Wednesday, September 22, 2021     Volume: 22, Issue: 29

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on April 25th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 7 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 13, Issue 7

Rock on a mission

Outernational stops in Santa Maria on its tour of border states to promote its concept album


Since rock‘n’roll first hit listeners’ ears, it’s been the vehicle for youth with a message. Whether a plea for peace or a cry for revolution, such music has long been an effective way to rally support for a cause.

Outernational’s music is no different.

Reaching out
New York City-based rockers Outernational added a stop in Santa Maria to their tour of border states to promote their latest concept album, Todos Somos Ilegales.
  “Our mission is to fill a void to fulfill a need and become a radical revolution band for this generation,” Outernational guitarist Leo Mintek said.

Part of that revolution includes promoting a message of unity, humanity, hope for youth, and bringing awareness of issues that surround illegal immigrants. That message comes through in the driving force that is their 18-track concept album, Todos Somos
(We are All Illegals).

In 2010, Outernational had been touring North America as a headliner and support band when SB 1070 became a controversial topic. The group stepped in be a voice against the Arizona immigration law, which Mintek said the band sees “as the first step toward fascism.” They felt so strongly about their stance they stopped in Arizona to oppose the bill. They produced a reinvented cover of Woody Guthrie’s “Deportees” as a Mexican-influenced folk duet with Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine.

This time around, they made a concept album about the border. The related tour kicked off in Brownsville, Texas, and will follow the border of the Southern United States.

Recently, the tour detoured into Santa Maria to perform for an indigenous students’ organization called Ce’Eni, and Mintek took time to talk to the Sun.

“The purpose of the tour is to promote this album, travel to these places, and meet these people, speak with them, learn from them, let them know that, ‘Yeah, we’re a band in New York, but we see you, we’re watching, we see what’s happening,’” Mintek said.

The album is a harmony of sounds the band calls future rock, blending its own sound—a mix of The Clash, Rage Against the Machine, and even a little Madness—with lyrics reminiscent of the revolutionary politics belted out by bands like U2 or Midnight Oil. Their music and mission has won over collaborators like Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Calle 13, Ceci Bastida, and Uproot Andy.

Regardless of the influences at its heart, Mintek said, the band’s music is true rock‘n’roll. On the latest album, the band gives its sound a bit of a Latin flair.

“On the new record, we went deep into different types of Latin music,” Mintek explained. “So you’ll hear cumbia, corridos, bachata. We really believe music has no borders.”

Rounding out the band is bassist Jesse Williams; Dr. Blum, who juggles duties on trumpet, piano, organ, harmonium, and accordion; and Miles Solay on vocals.

While the album has some infectious, jumpy beats, the lyrics drive home a seriously strong point.

“We want the rest of the world to pay attention to this because it’s disgusting,” Mintek said. “Every week immigrants are dying or getting beaten by some racist. Just to come over here and work some shitty job. Nobody talks about them. … These are people. People are people.” m

Arts Editor Shelly Cone is a punk rock girl with a Latin flair. She can be contacted at

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