Queercore Band Limp Wrist on Playing Live Again and Life as a Gay Punk
The song "I Love Hardcore Boys, I Love Boys Hardcore" is a given at most Limp Wrist shows. The brief, screamy hardcore anthem was written early in the band's career (late '90s) but it remains a mainstay, a memorable chant that crowds of sweaty punks cheer for. Not that they often have the chance to.
Since the four members of the legendary queercore band live scattered across the U.S., they're rarely in the same city and only play a handful of shows every couple of years. The band hasn't played a live show in two years, but when it was asked to tour South America, the members jumped on it and booked a few warm-up gigs in San Francisco -- two members live in the city -- including one tonight at the Big Gay Warehouse and another this Friday at El Rio.
We caught up with all four Limp Wrist members -- guitarist Scott Moore, bassist Andrew Martini, drummer Paul Henry, and singer Martin Sorrondeguy -- sitting around the coffee table in Martin and Scott's living room, with the irritating booms of Republican rocker Ted Nugent's Tuesday night show at the Independent audible on the street below.
When was the last time the four of you played together?
Scott: Two years ago we went to Europe.
So why are you now coming back together?
Martin: We're going to Brazil and Argentina to do some shows, and whenever we get asked to do something of that nature we do a few kickoff shows.
How long is the break between your shows usually?
Andrew: I think before that [the last two year break] it was every year. We did Europe, then the year before we did Japan, and the year before Australia and New Zealand.
But you want to keep doing the band, right? What is it about the pull of the four of you?
Paul: People ask us to play ridiculous countries and we like to go.
Andrew: And we love each other's company.
Scott: We've known each other for so long and we get along. I mean, I've known some of these guys going back quite a bit, 15 years.
How did the four of you meet?
Martin: I was from Chicago and I was in an old band I was traveling to the East Coast and I think that's how I met all these guys.
Scott: We figured out that Paul, Martin, and I were all at the same show that Martin's band Los Crudos played in rural Pennsylvania in 1996.
Martin: And Andrew used to book shows.
Andrew: Yeah, I booked shows in Philadelphia and I'd written to Martin because I wanted his band to play. I'd seen them before that but I'd wanted him to play for a while.
So when were you all living in the same city?
In unison: Never! [laughs]
Martin: You're looking at it!
But you keep playing.
Scott: It just keeps happening, it's not really planned out.
Paul: We think like it's just going to fall apart, or fizzle out and people won't care about it. And then people are like, "Hey we want you to do this" and we're like, "really?"
Will you be writing or recording new music during this time together?
Scott: No. Martin and I had talked about the possibility of, maybe when this whole thing was happening, writing some new songs. But we kept adding shows to fund it, because it's kind of an expensive trip, so we're trying to make sure we have a lot of shows to cover our asses. Maybe next time.
Andrew: It would be nice, to make something new.
Scott: We get sick of shit, fast.
How do you choose what songs to play live?
Paul: Anything that doesn't make anybody get up and walk out of the room.
Martin: I think every band goes through that, you write stuff and you're happy with it at the time and then over time you go, "um, I'm done with this."
What songs do people demand you play live?
Martin: People have the first record, so a lot of people want to hear those songs. We do nine of maybe 23 or 24 songs. We do "I Love Hardcore Boys, I Love Boys Hardcore," they love that one. There are other ones they call out but we just won't play them -- some we do, some we don't!
What are the songs that are just totally retired?
Scott: "Limp Wrist vs. Dr Laura."
I love it though! Why is it retired?
Paul: Well if [anyone in the crowd] knows it on drums, they can play it ... I just don't like it all. It's so bad!
But you can see why people would connect with it? It has that strong personality at the heart of it [Dr. Laura Schlessinger]?
Martin: Absolutely. It's campy. It's got the campy beginning. I think people crack up when they first hear it so it's stuck with people. It's just a musician thing. You're more critical of your own work.