Punk’s Afterlife in Cantina Time

This essay considers the afterlife of punk through an orientation of time and space in the spatiotemporality of the cantina (South Tejas working-class bar). With attention to the Tejas punk sounds of Piñata Protest and Girl in a Coma, I consider punk’s afterlife in the form of what I argue is punk’s puro pedo temporality. Puro pedo or the general pedo is a Spanish Tex-Mex vernacular term that has a range of meanings, translations, and utility. In general, puro pedo is understood to mean talk with no action, bullshit, “no worries,” or other significations of insouciance. Puro pedo is also a way to describe a scene or happening that symbolizes a total disregard for abiding by normative time. By extension, pedo in this essay serves to consider punk music through an alternative space-time calculation. With a focus on the Tex-Mex cultural vernacular and iconography that establishes cantina time—as musically represented by the spatiality of Girl in a Coma’s music video and Piñata Protest’s song “Cantina”—an afterlife of punk emerges. The reorganization of space-time occurs through the re-assemblage of instruments such as the Tex-Mex button accordion, Spanglish, and cantinera femininity that form a sonic bending where a slow spatiality meets extended tempo. Moreover, the dissonant scramblings of punk on cantina time unsettle the computations of globalization’s daily force to collapse space and time. The Tejas punk of Piñata Protest and Girl in a Coma establishes a puro pedo punk afterlife, a space-time where a mas antes (an earlier or past time) is right on time.

Deborah Vargas