Fight Betty Fight
Veteran Punk Guitar Star Betty Cisneros Combats Cancer
Betty Cisneros, guitarist and namesake of long running Latina pop punk quartet Go Betty Go, is a stone cold badass. On the bandstand, she just flat out rocks, delivering a barrage of hot-roasted ax-phraseology that’s always remarkable for its intensity and dynamism, and the recent announcement that she has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer came as an appalling shock, one of those developments so enragingly unjustifiable that it curdles the brain.
Naturally, her bandmates—bassist Michelle Rangel ,spearhead siblings Nicollete and Aixa Vilar—have aggressively responded to the situation, with a GoFundMe page that’s raised over $43,000, assisted the uninsured Cisneros to get the coverage needed and have organized an indie/punk rock star-studded, all-ages benefit show at Boyle Heights’ historic Paramount Theater on Sun., July 3. Purchase tickets here.
Betty doesn’t sound like anyone else, and over twenty years spent documenting GBG, I’ve tried my best to capture the essence of her sublimely rampaging style, with “Betty, the chola-tuff guitar pyrotechnician, is not only the anchor but the guts of the band. Onstage, she lays down her effects pedals, plants herself before a microphone and discharges an intense blast of hard-rocking, run-for-your-life riffs,” and “Betty, who dug hip-hop and metal, would play whatever suited her, breaking out a wah-wah pedal if the mood struck.”
That unfettered quality defines the Cisneros method, it’s a brawny, squalling sound that’s hers alone, devoid of genre influence and fueled solely by her own musical expression. Such artistic purity is exceedingly rare and this is why her return to performing and recording is so critically important.
Sunday’s Paramount 3 p.m. matinee show will feature Go Betty Go (with redoubtable 210s ax-man Adam Bones filling in for Cisneros), The Dollyrots (flying in from Florida just to play this), Bad Cop/Bad Cop’s Jennie Cotteril & Linh Le, Johnny Madcap & The Distractions and, likely, more than a few additional surprises.
Prayers up for Betty.