"I've done everything in this house. Spent my wedding night here. When I left my wife, I came here. My first show, my first band, when I was 16, we played in the backyard," he says. "A lot of history here. It's important to me."

Danny's mom is a now-relaxed Pentecostal, an Anglo from Texarkana, Arkansas. His dad is a traveling electrician, a Mexican immigrant who calls Danny "mi hijo." Danny grew up intensely involved in church ("that documentary Jesus Camp was my childhood," he says) then found punk rock in high school. That's his life now, pretty much.

"I didn't get into music until I was about 16 or 17 years old, and I found out about The Sex Pistols and The Misfits and Minor Threat and a thing called 'straight edge' and, like, all that beginner punk rock stuff — but I was 17 at that point. I was really late in to the game. I got into that straight edge/hardcore thing for awhile," he says. "Then all the gangs started forming . . . and I didn't want to be part of that, and I started hanging out with my east Mesa friends, the kids I went to school with and grew up with and shit."

Welcome to east Mesa: Danny (left) and Travis in the garage.
Jonathan McNamara
Welcome to east Mesa: Danny (left) and Travis in the garage.
Danny Dirtnap
Jonathan McNamara
Danny Dirtnap

Travis, a chubby blond 23-year-old who's starting the process of covering his body in tattoos and jokes about supporting Danny when he's between jobs, is one of those east Mesa friends.

From there, Danny went on happily edging straight until a brutal car accident at age 19. Sitting on the curb after the crash, touching his exposed skull and watching his blood pour out on the pavement, Danny had an epiphany. "Up until that point, when I was a young person, everyone always told me, 'You've got your whole life ahead of you; you've got a long time to live.' And after that happened, I was like, 'Fuck no I don't. I could die any fucking second. What the fuck am I doing?'"

He decided there, while bleeding, to do something — leaving a record of what he does is nearly as important as what he actually does, Danny says — and that something ended up being the quest to build an "important" Phoenix punk scene, starting in east Mesa and, hopefully, worming its way into tighter sectors of the grid.

Are bruised

Maybe I'm just cynical about music in general, I tell Danny, but the thing is, I've grown out of punk. It made sense to me when I was a teenager, but not so much now that I'm 28. Doesn't he kinda feel the same way? I mean, shit, he has a kid.

"Punk is nothing you grow out of. Punk is not a fashion, punk is not a style, punk is not Mohawks, and it's not leather jackets. It's been around since the dawn of time, since the dawn of music, and what it boils down to is rebellion. It's a youth-driven movement."

Yeah, but I grew out of rebelling.

"How can you grow out of being pissed off at the world?"

I'm not pissed off at the world anymore.

"Then you're not alive, man. If you're not pissed about the way the world is now, there's something fucking wrong with you. Then you've fallen into their fucking line of thinking. A song I would suggest you listen to is 'Tired of Life' by T.S.O.L. It says it more perfectly than anything ever could: 'Because of the process, because of the system, because you're still laughing, because you don't listen.'"

Yeah, I guess, maybe that's why I don't get it.

"Because you're not desperate. You're not living on the fucking edge."

No, I'm not.

"That's what does it, for me anyways. I don't know where I'm going to be, two days to the next. I don't know what job I'm going to have, how I'm going to feed myself or my son. I don't know anything. And it's all so uncertain. This is the only thing keeping me fucking sane. It's the only thing making me feel like, if I die tomorrow, I left something behind, ya know?"

Yeah, the fact that I can't relate to that may be why I don't get that music. But do you ever think that you'll grow out of it, Danny?

"No. No, absolutely not. I'll always be angry that homosexuals can't get married."

Yeah, but they're probably going to be able to get married in few years.

"I'll always be angry that racial profiling is still going on in this country.

We have a black president, something unimaginable as recently as five years ago.

"I'll always be angry animals are still being killed in slaughterhouses."

I think animals are delicious.

"That's an archaic way of thinking."

At that point, Danny closes the garage door so he can pack a bowl, out of sight of his elderly neighbor. The neighbor sits on a bench in front of his house, slowly watering his lawn by hand with a green garden hose as Danny smokes and blares The Stooges.

Got no friends,
Got no family,
Just a bunch of people have been put around me.

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Walter McDurban
Walter McDurban

So... a story about a guy that you used to hate, and now you kind of like but don't agree with, moving to a different town in the same state? Who fucking cares? What's next, a three page story about Marshall Beck trying to decide between to different brands of Vodka inside a Super Wal-Mart?


I've never heard of X? You're dead wrong. I am desperate you know.

Why don't you go listen to Peetie Wheatstraw, then we can talk about who knows what.


i bet he has no clue who X is or has even listened to them?


i'm in a band that some might label a phx hipster group, but my favorite local band is scorpian vs. tarantula. so i guess i don't fit into danny's broad stereotypes. go see S. vs. T!!!


Ah pissed off suburban youth! Rage against the garden hose! Viva la Revolucion!


pro-gay marriage, pro-animal rights, and into the stooges, elvis and hank williams? danny sounds like a good person and an interesting guy. he certainly has a hungry mind,a rare trait in the modern world. unfortunately, anyone who's survived their early 20s knows that the road to your 30s is littered with good ideas and unfulfilled dreams. packing bowls won't necessarily help him or his crew light that phoenix punk rock scene fire, but i'm still hoping it does. i like this guy, esp more than this article's author.

one song this reminded me of is X's "we're desperate." danny's gotta be a fan of that.

keep your lamp light's trimmed and burnin' danny. i'll keep my eye out for you around town


Black Flag has no musical worth? What a joke.

This article has no worth and shouldn't have even been printed.


Is this is joke?Even the clueless Rolling Stone ranked Black Flag's Damaged as the #340 on the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

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