Up the Taqx Near You!

The Kominas Summer 2009 Tour Promo.jpg The Taqwacore punks are back. And this time, they’ll be coming to a punk rock venue near you.

South Asian Punks THE KOMINAS (Boston) and SARMUST (DC) are embarking west on a three week tour to bring decimation along the I-80 and I-10. Also joining them will be Propaganda Anonymous, whose undefeated free styles occupy a gray area between rap, and punk rock. They plan to raze venues through New York, Cleveland, Chicago, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Utah, Nevada, California, Texas, Mississippi, up through to Virginia, Philly, and finally to New York and New England. These will be the first performances west of Chicago.[diy]

The national tour starts July 22nd in New York City, and they will weave themselves (in a hybrid vehicle, mind you) through the rest of the country through August 15th. A different show in a different city every night – the Taqx boys are going hard and with a heart on for the environment too. What exactly can you expect at this show? Watch below.

The above is a short film that follows the writer Michael Muhammad Knight (whom Amardeep’s written about) and the Taqwacores bands from their 2007 East Coast Tour to Pakistan and back to the U.S. for some early 2009 shows. It gives you a flavor for what to expect on The Kominas Summer 2009 Tour.

Formerly of Diacritical, Omar Waqar (seen in above video) currently runs Such Records. His new project Sarmust will also be joining the tour.

Sarmust is a twisted splicing of anarchist sufism and indie-punk, masterminded by award winning sitar player Omar Waqar. A longtime stalwart of the DC hardcore scene, his music has become the bridge between discord and simple harmony.[diy]

The Kominas Summer Tour Promo New.jpg The bulk of The Kominas songs for the tour will be pulled from Wild Nights in Guantanamo Bay, which I’ve written about before and can be purchased now. The Kominas have been working hard in preparation for this ultimate road trip – they have some new faces in the group, added a horn to their sound, and were just in the studio recording a new song. Black Out Beach, which can be heard here on myspace, was recorded for a play called “Waterboard: A Play About Torture being shown at the YMCA Theatre in Cambridge on July 23rd.

As a West Coast girl, I’m pretty excited to have The Kominas come through California. I’ve never seen them perform before. They didn’t make it this far west on their first 2007 tour and the West Coast punk scene is far more bubblegum pop than what Boston has bred with the hardcore sounds of The Kominas.

I highly recommend that you check out the band when they roll through your town – you don’t have to be a punk aficionado to appreciate what this tour will be doing for the next four weeks. These guys are about as real as it gets. Follow Imran Malik, The Kominas drummer, on his twitter @rockistani as he goes on tour. And to check out the latest tour dates, check out the facebook event page or their myspace. And of course, to live vicariously, check out the Taqwacore Online Zine. I know I will.

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About Taz

Taz is an activist, organizer and writer based in California. She is the founder of South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY), curates MutinousMindState.tumblr.com and blogs at TazzyStar.blogspot.com. Follow her at twitter.com/tazzystar

42 thoughts on “Up the Taqx Near You!

  1. So if the “punk rock spirit” was so strong with these dudes, why did it take some person to write some book for them to come out now and label themselves as a Taqwacore band? Or is that the book became popular and these bands are trying to latch on to the “popularity”.

  2. Kominas formed in 2005, same time as Vote Hezbollah. Some of us still have the spiral bound photo copies of Mike’s book, tub yeh sab kuch siraf khwaabo mein hota tha.

  3. the ISNA organizer hahaha oh how she made me laugh. siilyness.

    so glad the my days of moshing are over, stick to standard pogoing .

    i think its very commendable what these guys do, going out there and touring is by no means an easy thing. its easy to set up a site and put your music out, but nothing beats touring and seeing a new band live. and going to pakistan, really, how many bands do that?

  4. “so glad the my days of moshing are over, stick to standard pogoing . “

    I second that…. my ears can’t take all the loud music anymore… aaayooo I’m grown old…

  5. pretty lame, terrible music. only thing i was amused was them psyching the isna crowd. not my cuppa tea..

