Reno Pyrate Punx
In the punk music scene, a friend of a friend is still a friend.
Adam Young looks down at his phone, reading off details in text messages about a terrible car accident that happened last August. Six people were heading back down Interstate 5 from a camping gathering in Oregon when they were cut off, swerved and flipped four times.
“I’ve never actually met any of the people injured, but we’re all involved with Pyrate Punx together,” said Young.
Most of the people involved in that wreck aren’t from Reno, but the hardcore and punk community here is planning a fundraiser for their medical bills, organized by the Pyrate Punx organization.
Pyrate Punx are loosely organized groups of D.I.Y. punk and hardcore promoters. The organization has been around since 1997. There are chapters all over the U.S., England, Canada, The Netherlands, Germany and Indonesia. Reno is home to the 21st chapter, and Young is one of the members. This local group fluctuates between 10 and 15 people—friends who are tied in with the metal, hardcore and punk music scene.
Each Pyrate Punk member pays $10 in dues that go towards helping touring bands with food, gas and places to stay.
“We don’t make money or have a bank account or anything like that,” said Young.
Nor do they have hierarchy of administration. The members come from all walks of life in Reno. Anyone is welcome to join on one condition: no racism, no sexism and no homophobia, explained Young.
Fil Corbitt, a podcast producer from Reno, gave a definition of the D.I.Y. punk scene in his Van Sounds episode “Snake In The Grass” from November 2017:
“The D.I.Y. Is short for ’do it yourself.’ It’s a tradition, or a sort of ethical code, in a large subset of punk and independent music. Championing anti-consumerism and self-sufficiency, D.I.Y. scenes typically operate underground, sometimes literally, throwing shows in basements, and figuratively, by establishing networks of bands and artists who operate without record deals or corporate support or traditional venues.
This definition works for Reno’s Pyrate Punx, given that they book shows from local bands and the extended network of friends who know bands who are touring. They set up gigs at Shea’s, the Potentialist Workshop, peoples’ houses or anywhere who will have them.
But another hallmark of Pyrate Punx is their propensity to help people who need it. In November, the Reno Pyrate Punx chapter did another benefit show for a new non-profit called Walk About Youth Expeditions whose goal is to get hiking and camping gear for children to get them to be active outside.
Vyvian Becher was one of the people involved in the accident last August. She suffered major neck and back injuries, was life-flighted twice and spent months in a full-body cast. Last year, she helped with Pyrate Punx benefits to raise money for domestic animals who were victims of the Chico-Redding wildfire.
At the Benefit For the Homies, she will be one of the guests of honor, helping to re-coup medical bills for the others in the truck when it flipped.
“There should be five of the six people who were in the crash at this benefit,” said Becher. “I’ve been out of commission for four months, so there are a lot of people I haven’t seen.”