ABOUT THIS PODCAST: This episode of the Native Hope Podcast showcases Frankee Romero of Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico. Frankee is the guitarist of Blinddryve, a well-known “rez metal” band in the Southwest. Within this interview, he sheds light on the origins of the band and his personal journey as a musician. He describes metal music as “storytelling”, as it is a tool for acknowledging “life changes.” At the age of sixteen, he was drawn to the guitar and quickly discovered it was his passion. From that age, he regarded music as his personal calling and has focused on evolving as a “musician, person, and as an artist.” Frankee explains that, “rez metal is its own genre,” which he shares with many other Southwestern indigenous people. In contrast to popular, mainstream metal music, rez metal brings a level of “authenticity,” to the world, which reinforces “close connections,” within tribal communities. Many of rez metal shows are “DIY,” in which community members gather together, crafting their stages from scratch and bringing homemade food to feed the audience. This lifestyle is shared amongst indigenous people of all ages from young to even elderly. Frankee says that his, “relationships are based around rez metal.”
The “extreme metal” genre has a firm base in towns like Gallup and Shiprock, New Mexico, thus he travels with his bandmates across the high desert. Blinddryve his a sober band which can be a notable distinction in comparison to other bands within the genre. He regards it as a mission to educate others on issues of addiction, violence, and abuse within indigenous communities. It is of deep importance to him to bring awareness to “what is real and being honest about yourself.” The transition from their past “party” focus to a full expression focus, has provided Blinddryve with the voice to call out industries like the oil industry. “Metal Monsters,” is a Blinddryve song he is most proud of as it a direct response to the destructive nature of the oil industry on tribal livelihood. He firmly believes that the oil industry and “big banking,” have the same effects as the alcohol industry, as both are corrosive to spiritual and physical health.