March 31, 2022 Fresh Produce

Before there was punk, there were Los Saicos. Started by four guys in Lima, Peru, Los Saicos thrashed their way through local venues and cinema matinees in the 1960s, eventually flickering into obscurity almost as quickly as they’d arrived. But they left behind a roster of hits, including “Demolición,” a buzzing maelstrom of a song driven by the guttural screams of lead singer Erwin Flores, whose orders to smash a train station capture the lawlessness of these proto-punk pioneers. Around the same time in Michigan, a bunch of kids born to Mexican migrants formed Question Mark and the Mysterians, and their runaway hit “96 Tears” became the first song by a Mexican-American band to ever top Billboard‘s Hot 100. Mop-topped and enigmatic, they were also the very first act to be described as “punk” in Creem magazine, years before the term became ubiquitous. And in the Seventies, Alice Bag broke down the doors for women in punk as the frontwoman and co-founder of the Los Angeles punk band the Bags.