Mexican-American queer punk icon Alice Bag continues to make headlines after nearly forty years active in the East LA community. She was an elementary school teacher before she dabbled in music with several bands, though none more important than the Bags; the group played a pivotal role as part of the local first-wave punk scene in the ‘70s. She eventually wrote a book or two about her experiences and has since begun a new music project.
Alice Bag’s third solo album, Sister Dynamite, comes out May 8th on In the Red Records and the newly revealed single “Spark” is an exercise in unapologetic self-expression.
“For the “Spark” music video, I reached out to director Rudy Bleu Garcia, who along with Hex Ray Sanchez run Club SCUM, a favorite nightclub/performance space for queer punks in East LA. In the early days of SCUM, Rudy invited me to do a DJ set with Allison Wolfe. The turntables were in a tiny backstage area which also served as the queens’ dressing room. I literally bumped into Vander Von Odd in that little space and was immediately smitten by this beautiful, charming queen. I’m honored that Vander agreed to star in this music video. The queerest of the queer, Dragula season 1 winner, Vander truly embodies the message of the song. Except for the mouth breathing part, that’s just about me.” – Alice Bag
“Hell no, I’m not dimming my spark,” Bag declares in the recent track. The community legend has worked for years to dismantle the patriarchy—the Sister Dynamite title track (and primary single) reflects that very message. But on “Spark,” queer or any “othered” identity is front-and-center, and it won’t be diminished for anyone or any reason. This may be the very flame that ignites the album’s titular character.
Bag has a reputation for being succinct and direct, and her new album is shaping up to be all that and more. In classic punk fashion, “Spark” clocks in under three minutes, with not a second wasted. Racing guitar chords are led by a bass drum kicking at double-speed, driven by the energy of Bag herself. Her contemporaries in the scene, musicians and activists alike, have been touched by her tenacity. Sister Dynamite will be a wake-up call for anyone who needs it, and for many who have been shuffling along at half-capacity. The patriarchy will survive the pandemic, and we need to be strong enough to fight it once we make it to the other side.
by: Zoë Elaine