As we usher in this year’s Pride Month, I think about how frightening it has become to exist as a queer person in the United States.
Amid a sudden resurgence of anti-LGBT rhetoric, expressed both through discourse and legislation, I feel far removed from the corporatized and polished version of Pride that has been offered to us in recent years.
Thus, I have decided to spend this month highlighting aspects of queer history the mainstream often finds unpalatable. I aim to cast a spotlight upon subversive queer artists and the often-obscured dynamics of queer music history.
The best place to start is with a band whose audacious queerness empowered its fans to live their lives unapologetically and with radical self-love in the face of an often-stifling heteronormative society.
In staunch opposition to the concept of “queer marketability,” this group expressed the crux of the queer experience as something deeply emotional, often sexual and ultimately transcendental.
Limp Wrist, Raised Fist
Limp Wrist emerged in 1998 from a Philadelphia basement.
Their first performance a year later at Stalag 13, a now-defunct venue in West Philly known for its status as a punk powerhouse, carried them into the subcultural consciousness.
Following the dissolution of Chicago-based band Los Crudos, singer Martin Sorrondeguy and guitarist Mark Telfian decided to form Limp Wrist as a means of addressing dynamics affecting the queer community.
The band’s first release was “Don’t Knock It Till You Try It,” a self-released demo featuring savage drums and guitar and barely-comprehensible lyrics about men-loving-men.
Following this release, the band put out the single “What’s Up With The Kids” before releasing their first LP, “Limp Wrist.”
Limp Wrist’s songs are hard, fast and irreverent.
Beyond that, they’re unabashedly queer.
Their most well-known song, “I Love Hardcore Boys, I Love Boys Hardcore,” validated the presence of queerness within the hardcore punk scene, with the song’s lyrics illustrating shameless themes of sexual attraction.
I love hardcore boys, it’s too good to be trueLimp Wrist, “I Love Hardcore Boys, I Love Boys Hardcore”
One on one or the whole damn crew
It’s all exciting for us so lets give it a whirl
I love hardcore boys cuz they make my toes curl
An all-gay band, Limp Wrist stands as a pioneer of the punk queercore movement.
Also known as “homocore,” queercore emerged as an offshoot of the punk subculture in the 1980s in response to societal hostility towards the LGBT community.
Bands associated with the subculture produced songs exploring sexuality, gender identity and the intersection of queer identities with systemic oppression.
The queercore movement primarily expressed itself through the DIY convictions of the punk movement, with members producing zines, films and other forms of art.
Limp Wrist’s contribution to the queercore subculture lay in its musical content.
With lyrics decrying homophobia and the straight hegemony as well as tounge-in-cheek quips about corporatized homosexuality, Limp Wrist created a space for unrestrained male queerness.
Don’t be the world’s punching bagLimp Wrist, “Thick Skin”
A defenseless queer open for attack
Thick Skin –They can’t get through
Layer upon layer they can’t get through
Submissive tired f—ing sceneLimp Wrist, “Fake Fags”
Boring predictable queens
Absorb and swallow what’s being pushed
Individuality is crushed
During live shows, band members implored queer men to “stop hating their bodies” and “stop imitating Daddy.”
At one performance, frontman Martin Sorrondeguy told the audience “there’s not nearly enough guys in here with their shirts off right now,” a statement reflecting the band’s staunch philosophy of sexual expression and self-love.
Limp Wrist Today
A self-proclaimed project band, Limp Wrist’s inactivity is largely due to the fact that none of its members have ever lived in the same city as one another.
In a way, this makes it all the more special when they finally come together.
The band’s most recent activity includes a 2018 show at The Regent in Los Angeles and a 45-minute radio show with NTS Remote Utopias in May of 2020.
While the band still remains inactive on all platforms, hope prevails that current political tensions may compell them to rekindle Limp Wrist’s unique spark.