    The thing about punk is, it’s not trying to sound pretty. Most punk bands break up before they ever really learn to play their instruments (or, for that matter, to play together as a band). The point is shock-value. For me the line that really defines the Kominas is the opening of “Sharia Law in the USA”

    “I am an Islamist, I am the Anti-Christ…”

    It’s an allusion to the famous opening of the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the UK” (“I am an Anti-Christ, I am an anarchist”). It’s a rhetorical taunt — a bit of theater — where the singer is saying, “Hey you, I embody everything you fear and despise. Are you scared?” In Britain in the 1970s, the buzzword that sent shockwaves was “anarchist.” In the U.S. in our decade, it’s “Islamist.” They aren’t real Islamists anymore than Johnny Rotten was a real (as in ideological) Anarchist, but they’re enjoying messing with people (Muslims and non-Muslims alike) for whom the idea of hearing (or singing along to) “Sharia Law in the USA” is kind of unthinkable.

    All that said, these guys are starting to sound tighter — they’ve been reworking their first set of songs, and writing some new ones. I saw them live a couple of weeks ago at an upscale Muslim-oriented fundraiser, and it was pretty listenable. There were even three year olds dancing to some of the songs (though their horrified parents kept hustling the kids away from the loud noise).

    Another thing to consider: Everyone thought MIA was weird too, and then all of a sudden she was a superstar.

  6. “Sharia law is the USA” – that song represents the rank hypocrisy of muslim youth in the West. Shock value or not, if you did have Sharia law in the US you wouldn’t have these literal punks playing any music. Very much unlike the Sex Pistols who would have been playing music in the UK in times of anarchy.

  7. It seems like the idea of “punk” has become an ideology of what it stood against. If you believe the power of punk was to shock people out of complacency and consumerism, than the Kominas are firmly part of that tradition. It’s not about received, aesthetic norms, but about recognizing oppression affects multiple communities in a multitude of ways. Although it is closely tied to anarchism, it really is much more Marxist. If you believe that punk is only for poor, white, English kids of the 1970s, then the Kominas don’t fit the bill. I think Johnny Rotten is still pimping “The Swindle Continues.”

  8. rank hypocrisy of muslim youth

    Try. “ironic.”

    I’m pretty sure these guys would not actually want sharia law in the usa. In case that wasn’t clear.

    What I love about the taqx is that there is no “hypocrisy” (because that .. that imbues that their is a ‘correct’ or ‘orthodox’ way to being Muslim) but the freedom to redefine and explore your own brand of Islam. All the rest, is Allahu Alim. Punk.

  9. “Hey you, I embody everything you fear and despise. Are you scared?” In Britain in the 1970s, the buzzword that sent shockwaves was “anarchist.” In the U.S. in our decade, it’s “Islamist.”

    its worth noting between “anarchist” and “islamist” there was “nazi.” nazi skinhead punks.

  10. yeah, they’re ironic like the pistols (and unlike the earnest neo-nazis or the fellow-travelling clash) but the line gets blurred, if for no other reason than their mocking the fear society has of such ideologies. hipsters approprating that which opresses and scares others does get a tad tiresome, like that bozo who tried selling “who killed obama” t-shirts in the lower east side of nyc.

  11. “Sharia law is the USA”

    It’s not “Sharia law IS the USA,” it’s “Sharia Law IN the USA.” It’s a little more complicated than simply saying the U.S. government is as oppressive as Sharia. First, they’re mocking the vilification of Islamists:

    “I am an Islamist, I am the anti-christ, most squares can’t make a most-wanted list, but my-my how I stay in style.”

    That said, they are also protesting the authoritarian turn of U.S. policy during the Bush administration, which I think is completely legitimate. You can be pissed about Guantanamo Bay, warrantless wiretapping, torture, an unwarranted war. If you’re a Muslim youth in the U.S. growing up during these years, you might be more pissed about it than some other folks have been.

    It’s not that different from when the Dead Kennedys wrote a song called “California Uber Alles” or Reagan Youth’s song “Reagan Youth” .

