Morning Music: I Felt Like a Gringo

I Felt Like a GringoThe Fourth of July always makes me think of the Minutemen’s song “I Felt Like a Gringo.” It tells the (true) story of the band taking a day trip down to Mexico on 4 July 1982. It ends with the line, “Why’d I spend the fourth in someone else’s country?”

I guess that’s why I don’t much go in for this holiday. I feel like an outsider. I think that’s a lot of my desire to live in Mexico: if I must feel like an outsider, I might as well be one.

Anyway, “I Felt Like a Gringo” was first released on the EP, Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat. It was the first Minutemen album I bought. Less than three years later, D Boon would be dead in a tragic car accident, and one of the best bands ever was finished.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Got a ton of white boy guilt, that’s my problem,
Obstacle of joy, one reason to use some drugs.
Slept on a Mexican beach — slept in trash
American trash — thinking too much can ruin a good time.

I asked a Mexican who ran a bar for Americans
“Who won,” I said, “The election?”
He laughed, I felt like a gringo.
They played a song and they had some fun with us.

Why can’t you buy a good time?
Why are there soldiers in the street?

Why’d I spend the fourth in someone else’s country?

2 thoughts on “Morning Music: I Felt Like a Gringo

  1. I liked that — it felt a little to me like Zappa meets early Heads for some reason — but I’m glad you transcribed the lyrics. They’re not enunciated very clearly.

    There’s a “world music” band (whatever that means, they sound American as hell to me) called Vampire Weekend with this number I like, also about a Yanqui out of place south of the border:

    • I’m pretty sure I’ve heard that band. My direct boss introduces me to a lot of stuff. It’s interesting.

      You should listen to the whole EP. D Boon doesn’t enunciate well ever. But it is part of the style. And he was such an awesome guitarist:

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