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Mariachi Punk: The Bronx At Home In L.A.

Members of the Los Angeles-based hardcore punk band The Bronx have taken a radical career turn — they've recorded a mariachi record. For the time being, the hardcore is on hold, and the band members have transformed themselves into Mariachi El Bronx.

For more than three decades, the Los Angeles area has nurtured influential punk bands such as Bad Religion, Circle Jerks, Social Distortion, NOFX and Black Flag. Southern California's massive immigrant population and fiercely strong cultural ties to Mexico have made mariachi music an indelible part of the quotidian reality of Los Angeles life. For a local, mariachi and punk music are different patches on the same quilt.

Matt Caughtran is the band's singer, and Joby Ford is the band's guitarist. They recently spoke with Guy Raz.

"I think that mariachi, or Latin music in general, is just as much a Southern California kind of music as punk," Ford says. "Probably the two most important bands in our lives are Black Flag and Los Lobos."

Caughtran calls the album "the punkest thing we could ever have done."

"A lot of focus is put on the emphasis of aggression in music when it comes to being classified as punk," he says. "But in the Bronx camp, it's always kind of been more of an ideal, you know, kind of steering away from what's regular, and trying the best we can to make stuff that's original."

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