Jimmy Alvarado (Butt Acne, La Tuya) has been working on a video project for the past 13 years, documenting the history of Eastside LA Punks. Blending live footage and interviews with multiple generations of musicians, artists, writers and scenesters, Eastside Punks taps into stories from the scene’s history.
In this first installment of the Eastside Punks series, we speak with first-gen East L.A. punks Thee Undertakers. Beginning at local parties in 1977, they became regulars in the scene centered around the legendary early-’80s eastside punk club The Vex. Their 1981 debut album, Crucify Me, successfully melded second-wave hardcore bite with first-wave art sensibilities, but remained unreleased until 2001. Though various members are still very active musicians, and Thee Undertakers still reunite for the occasional performance, they remain largely unsung heroes both locally and within the greater Los Angeles underground music scene.
Eastside Punks is a film series about Los Angeles’s other punk scene, one whose existence has developed parallel to, and occasionally intersected with, but remains largely marginalized from L.A.’s greater musical underground. Blending live footage and interviews with multiple generations of musicians, artists, writers and scenesters, Eastside Punks taps into stories from the scene’s history: from its beginnings in East L.A.’s art and music underground of the 1970s to the rise and fall of its premier club, The Vex, and the bands that called it home; how its 1980s rebirth as a wholly underground scene based in backyards and advertised on flyers and traded cassette tapes led to the celebrated Chicano Groove music scene of the late 1990s; and how it remains a vibrant subculture where Chicano rasquachismo meets punk DIY to create one of the few remaining corners of punk’s true underground.