The Gitmos: Uncle Samir and Co. Defend the First Amendment

Punk is all about riling up the masses. Yeah, it’s a declamation of the rock and roll excess of generations past, a devotion to keeping it simple and doing it yourself, and there’s certainly something to be said for the Thoreau style D.I.Y. spirit that prevails in lots of punk bands. But in this day and age, people sometimes forget that punk is as much about social awareness as it is about power chords and mohawks. This is a message that Indianapolis band The Gitmos have been preaching for four years. Something’s wrong with the United States, and The Gitmos are the tongue in cheek mouthpiece of the revolution in Indianapolis.

Promotional video for a pre Fourth of July party at The Melody Inn in Indianapolis featuring The Gitmos, an Indianapolis punk band


The Gitmos as a band began in 2008, but the ideas behind The Gitmos first took breath back in 2006, when a group of Indianapolis people decided to hold screenings of controversial, highly political documentaries like Endgame, Zeitgeist, and Loose Change at The Melody Inn, an Indianapolis bar and music venue that is now, unsurprisingly, the site of a weekly Punk Rock Night. The film screenings were intended to raise awareness of tough to tackle political issues taking place in the Circle City and beyond. Sparking discussions and probably a few fights, the film screenings quickly grew in popularity, and the folks behind them decided to take the show on the road.

Video of The Gitmos performing live at The Melody Inn in Indianapolis


What better way to protest the system than to start a kick ass punk rock band? The Clash did it, The Dead Kennedys did it, Bad Religion is still doing it, so why not a group of Indy teenagers with something to say? Thus, in 2008, The Gitmos were officially born, bringing their raucous, balls to the wall sonic assault to Indianapolis music venues throughout the six Indianapolis cultural districts. They can hardly be called melodic, but the music of The Gitmos spans the punk spectrum, from blast beat thrash punk to noisy, riff based freak outs straight out of 13 Songs. At times firing off brimstone filled verses, other times crooning noiselessly into the microphone, frontman Uncle Samir cavorts around the stage in his shiny star spangled outfit, decrying the government, decrying racism, decrying everything that needs decrying while the sweaty band chugs along behind and around him, keeping things moving, and, above all, keeping things loud.

Music video for “Obamanation” by The Gitmos, an Indianapolis punk band


Of course, with a name like The Gitmos, the band’s songs are politically based, though they seem to cover issues from a variety of perspectives. For example, The Gitmos will perform the cleverly titled “Obamanation,” a song that’s pretty heavy handed in its denouncement of the president, right alongside “I Wanna Grow Weed,” a song that protests the aforementioned green substance’s illegality. And yes, true to their roots, The Gitmos will often screen political documentaries during the Indianapolis events they perform at. Regardless of your political leanings, a show with The Gitmos promises to be a highlight of your Indianapolis nightlife experience. The band’s five members — Uncle Samir, Sadam Paul Jones, Fidel Revere, Willie Pete Tell’em, and Cap’n Propaganda (or Osama Appleseed) — come on stage drunk, angry, and costumed with sparkly Uncle Sam jumpsuits, faux Middle Eastern scarves, and tinfoil hats. Now THAT’S entertainment.

Music video for “Your Government is Lying to You” by The Gitmos, an Indianapolis punk band


With The Gitmos, it’s more about image and atmosphere than it actually is about the music. In all photos of The Gitmos, band member’s eyes are censored to protect their identities, and the group has filmed several different music videos around their songs, laced with imagery some would consider offensive (just watch the video for “Obamanation”), but they’re all done with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Much like fellow Indianapolis punk band Sloppy Seconds, it’s all about that rebellious aesthetic, the low down, D.I.Y., stick it to the man spirit that’s fueled punk rock for decades. Of course, The Gitmos are behind their message as much as their aesthetic, but the way the message is spread is pretty over the top.

Music video for “Buy a Gun” by The Gitmos, an Indianapolis punk band


The Gitmos have performed at Indianapolis bars and Indianapolis restaurants around the Circle City, but predominantly at their home base, The Melody Inn, where they’re regulars at the bar’s Punk Rock Night. Just recently they performed there for a Fourth of July show with The Dockers and The Downtown Struts, who came off great performances at The Vollrath Tavern and The Vogue. The Gitmos might not be entirely serious about getting a record deal, or being the best band they can be, or their on stage personas and over the top song titles and lyrics, but you can bet they’re serious about free speech and having a good time while exercising their rights.

For more information on The Gitmos, including videos, song samples, news, editorials on the news, propaganda, tools of the revolution, tin caps, and more, visit The Gitmos’ homepage.

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