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Fitzcarraldo (1999-2001) was an all-male, French-American political straight edge hardcore punk band from Mexico City, Mexico, featuring three permanent members: Andrew Birk, Nico Colón, and Yann Gerstberger.
The band was known for calling audience members “Wonder Bread” and for espousing radical beliefs influenced by Black Nationalism, Third Worldism, and other anti-colonial ideologies (and for some members, eventually, Islam). Their lyrical content revolved around issues of privilege, Western dominance of the Third World and inequalities in globalization, sexuality in America, corporate dominance of economic and public life, veganism and the straight edge lifestyle. The name Fitzcarraldo had been given to the band by their occasional substitute bass player, Francisco Cordero, and referenced using one’s social and economic privilege to build an opera house. The band agreed there might be an interesting metaphor there. The band’s message also held that “race” was an artificial and constructed human category.
Fitzcarraldo disbanded after collectively reading and discussing Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt’s book, Empire, while on tour of South America. Empire argued that traditional anti-imperialism is no longer relevant and that imperialism is no longer the practice or domain of any one nation or state. Rather, Hardt and Negri claimed, the “Empire” is a conglomeration of all states, nations, corporations, media, popular and intellectual culture and so forth, and thus, traditional anti-imperialist methods and strategies can no longer be applied against them.
Convinced that they themselves had betrayed their own cause and their struggle to bring about revolution through hardcore punk was ultimately one pitted against itself, they reluctantly abandoned the tour halfway through and returned to Mexico City, each deciding independently to become an artist, mainly for the fringe benefits.