  12. yeah, the “sharia law in the usa” song made me feel pretty uncomfortable and to be honest, disgusted. if that’s how punk rock is supposed to make you feel, fine. i wasn’t too impressed. what i felt was really cool was the last song. i just felt the lyrics were well written and they thought before the spoke..er…yelled. granted, that song was in pakistan and not the u.s. so the rebellious subject matter was more to my taste….but you have to admit, the music for this song was probably the best of the lot.

    “this is the story of our country where women are invisible who are we supposed to bhangra with? rolling past a mehran on fire a new widow wails on the wire you’ll probably be dead before you retire who let these monkeys out of the cage send this brother back where he came if this keeps up we don’t need no Bush bombing us back to the stone age”

  13. Everything came late to the suburbs of USA. By the time I got into “punk” it was already almost a decade after the Sex Pistols had rocked London and two decades after The Velvet Underground rocked NYC and The Stooges rocked Detroit (precursors to, and origins of “punk”). Yeah I said it, punk started in the USA, way back in the 60s.

    By the time I got into punk, even hardcore had been around for a while and metal-core (speed-metal?) had made its appearance, what to speak of “new wave” which had become mainstream thanks to MTV. Anybody remember when MTV (Martha Quinn!) actually played music videos and their shows were reserved for nighttime. Who remembers The Young Ones? Those were the golden years.

    I got to see for 3-5 bucks in small venues bands that later became famous – Black Flag, The Dead Kennedys, Wasted Youth, and many more.

    I actually don’t know how I tolerated it. I can’t stand the stuff now.

  14. Wow. this is some amazingly lame shit.

    And: “For me the line that really defines the Kominas is the opening of “Sharia Law in the USA”; “I am an Islamist, I am the Anti-Christ…”; It’s an allusion to the famous opening of the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the UK” (“I am an Anti-Christ, I am an anarchist”).”

    Really? I had no idea.

  15. I enjoy coming to this board, but as a Muslim, it is very demoralizing and off putting to know that the rare Muslim-related story will always garner incredibly negative comments. The commenters are not reacting against punk so much as anything to do with Muslims. And god forbid there is a story about Pakistanis.

    Month after month, it is the same thing. Is this what Hindu families teach at home to their kids. Is this the level of venom directed at Muslims — even among seemingly educated, liberal Hindu Indians? I know that my family experienced what it was like to be Muslim in India, but with the changing face of India, one thinks that those old hatreds would die…but I guess not. They can transferred to a different language, a different medium of communication, and the cycle continues.

    If this punk rock band were of any other religion, these comments would not be so mean spirited. If this punk rock was about gay rights, the comments would not have been so mean spirited.

    If you think your attitudes do not hurt in real life, think again. Not only does my daughter as “openly Muslim” bear the brunt of horrible comments from regular Americans, an Indian Hindu classmate of hers recently told her that his parents said that he must never marry a Muslim and put Muslims below Black people. The double-whammy of racism aside, the comment made my daughter was quiet for days, wondering what is wrong with her.

    Taz, I don’t know how you do it. You present the rare Muslim story, and the only one to present the story with gentleness, joy, and kindness one would expect from any story. But girl, you are outmatched here. With your lovely writing skills, have you considered posting at a more “friendly” site? You have a stronger stomach than I.

  16. If you think your attitudes do not hurt in real life, think again. Not only does my daughter as “openly Muslim” bear the brunt of horrible comments from regular Americans, an Indian Hindu classmate of hers recently told her that his parents said that he must never marry a Muslim and put Muslims below Black people.

    Oh my Gods! Not below Black people!!

  17. You can mock all you want, Yoga Fire, but the fact that this kid said this verbatim to my Muslim daughter shows what is behind the filth that gets hurled here against Muslims, Pakistanis, Arabs, and just about anything Muslim-related. Instead of mocking, look at yourself. The kid’s father is a doctor, by the way. This is what openminded Hindus are teaching in their homes.

  18. Oh I just think it’s funny that you’ve interpreted a bunch of posts, many by Muslims themselves, accusing this band of being a bunch of derivative, bandwagon-jumping schlock and somehow interpreted this as anti-Islam!

