Top 10 Bands for Oogles, Gutterpunks and "Travel Kids"

oog1.jpg
Photo by Matt Derrick
My mother-in-law was a Depression-era kid, and she shared stories of the rail-riders who would pass through her small Louisiana hometown looking for work. They carried all they owned from place to place, stopping here and there to do odd jobs for dinner and a place to sleep. Those travelers became known as hobos, whose lifestyle was romanticized in songs of the period like "Big Rock Candy Mountain" and "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?"

History repeats itself, Meemaw often said, and she may have had a point. Our recent economic woes and general unrest have people once again exploring the country by railways and highways. The 2013 model of the American hobo goes by different names -- traveling kid, gutterpunk, oogle -- and isn't necessarily looking for work. Some are looking to escape the conformity or comfort of the suburbs; others are on one long city-to-city party.

Like their tramp forefathers, these new vagabonds turn to music to celebrate their way of life. Rocks Off asked a couple of experts to help put together a list of musical acts these modern-day hobos enjoy.

Matt Derrick of Squat the Planet and "D.J.," from Look at This Fucking Oogle, chronicle the travel lifestyle on their respective Web sites. They shared their thoughts on the bands that keep these travelers moving down an endless road. Together, we came up with these ten groups no homebum should leave home without:


10. Mischief Brew
Derrick is a traveling filmmaker, professional adventurer and founder of Squat the Planet, an online community that has explored nomadic lifestyles since 2001. His site promotes seeing "what the world has to offer when you torch the picket fence and set out for a life of adventure." His first selection is Pennsylvania's Mischief Brew.

oogle250.jpg
Oogle.
Photo courtesy of LATFO.com
"[Mischief Brew founder] Erik Petersen has been around since the beginning of the folk punk genre and has probably inspired a billion different folk punk bands," Derrick says. "He writes really inspiring music with lyrics about revolt, nomadism and the like."

Derrick said it's easy to see why hybrids of folk and punk music are popular with these travelers.

"I've definitely noticed that the 'old-timey'/'folk-punk' genre has gotten really popular over the past few years, and it makes a lot of sense, since much like train hopping, it doesn't take much to get started," he says. "A guitar, backpack and something to sing about are pretty much all you need, which fit in well with the punk-rock background that the majority of us come from."


9. Leftöver Crack
Like any society, the travel society has microcosms. Some of these present-day vagrants are marginalized by other travelers because they've stopped living on their parents' dime to hitchhike, Dumpster-dive and "spange" (ask for spare change) to survive.

These kids are often referred to as "oogles," and make up the focus of Look at This Fucking Oogle; the Web site is subtitled "Pornography for Homeless People."

"An oogle is basically a poseur in the train-riding world, usually a new kid fresh from home with way too much stuff in their pack and a Leftöver Crack shirt with patched-up pants," says site founder D.J. "Leftöver Crack is a big oogle band, probably because they sing about shooting up and killing cops."


8. Gripe
In a bit of self-promotion, D.J. included Gripe among the bands gutterpunks follow. He's the band's vocalist, so those who visit his site have a built-in soundtrack for hours of scrolling through gnarly oogle pics. The band is a mashup of hardcore-grindcore that "tends to focus on negativity and paranoia," he adds.

"Oogle traveling usually consists of riding trains to different shows around the country and getting drunk," D.J. adds. "Without shows and booze, oogles would have nothing left to do."


List continues on the next page.


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17 comments
getrealpaid
getrealpaid

Everyone is a hipster.  take note of that.  if you don't believe me.  Just ask.  the term oogle wasn't world wide phenomenon, until DJ started that fucking site.  I have been on that site multiple times, and every picture of my self on there, has been submitted by ME.  The term oogle is a fucking joke, and has always ment to be a joke in this context.  get over it, get over yourselves.  you are putting down a sub culture of america that you know little to nothing about, nor care to.  that makes you ignorant.  I however, and within this "community" and I as well, hate most of the traveling community, not because of what they do.   but because of how they act,  just how I hate most of the people, out side of it, because of how they act.    I don't drink half gallons every day all day, I don't own a dog, I ride trains, hitch hike, play music, and most importantly work.   not having a job, doesn't make you not applicable to work, most of these people just choose not to.   also, whatdda wanna hear man.  that I'm from a middle class family?  because I fucking am.  I chose to do what I do, I am glad I did.  I play music for a living, what do you do? wash dishes? sit in a cubicle?  yeah, making minimum wage so you can pay 25 bucks for an over priced "flag" show at the end of the week, talk shit about a group of people, that easily out number you,  sounds like a great fucking life style. 

Decontrol
Decontrol

If oogles want to live outside of society. That's totally fine.  Why then are they  going into cities and not squatting the woods and farming. That's the only way you would be living totally free and without money. Instead, these oogles are  expecting people who work to give them money. You can't say that you are living free of money when that's simply not true.  You are living free of the responsibility of having to work while expecting people who do to support you by giving money. 

The idea of romanticizing being poor is a total slap in the face to anyone who struggles to make ends meet. The reason that so many people from privileged backgrounds do this is because when they are done playing poor they can easily go back to their parents who will take care of them. 

The amount of animal abuse that exists in this "culture" is completely disgusting. If you can not properly take care of a dogs basic needs you should not have one! There is no difference  between the woman who keeps a dog in her purse while she's shopping and the oogle that has their dog tied with a rope. In both cases, the dog is an accessory. Actually, there is a difference, the women who has her dog in her purse has money to get her dog food, to go to the vet, to buy flea/tick/heartworm prevention , and money to create a stable environment ie able to give the dog a home. It makes me sick seeing these oogles  with their emaciated dogs. It seems you always have enough money to be obnoxiously drunk. Why then not spend the money feeding the dog that you love so much. I can't even count the number of timed I've seen an oogle physically abusing their dog as well. Also, I know this one is really hard for oogles to wrap their heads around , dogs don't like being a shows!! Loud music is not good for dogs!! If you want to live this lifestyle that's fine. Just don't drag an innocent animal down with you. 

