perfect sense. Shortly after forming in 1998, they recorded a demo titled Don’t Knock It Til You Try It.
On their 2001 self-titled album, the band revel in the homoeroticism that masks the hardcore scene. They blast through 18 tracks in 15 minutes and kick the album off with queercore anthem I Love Hardcore Boys/I Love Boys Hardcore, a track that celebrates the sheer variety of punk rockers: ‘Bi-hawks and studs are really hot/ 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.’
Throughout the record, Sorrondeguy’s frank lyrics are also occasionally satirical of the band’s own sexuality and hardcore stereotypes as a whole. The song Secrets is about growing up gay and coming out to your parents. In true Limp Wrist style, they inject the rather sensitive subject with some of their own lewd humour, ‘But one detail I left out and mom I don’t mean to shock/But your good ol’ boy loves sucking cock’. The tone does get more serious, though, on tracks like Back in the Days, a recollection of the time when homosexuals in the punk community were afraid to come out.
Limp Wrist are still going strong. While their short and abrasive hardcore will never disturb the mainstream, it was never their goal to achieve worldwide acceptance. They just want to have some fun and challenge punk prejudices. Handily, a compilation collecting their entire back catalogue, Thee Official Limp Wrist Discography, was released in 2005.
For more information on Limp Wrist, check out their Facebook page.