Punk Icon Alice Bag Takes On Domestic Violence In This Powerful Music Video

by Kailey Thompson

Chicana feminist punk icon and all-around badass Alice Bag releases her debut self-titled solo LP later this month on June 24. Bag is a musician, educator, author, feminist archivist and the lead singer and co-founder of the highly influential mid-’70s band The Bags, one of the first punk bands to form during the first wave of punk in Los Angeles. She is highlighted in the Smithsonian exhibit American Sabor about Latinos in American popular music and spoke in April on a panel at RuPaul’s DragCon with Henry Rollins.

The Bags The Bags

One of the songs on Bag’s new album, “He’s So Sorry,” takes on the topic of domestic violence. The music video is a mini-film for the song which is a call to action inspired by her friend’s experience in an abusive relationship. At the beginning of the video, Bag asks her friend, “Are you really going back to him?” to which her friend responds that “he said he was sorry” and she “really believes him this time.” When the friend turns to the camera, we see a purple bruise covering her left eye, and throughout the video, we see her grappling with how to respond to her abuser.

“‘He’s So Sorry’ is a song of both urgency and agency,” Bag said in a statement. “Nobody should risk their life waiting for an abuser to change their ways. I grew up around domestic violence, so when a good friend of mine asked me for help and advice, I recognized that she was in an abusive situation. Our conversations inspired this song.”

The video is intense and honest in its depiction of violence and shows Bag’s response with lyrics such as, “Just because he’s sorry doesn’t mean he’s gonna change / Just because you love him doesn’t mean you’ve gotta stay.”

“When I was growing up, my father would frequently beat my mother,” Bag said. “I would often go to school wondering if my mother would still be alive when I got home. My mother would tell me that she stayed with my father for my sake because I needed to have a mother and a father. It was a different time and a different set of values. … As a child, I hated my father for beating my mother and I felt anger and frustration at my mother’s inability to leave. My mother was not to blame for the abuse — that is unequivocal — but she did fail to recognize that she had the power to leave the situation. She was tethered by the fear that she wouldn’t be able to survive financially and by what I imagine was societal and familial pressure to stay in a dysfunctional marriage.”

The LP features all original material and features some of Bag’s favorite Los Angeles-based musicians. The album comes out June 24 on Don Giovanni Records.

Photo credit: Greg Velasquez

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