    How exactly do your daughter’s difficulties with finding a nice Hindu boy to settle down with relate to the dubious moral character of a band that sings about enforcing sharia law in the USA? At best (and most likely) they are doing it for shock-value as Amardeep said, in which case we can rank them on par with assorted troglodytes like Howard Stern or Micheal Savage. At worst they’re actually advocating for sharia law in the USA in which case we can rank them a fair bit lower along with fiends like Zaid Hamid.

    You can’t blame people who aren’t familiar with punk rock sensibilities for taking their lyrics literally and assuming the latter. Most people tend to assume that self-proclaimed musicians are in it for the music rather than the opportunity to shock and offend people.

  19. the dubious moral character of a band that sings about enforcing sharia law in the USA?
    At best (and most likely) they are doing it for shock-value as Amardeep said, in which case we can rank them on par with assorted troglodytes like Howard Stern or Micheal Savage. At worst they’re actually advocating for sharia law in the USA in which case we can rank them a fair bit lower along with fiends like Zaid Hamid.

    yoga fire, your air of calm reasonableness would be more believable if you applied it more uniformly to other ridiculous points of view. reacting with a combination of defensiveness, justification, and silence in the face of some extremism and withmockery and opposition to some relatively less objectionable stuff like this doesn’t help your credibility. although i am sure you don’t see it that way.

    also amardeep didn’t suggest that they were shock jocks.

  20. My daughter is 8 years old, by the way, but I am sure her age will not keep you from salivating over the chance to demoralize her. Her classmate is being indoctrinated early — which I am sure that you approve. Considering the fact that you, Yoga-Fire, are one of the more viciously anti-Islam commenters here, I won’t even try to persuade you — your hatred and bigotry run deep.

    many by Muslims themselves

    Haa-ha. Yes, out of the woodwork come “abdul” and others to bash a punk rock band and throwing in some anti-Muslim comments.

    I will be posting under Radha or Krishna if I want to make some anti-Indian Hindu comments.

    For now, I am off to make ice cream with my Muslim children and Muslim husband and then to enjoy a nice summer evening at the pool (in my covered, oppressed, backward attire), and I will leave the usual commenters to their feeding frenzy.

  21. Just watched the video. They are very weak musically and vocally.

    Anyway, why scream “pigs are haram” when it was an organizer of ISNA who called them in to get them off of the stage because, according to her, they violated their agreement to not have a woman singing on the stage and to not dance???

    Maybe they should have chanted “ISNA is haram”, or “ISNA organizers are haram” or “ISNA women are haram” or “women singing in ISLAM is haram”.

    The pigs (cops) were just doing what they were asked and hired by the ISNA organizer to do.

    If they wanted to influence the general Muslim population or Desi and possibly Arab diaspora, I would’ve recommended another music genre and more poetic lyrics to get their message across.

    Desi culture/Islam mixed with punk rock is what rasa aestheticians like Bharat Muni would call “ras-abhash”.

  22. Actually, it occurs to me that we have yet another case of certain posters deciding to derail a thread by making the conversation about the people who disagree with their perspectives rather than . . . you know, the actual perspectives we’re trying to discuss.

    So sorry for feeding the trolls. I’ll stay on topic.

  23. feigning reasonableness

    What is reasonableness, and who is the arbiter of this quality?

  24. “It’s not that different from when the Dead Kennedys wrote a song called “California Uber Alles” or Reagan Youth’s song “Reagan Youth” . “

    Let’s not forget “Holiday in Cambodia” …

  25. As for myself the point has always been to refine my own ideas by subjecting them to scrutiny

    Yoga Fire,

    What is the point of all this (public) chest-beating, sharpening of the mind, when you cannot recognize which situation, which comment deserves your superior contempt and refined ridicule and which human story is best LISTENED to with some empathy and compassion (and dare I say, some humility)?

    You are a dad of a little girl, aren’t you?

  26. Six of One & Yoga Fire,

    I’ll ban you both if you don’t quit it. I haven’t even bothered to read the banter, it’s so convoluted. Be punk rock and take it offline and outside.

