An Interview With The Linda Lindas: LA’s Pre-Teen Queens Of Punk

The Linda Lindas. Photo by Martin Wong.

Elise Thompson contributed to this post.

The Linda Lindas are a band that has come out of the Save Music in Chinatown benefits put on by Martin Wong, co-founder and editor of Giant Robot magazine, music writer, photographer and friend of The Beat. Eloise, who is 11, drew the cool flyers for the events, and is also Martin’s daughter. Lucia, age 12, and Mila, age 8 are Eloise’s cousins, and, Bela, age 14, has been their lifelong friend. Their youth might seem like a cute gimmick, but there is a long tradition of punk bands being started by kids. Steve and Jeff McDonald were barely older than any of the Linda Lindas when they started Redd Kross.

These kids can also play their instruments and have an onstage chemistry and intensity that give them instant punk rock cred. Since they started playing at SMIC, they’ve opened for numerous punk legends, including The Dils, Alley Cats, and Phranc the Folksinger. Watching the video of them playing their cover of “Rebel Girl,” you can immediately see why Kathleen Hanna wanted them to open for Bikini Kill this Friday.

The Linda Lindas first played together one year ago as part of a pickup band of inexperienced kids for Girlschool LA. Later on, Bela asked Lucia, Eloise, and Mila to back her up on a few songs at a Hi-Hat gig, and the garage punk cover band was born. Mila’s papa (and Martin’s brother-in-law), Carlos, produces music and has a backyard studio, which has helped the primarily self-taught musicians, especially with tips from Carlos. They chose the name Linda Lindas when they started playing the Save Music in Chinatown matinees last fall because of a Japanese punk song and cult movie about the song (…and it means “pretty” in Spanish).

Check out our interview with the band after the break!

Linda Lindas rehearsing (Photo by Martin Wong).

Bob: What do you look for in a good song to cover?

Lucia: It’s easy enough for us to actually to able to play.

Bela: it’s fun.

Bob: How do you want people to feel when they hear you play?

Bela. Happy.

Everyone else: Yeah!

Bob: What do you like to do when you aren’t playing music?

MIla and Lucia: Read.

Bela: I don’t know. I haven’t been doing much else.

Eloise: I like to draw.

Bob: Tell us something about the group that might be a surprise.

Bela: Half of us don’t like cheese.

Mila: I don’t like Brussels sprouts.

Bob:Who are some artists making music today that you think we should know about?

Bela: Courtney Barnett.

Eloise: Phranc and Alice Bag.

Mila: Papa, who has worked with Paramore, Best Coast, Cherry Glazerr, Bleached, Bad Religion…

Bob: What’s your advice to another person wanting to start a band?

Eloise: Have fun!

Lucia: Learn new things.

Eloise: Like how to write songs, haha.

Bob: Are you surprised by anything that’s happened since you started the band?

Lucia: We’re already playing the Palladium and we’ve been a band for less than a year.

Bela: I thought we were just going to play small shows.

Eloise: I didn’t think we’d be playing the Palladium so quickly.

Bob: What did you put on your rider now that you have one?

Mila: Skittles. Red Vines

Bela: Takis!

Eloise: Popcorn.

Lucia: Yeah!

Bob: What other shows do you have coming up?

Eloise: Save Music in Chinatown with The Gears on June 2!

Bela: The Moroccan with Bleached on June 11!

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