Alli Outlaw
Alli Outlaw

Sam, I told you oogles were a real thing lol

H_e_x
H_e_x

Moving around looking to work: noble.

 Moving around because you are some lilly white kid who got sick of the 'burbs: die laughing.

eudemonist
eudemonist

Hmm, pretty decent list.  Kinda pleasantly surprised to see train kids getting love in the Press, to be honest.

A couple other bands of note popular with the train kid set are The Goddamn Gallows and Jayke Orvis And The Broken Band--both of which rip face.

eudemonist
eudemonist

@H_e_x Backpacking across Europe is still cool, though, right?

H_e_x
H_e_x

@eudemonist @H_e_x If you pay for it yourself from the job you earned without the help of your parents.

eudemonist
eudemonist

Haha, you can try to "correct" anyone you want, but when your argument relies on, "But only people of color X do that", you may not get very far.  It might also help if you learned to spell "lily" properly.

Basically your shit boils down to "Stahp liking what I dont liek";  worse yet, your stated reasons for said dislike are based on sweeping, presumptive generalizations regarding color and financial status.  Take your pants off your head.

H_e_x
H_e_x

@TRAVELIN @H_e_x @eudemonist I think you are confusing homeless people with these kinds of crust kids. This is more than just jobs and money, though you can make whatever kind of straw man arguments you want, we have the right to be bald face liars. This is about lilly white kids living some fantasy of being different or unique. The intersection of race and class play a big part in this because generally the only kinds of people who have the ability to do these kinds of things tend to all look and act the same.

H_e_x
H_e_x

@eudemonist @H_e_x You know some white people don't know much about racism when they think they are victims of it. I get it, you can't try to correct white people because they are the guardians of all definitions. There is a distinct difference between being homeless and these kinds of people. Homeless people don't really have much of a choice in their present situation, whereas these kids have something but decided they didn't want it. 

TRAVELIN
TRAVELIN

@H_e_x @eudemonistDo you really believe that every single one of them is "well off"? Just out of curiosity, how many travel kids have you actually met? Sat down next to? Conversed with? There are of course plenty of kids who travel that suck, just like there are plenty of anybodies anywhere that suck. 


I'll give it to you that most of these kids are white, however I have personally met quite a few kids who weren't. I met a mixed race, gender queer, amputee kid on the road once, so how's that for "coming from a comfy background filled with luxury, privilege and understanding"?

I too, have traveled, except two years ago my mothers total income was less than $10,000. Is that "well off" enough for you? I'm not complaining, nor am I ashamed of that; on the contrary I am very thankful that we had the resources available to us. It's just very silly of you to think you know something as intimate as the upbringings of an ENTIRE SUBCULTURE OF PEOPLE that you obviously haven't said more than a single "GET A JOB" out of your car to.

The thing is though, even if someone did come from a family with money...who cares? Why is it so bad to reject that lifestyle? To try something different. If a kid comes from a poor family and they grow up to become wealthy, why is that flip of a lifestyle so much more commendable? If anything I congratulate the kids that give up the ability to be able to afford (or have given) the things they often want in exchange for a minimalist lifestyle. 

It seems like you think that money makes people happy, and if they have it they should stay put and not try to figure out if anything else out there works. Is this true to you?

getreallpaid
getreallpaid

@eudemonist @H_e_x  Hex. Just saying, I am in The Rail Yard Ghosts.   We have been getting exposure to our music by traveling, this isn't a summer fling.   we've been doing this for collectively, well over 30 years.   We met on the road, and started playing music together, and over time formed into that crazy group you see in the picture.   

eudemonist
eudemonist

@H_e_x  Why so racist?  Three times you have used the color of participants as an objection to this practice--is that how you usually judge the worthiness of an endeavor? 

Is it your opinion that poor kids would be incapable of jumping on a train and riding it across the county, living under bridges and out of cardboard boxes, eating at soup kitchens and homeless shelters?  Given that the whole concept is based on not having money, it seems this is a lifestyle open to all who wish to participate, whether well-off or not.

Backpacking:  OK if you pay for it.

Trainhopping:  Not OK, even though it doesn't cost anything, because you're likely white and your folks *might* not be homeless.

Either you're trolling or non-sensical;  either way I gotta get back to work.

H_e_x
H_e_x

@eudemonist @H_e_x I see it differently. I see a bunch of spoiled white kids (again, these are almost always white kids) living some bs fantasy about being real and whatnot. Give me a break, the only reason these kids travel is because they come from well off families and have the privilege to do whatever they want. There is nothing charming or interesting about this.

eudemonist
eudemonist

@H_e_x  So, because YOU don't see the charm in traveling around the country without a care in the world, making friends and seeing stuff the vast majority of the populace will never encounter, then it must be worthless?

It must be nice to be the arbiter of what is worthwhile for people to do with their lives.

H_e_x
H_e_x

@eudemonist @H_e_x Not if they are just some lilly white kid who has it all but is sick of the 'burbs. There is a reason almost every single one of these kids is lilly white, and it isn't a coincidence. I don't see the charm in these kids or their wannabe on-the-road life.

eudemonist
eudemonist

@H_e_x  But hopping trains for free and busking for change is somehow ridiculous if it's in America?  The whole point of the deal is that it's traveling _without_ money.

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