    Back to the regularly scheduled comments about The Kominas Summer 2009 Tour.

  27. “The unbearable burden of meanness”, i truly empathize with your daughter’s experience – that’s plenty of hate. but let’s not compare that to people not liking some punk band, which by the way is not mainstream at all. people not liking this band has little to do with islam, atleast that has been the case for me.

    Amardeep, it ultimately comes to down to likability. bands have to be listenable(of course that is subjective), likable members, and should have some genuine sense of music. these guys don’t fit the bill in my opinion -

  28. This band sucks. Their “message” sucks. They’re a bunch of poseurs who live with their parents who aspire to become management consultants. If they think that they are so punk-rock, why don’t they have a song criticizing Islam, for a change?

    The Clash and Sex Pistols both criticized capitalism, the UK, the monarchy, racism, ex-girlfriends, Christianity, etc. These two bands were quite representative of the UK, btw.

  29. “The unbearable burden of meanness”, i truly empathize with your daughter’s experience – that’s plenty of hate. but let’s not compare that to people not liking some punk band, which by the way is not mainstream at all. people not liking this band has little to do with islam, atleast that has been the case for me.

    Word. Plus, isn’t at least one member of Kominas an avowed ATHEIST? And the others don’t even practice Islam? One mentioned interest in “sufism” and other “spiritual” stuff.

    I doubt most mainstream Sunnis or Shias would approve.

    I mean, you saw what the organizer of ISNA was saying. She was upset coz a FEMALE was onstage performing. Tsk Tsk.

    Taqwacore does not rep Islam and we all know it.

    Salam.

  30. why don’t they have a song criticizing Islam, for a change?

    If you watch the video and listen, they ARE criticising Islam, and they got criticised and blacklisted in some Pakistani town for it.

    Watch the vid.

  31. Don’t have time to bother with all the tangential comments above.

    But as a Hindu who is into the hardcore straight-edge punk scene, I like what these guys are doing. Keep it up! For the naysayers, its really difficult to judge a band (especially a punk band) by seeing a few Youtube clips. You have to experience it live. I’ve heard of the Kominas before, but haven’t had a chance to check them out. I look forward to seeing them when they pass through the Midwest.

  32. That said, they are also protesting the authoritarian turn of U.S. policy during the Bush administration, which I think is completely legitimate. You can be pissed about Guantanamo Bay, warrantless wiretapping, torture, an unwarranted war. If you’re a Muslim youth in the U.S. growing up during these years, you might be more pissed about it than some other folks have been. It’s not that different from when the Dead Kennedys wrote a song called “California Uber Alles” or Reagan Youth’s song “Reagan Youth” .

    The dkennedys aren’t being ironic, rather godwinish hyperbolic. They’re intentionally conflating reagan with hitler. these guys are instead putting themselves in the shoes of the islamist, not their target (bush). its more like a punk protesting the bombing of dresden by taking on the persona of an auschwitz guard. creepy, no?

    the kominas strike me as the bonzo in “bonzo goes to bitburg”

  33. Another thing to consider: Everyone thought MIA was weird too, and then all of a sudden she was a superstar

    Amardeep, the difference was that MIA had / has talent, originality and swagger.

  34. From The Unbearable burden of meanness: If this punk rock band were of any other religion, these comments would not be so mean spirited.

    TUBOM, I do hear what you are saying. I read that comment of yours exactly as I was wondering what the fashionable liberal reaction to a punk band singing “Hindutva in the USA” would be. I would like to think it would be …ummm…. less charitably received.

    I certainly wish the band well. I found their Pakistan tour interesting but somewhat self-defeating. The fact is that South Asian society – whether India, Pakistan or Bangladesh – has had its own homegrown subversive culture since forever. For instance, we don’t have a gay underground, we have the Hijra tradition instead. We don’t have pothead hippies, we have babas and holy men. And so on.

    In such a milieu perhaps they could have found a culturally appropriate way to communicate their message instead of donning T-shirts and playing guitars. Doing that is only going to get them upperclass Westernised followers, not hardy sons of the working class soil.