by Robyn Takayama
March 28th, 2016
When Michelle Cruz Gonzales read excerpts from The Spitboy Rule: Tales of a Xicana in a Female Punk Band this summer, she took me back to the early ’90s when I was in school at UC Santa Cruz, first heard seminal Bay Area band Jawbreaker, and discovered my church being sandwiched between the stage and the edge of the mosh pit. I learned about veganism and institutional racism, anarchy and “No Means No!”, how to skank and how to bleach my hair before using Manic Panic hair dye.
All I knew about Spitboy was their rad logo on my classmate’s t-shirt so when I found the split record with Los Crudos, I devoured the liner notes studying the lyrics and absorbing each bandmates’ thank yous. Todd Spitboy merged her punk name with her legal name: Todd Michelle Christine Gonzales, and with Los Crudos’ lyrics in Spanish, coupled with the portrait of the Indian on the cover, I had no idea that this was Michelle’s “coming out” as a woman of color.
In this candid memoir, Michelle explores the Spitboy days with a professor’s maturity and critical lens of race and class. Have a listen as I talk with her about confronting hecklers at their live shows, how her Chicana heritage could be lost to a punk name, and the Bay Area punk scene in the mid-90s.