Democratic congressman Beto O’Rourke is running to unseat Ted Cruz from the Senate in the 2018 election, and the young lawmaker is getting plenty of buzz (though he’s still behind Cruz in the polls). O’Rourke loves talking about his past as a punk rock musician — and headline writers love to talk about it too. Rolling Stone titled their profile of O’Rourke: “Ted Cruz’s Punk-Rock Problem.”
While his punk rock past makes for an interesting blurb in the profiles of the rising Democratic star, we haven’t seen too many articles discussing whether O’Rourke had the chops on bass. Just to set the record straight, here’s a clip of him playing with his band Foss. The video is from a local public-access show called “Let’s Get Real” in El Paso and dates back to 1994. O’Rourke’s no Flea, but he’s got an angsty stage presence that would probably send Cruz running in the other direction.
While O’Rourke went on to a future in politics, his fellow band member, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, ended up co-founding The Mars Volta and nabbing a Grammy. He’s also hit the stage with At the Drive-In.
In an interview with SPIN, O’Rourke said that his major punk influences were Minor Threat and Rites of Spring. He also said that he still talks with Bixler-Zavala and that he was recently invited to an At the Drive-In show in El Paso, though he was out of town at the time. Now, he’s mellowed out a little bit, he says he’s digging a band called the Leaving Trains, who have a little more shoegaze to them than the teethy punk that O’Rourke played with Foss.