At the Drive-in is surely one of the most influential bands of the last 20 years. They were tremendously indicative to most fans as the sound of a revived yet revamped punk scene, sort of a fusion of energies between Bad Brains and Guns N’ Roses. They were cutting-edge not just to a scene but to me personally. And at the time I heard them first, I thought a scene was just part of a movie. I was 16 when ‘One-Armed Scissor” hit MTV and I had never, ever seen or heard anything like it. Singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala moved like, well, I was going to say James Brown on crack but, uh, James Brown! And what was that in the background, draped over guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’ amp? A Puerto Rican flag?!! I was Puerto Rican! This was my band!
Now, 12 years later, it’s come full circle. At the Drive-in had a drummer die of a heroin overdose, broke up, formed two awesome bands from it’s remains in The Mars Volta and Sparta, and now have reformed for one last hurrah. As I glance to my right, mounted on the wall next to my computer desk is the Puerto Rican flag which serves as a background for my PA, mic stand and guitar. And on my inner left bicep and tricep are the boombox from the VAYA album cover and a Puerto Rican flag, tattooed there forever. Yeah, I’d say these guys influenced me.