Warthog—the raging, Poison Idea-worship hardcore punk band from New York who just celebrated their ten year anniversary—is an unfuckwithable live act. As they’ve gigged around North America and Europe for the last decade, their shows have come to be known as a place where every attendee is a participant; where stage divers fling their bodies into the crowd, fists pump in the air, and general chaos is unleashed by their dedicated and adoring fans.
A raucous mosh pit matching the sonic fury of a ripping band is, of course, nothing new in the world of punk. But of all the bands out there doing it right now, nobody sets it off as aggressively and consistently as Warthog does–and have, since day one, when the band was billed under their goofy original name, Chain Wallet. When Warthog played their ten year anniversary show at Bowery Ballroom in NYC this past May, it was undeniable to everyone in the 575-person capacity room: the band had built something important.
Rather than try to rehash every moment of chaos Warthog has produced in their ten years of shows, we figured they’d spin the tale better than anyone. Below is a short oral history of Warthog’s most mental shows, from New York City to Mexico City and everywhere in between.
Stopped by Federales on the way to Monterrey, Mexico 1/7/2016
Mateo Cartagena, Bass: I feel like one of the craziest ones was Monterrey. We got stopped by Federales.
Ryan Naidea, Drums: We got stopped by the Federales, and they were giving us a really hard time. And we were with like ten Mexicans, and they were just like, “This is fucking bad. This is really bad.” Like, they wouldn’t take any bribes or whatever, which is usually what goes on when you get stopped.
Chris Hansell, Vocals: No, they didn’t attempt to bribe them, because [our driver] Roger was like, "We bribe the cops all the time, but it’s known that you’re not supposed to bribe the Federales.”
MC: They were trying to talk them down. And they said that we were too many in the van, which was bullshit. But then they were like, “Okay, this is what we’re going to do, you’re going to take the van to Saltillo, which is the town we were next to, and you guys are going to have to get a bus to Austin. These other guys, we don’t know what they’re going to do, but the van is going to cost $3,000 American to get out of impound.” And the whole time, all our Mexican homies were like, “This is bad, like, we’re going to die out here.” Like, Federales are notorious, and this area of Mexico’s notorious for fucked up cartel shit. So we were there for an hour and a half, or longer maybe. It was really scary actually. Finally Roger comes back, and he’s like, “Okay, let’s fucking go.” And he starts driving, and we’re just like, “Dude, what the fuck happened?” And he’s like, “I’ll tell you once we get on the fucking highway.”
CH: He started crying.
MC: And then finally, he was like, “I don’t know if I should win an Oscar, or if that cop should win an Oscar, but one of us should win an Oscar for best fucking performance.” And I guess they just ended up bribing him. It was like $80. And we got to Monterrey, and we were like four hours late for our show. All the opening bands had played, and the show had been over for like two hours.
Mike Goo, Guitar: People were just hanging out and drinking.
MC: But people had hung out and waited for us. And as soon as we started playing, fucking fireworks were going off, and everyone was just going crazy. And that feeling was amazing. That release was incredible, because we were so fucking scared.