Manic Hispanic - Mijo goes to Jr. College
Manic Hispanic - Mijo goes to Jr. College (BYO Records)
Soy una pocha. I don’t admit that to many people. The fact that you can be Mexican, even ¼ Mexican, and not habla español is muy embarazoso, no? But embarrassing or not, I grew up in North Orange County and attended La Habra High School, which is about 80% Hispanic. So I can relate completely to the wicked punk rock humor of Manic Hispanic’s newest album, “Mijo goes to Jr. College.”
I grew up as a punk in the early 80s. My high school was a tough place, with Mexican skinheads and white cholos. Me and my girlfriends used to make fun of the cholas with their cowcatcher bangs, their heavy grey eye shadow, their shaved-off-drawn-on eyebrows, and their tough girl exteriors. Ironically, most of my girlfriends were Mexican, or had some Mexican in them – but we were not cholas. Later, in college, we even had gang names – Lisa’s was La Giggles, Kim’s was Sleepy, I forget mine – it was probably something embarrassing. So when Manic Hispanic’s first album “The Menudo Incident” came out in 1995, it was probably funnier to me than the average person.
Since that time, Manic has continued to turn out hilarious send ups of classic punk anthems – 2001’s The Recline of Mexican Civilization includes such gems as “Get them Immigrated” (Offspring’s “Come Out and Play”), “Brown Girl” (X’s “White Girl), and my personal favorite, “Mommy’s Little Cholo” (Social D’s “Mommy’s Little Monster”).
Now they have done it again with Mijo Goes to Jr. College (BYO), - a reference to the Descendent’s 1982 Milo Goes to College - including such witty parodies as “Creeper is a Lowrider” (The Ramone’s “Sheena is a Punk Rocker”), “My Homeboy is a Joto” (D.I.’s “Johnny’s Got a Problem”) and the oh-my-God-that-is-so-funny “I Want to be a Cholo” (The Vandal’s “Urban Struggle”). Add their serious musical chops and “El Jefe” Gaborno’s amazingly funny stage antics, and you have a band that transcends musical parody. One album would have been merely funny – three albums of quality material is significant. In a weird way, they take the source material, adapt it, add to it, and create something new that expands upon the genre – meta-punk rock, anyone?
My anglo friends, my Irish friends, my scottish friends, my friends who don’t have 14 friends of their fathers that they call uncle, tell me they’d like Manic Hispanic so much more if they could “just understand what he was saying.” To them I say “Oye! Listen up!” Learn Spanish. This is how it’s going to be in Orange County. Whites will be the minority within 5 years. It’s time to habla español, no?
Remember when Taco Bell spelled everything phonetically? Like you were too stupid to pronounce taco (tah-co), burrito (buh-ri-to), or tostada (to-stah-da)? Well, my younger friends tell me that Manic songs are just not that funny if you were born after, say 1969 and didn’t grow up punk. They don’t get the obscure Descendents reference. They don’t understand the social significance of a band like the Damned, or the Dickies. They haven’t heard any of the original songs, which is probably why the translations of the original songs are there on the albums, like the phonetic spellings at Taco Bell. To them I say, ”listen, pinche cochino – this is funny, no matter what year you were born!” If you don’t think that “The INS Took My Novia Away” is funny, even if you have never heard a Ramone’s song, then I can’t help you. The reverse is also true – I have never heard a NOFX song in my life. I really don’t punk rock after, say, 1988. But I think “Cruise” based, (I am told) after the NOFX song “The Brews” is a good song. The original probably sucks, since all punk rock after 1988 sucks, but hey, that’s just me. Manic Hispanic is funny. Soy una pocha.
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