The Linda Lindas talk punk music, purr their dreams
The Linda Lindas are young, brave and ready to put any “racist and sexist boy” in their place.
Dressed in quilt-patched DIY ensembles, they ignited the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival with their contagious and uninhibited zeal. Shouting into the mics and hopping down the aisle, they polished their punk with youthful exuberance, proving themselves the vanguard of riot grrrl for the next generation.
Following their exuberant performance, Lucia de la Garza, Mila de la Garza, Eloise Wong and Bela Salazar headed to the media tent for an interview with The Daily Californian, discussing everything from festival food to lasting appeal. punk.
“What matters in punk is not how perfectly you play your instrument or how perfectly you play your song,” Lucia said. “It’s how much fun you have and the energy you want to bring.”
“As long as you’re doing something that feels important to you, you’re fine,” Wong agreed.
The Linda Lindas may be young, between 12 and 17, but the tight-knit group have already made their mark on the music scene. Since hitting internet virality for their performance of “Racist, Sexist Boy” at the Los Angeles Public Library in 2021, they’ve continued to perform at Mosswood Meltdown and open for Jawbreaker and Japanese Breakfast. Still, they found the festival exciting, offering everything from long churro lines to a highly anticipated Green Day performance.
“It’s so cool to play at festivals. It’s a different experience just because you meet people who maybe didn’t know who you were before,” Lucia said. “This step was huge. Honestly, it’s probably the biggest stage we’ve ever played on.
The Go-Go’s “Tonite” has long been a staple of Linda Lindas live performances, and the band recently released a studio recording of the song in July. On their Outside Lands set, they ratcheted up the excitement by bringing in The Go-Go’s drummer Gina Schock for a surprise performance. Even as the sun shone overhead, the girls sang excitedly to rule the night, paying homage to their musical matriarchs.
“Gina is so cool. And so are all the Go-Gos. They’re amazing,” Lucia said. meet and have her play a song with us.
This isn’t the first time the Linda Lindas have worked closely with their musical influences. After seeing a video of the girls covering “Rebel Girl”, Riot Grrrl mainstay Kathleen Hanna asked them to open for Bikini Kill in 2019.
“It was just the weirdest but also the most amazing thing, because we probably wouldn’t be here or at this level without (Hanna) or all the work she’s done over the last few decades,” said Lucia. “It’s so weird to imagine what our lives would be like without her.”
As much as their music is inspired by the style launched by Hanna and Shock, The Linda Lindas add a young and modern touch. In their first album Growing up, they playfully and honestly explore their individual experiences growing up in and out of the spotlight. On the “Nino” album, Salazar sings his namesake “wildcat,” gritty guitars and graceful harmonies layering over his towering alto.
“I have two cats. And I’ve written songs about them both, because they’re both really interesting characters,” Salazar said. “I wrote ‘Monica’ first, then when I was playing the song on the guitar, my other cat Nino was getting really mad, like he was starting to meow and getting really mad because I didn’t have a song. So I made a song for him. And he was purring, like literally purring when I wrote the song.
From the pencil-drawn, cat-like portraits of girls projected on stage to the whiskers painted on Wong’s cheeks, cats remain ubiquitous in The Linda Lindas’ work. Why?
“We just like cats,” Eloise shrugged. Lucia agreed that “they’re pretty punk”.
Through it all, The Linda Lindas manages to bring riot grrrl to new audiences. The genre doesn’t stop with The Tiger and Sleater-Kinney – it constantly reinvents itself and finds its way into the next generation. So when Amy Poehler released “Moxie,” a movie about a teenage girl who creates a feminist zine to fight sexism at her high school, Poehler naturally lined up The Linda Lindas for a feature film.
“It was the first time we had recorded properly in a studio with the four of us, so it was an honor,” Mila said. “We played ‘Rebel Girl’, and we also played ‘Big Mouth’ by The Muffs, so it was cool to be able to play those songs for this movie.”
Whether they’re shouting at the public library or singing about their cats, the Lindas Lindas know what makes punk punk. If these girls think they’re the queens of the neighborhood, it’s because they are.
Lauren Harvey is the Associate Arts and Entertainment Editor. Contact her at [email protected].