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What does Tijuana’s DFMK stand for?

“I needed to provoke myself to throw up five minutes before our set time.”

What’s more punk than losing a big toenail to a crashed barricade?
What’s more punk than losing a big toenail to a crashed barricade?

The men of Tijuana’s punk quartet DFMK — the letters stand for “doing fucking meth kills” on days when they don’t stand for “don’t fuck my kids” — allow that their hometown can get a bit wild. But they’re mostly okay with that. Even, or perhaps especially, when it comes to the wildest house parties. “My best memories [playing Tijuana] would be a little house up a hill near downtown TJ called El Panal,” recalls lead singer Jorge Z., who calls himself “Mr. Cap.” “It was a house where several punk kids held a lot of house shows; we played there a couple of times with our good friends Calafia Puta and Bird Strike from Los Angeles. I even was walking on the ceiling at one point on one of our songs. A lot of slam dancing and a lot of booze. Good times...”

His least favorite TJ gig “would be playing in a basement in a hostel near the red light district. The show was fun; however there was a barricade between the band and the attendees... People near the barricade started shoving and pulling. The corner of the barricade landed in my foot, and because people were singing along, they kept the pressure of the barricade on my foot for at least thirty long seconds. I had to go to the doctor so they could pull the dead nail off the big toe. Life is a risk.”

The band, which has a self-titled album out now after a number of EPs, accepts that risk gig by gig, although their experiences north of the border sound marginally less manic and/or dangerous. The oddest moment in San Diego, Mr. Cap relates, “was a show in the Bancroft with SNFU... I had at least an hour and a half before playing, but I was very hungry because I only had breakfast early that morning. So I went alone to the Chinese food restaurant across the street. I ordered a small lunch order; however, it was a big platter — for four people, easily. I started eating, but overdid it and almost ate the platter all by myself. I am not able to sing with a full stomach, unfortunately. I needed to provoke myself to throw up five minutes before our set time. However, my singing was good that night.”

Overgenerous portions are not the only tricky aspect of cross-border culture. “I suppose that the biggest misunderstanding,” concludes Cap, “is that [Americans] might think that Tijuana is a type of third-world-country city, that when you cross the border you get robbed or assaulted, which it is not the case. I’ve had several conversations with people that seriously ask me, ‘You have cars in your city?’ Like they really think that we ride horses or donkeys. It is very hard to believe that there is still this type of ignorance in the world.”

The real trouble comes when the band hits the road. Trying to tour, says the singer, they’ve ended up “getting robbed right after our set outside a venue in Mexico City, getting stuck on a bridge [with] a shooting between police and some Narcos in Tampico, and having our van catch fire in the middle of the highway outside Oakland — the entire vehicle burning with all of our equipment, instruments, personal belongings, passports, tour money still inside. Again, life is a risk.”

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What’s more punk than losing a big toenail to a crashed barricade?
What’s more punk than losing a big toenail to a crashed barricade?

The men of Tijuana’s punk quartet DFMK — the letters stand for “doing fucking meth kills” on days when they don’t stand for “don’t fuck my kids” — allow that their hometown can get a bit wild. But they’re mostly okay with that. Even, or perhaps especially, when it comes to the wildest house parties. “My best memories [playing Tijuana] would be a little house up a hill near downtown TJ called El Panal,” recalls lead singer Jorge Z., who calls himself “Mr. Cap.” “It was a house where several punk kids held a lot of house shows; we played there a couple of times with our good friends Calafia Puta and Bird Strike from Los Angeles. I even was walking on the ceiling at one point on one of our songs. A lot of slam dancing and a lot of booze. Good times...”

His least favorite TJ gig “would be playing in a basement in a hostel near the red light district. The show was fun; however there was a barricade between the band and the attendees... People near the barricade started shoving and pulling. The corner of the barricade landed in my foot, and because people were singing along, they kept the pressure of the barricade on my foot for at least thirty long seconds. I had to go to the doctor so they could pull the dead nail off the big toe. Life is a risk.”

The band, which has a self-titled album out now after a number of EPs, accepts that risk gig by gig, although their experiences north of the border sound marginally less manic and/or dangerous. The oddest moment in San Diego, Mr. Cap relates, “was a show in the Bancroft with SNFU... I had at least an hour and a half before playing, but I was very hungry because I only had breakfast early that morning. So I went alone to the Chinese food restaurant across the street. I ordered a small lunch order; however, it was a big platter — for four people, easily. I started eating, but overdid it and almost ate the platter all by myself. I am not able to sing with a full stomach, unfortunately. I needed to provoke myself to throw up five minutes before our set time. However, my singing was good that night.”

Overgenerous portions are not the only tricky aspect of cross-border culture. “I suppose that the biggest misunderstanding,” concludes Cap, “is that [Americans] might think that Tijuana is a type of third-world-country city, that when you cross the border you get robbed or assaulted, which it is not the case. I’ve had several conversations with people that seriously ask me, ‘You have cars in your city?’ Like they really think that we ride horses or donkeys. It is very hard to believe that there is still this type of ignorance in the world.”

The real trouble comes when the band hits the road. Trying to tour, says the singer, they’ve ended up “getting robbed right after our set outside a venue in Mexico City, getting stuck on a bridge [with] a shooting between police and some Narcos in Tampico, and having our van catch fire in the middle of the highway outside Oakland — the entire vehicle burning with all of our equipment, instruments, personal belongings, passports, tour money still inside. Again, life is a risk.”

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