Matt Caughthran from The Bronx and Mariachi El Bronx talks music, getting arrested in Mexico, and UFC 165

Matt Caughthran from The Bronx and Mariachi El Bronx called me up to talk about UFC 165 and how he avoided jail time in Mexico after getting too messed up on pills and tequila.


It's the first thing that Matt Caughthran, the lead singer of the Los Angeles-based punk bands The Bronx and Mariachi El Bronx, says to me on the phone. I met up with him after catching Mariachi El Bronx play their final show at the Cosmopolitan on Mexican Independence Day and wanted to know if he would possibly be interested in an interview.

However, since neither of us were in a proper state of mind, we pushed it back until his band got back from Vegas after playing four shows in four days. I could immediately tell that he was still a bit banged up. I was too, but I wasn't passing up the opportunity to talk with him about music and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

I was tipped off that he was an MMA fan because of a Facebook post from Jorma Vick, the drummer for the Bronx and Mariachi El Bronx.

They recently flew out to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to catch UFC 164 or more accurately to see Josh Barnett face Frank Mir. Barnett is a close friend of theirs, so a quick 24 hours of fights and partying seemed appropriate. This was a direct parallel to my overnight trip to Vegas to catch El Bronx.

"Oh it was great man. It was cool. I've seen a couple live UFC fights and this one was by far the best for me just because Josh is a friend and it was a great fight. I've seen a lot of great fights. I saw B.J. Penn beat the shit outta Sean Sherk, that was a good one," he said.

"But you know, it's a lot different when you have a friend involved. And not only that, but kinda seeing the UFC in a different area that's not such a Vegas-y or big time atmosphere was really cool. It just seemed more localized and more genuine and less theatrical."

"And of course, when Pettis won over Henderson, that was insane because he's a Milwaukee dude. The crowd was just going nuts. That was so cool. Seeing Josh get back into the ring in the UFC where he belongs and getting his first W against Mir, that was really cool man. That's a long ladder that he's got ahead of him so it was good to see him get in there and just f***ing take that first step and dominate."

How they all became friends is a story unto itself. It's a well known fact that Barnett is a huge fan of Heavy Metal and all things nerdy. A few shows later and Barnett was an unofficial member of the Bronx crew.

"It's through music, man. Jorma met him first because they're both kind of Seattle guys and then Jorma introduced me to him and he's a heavy metal dude, he's a punk fan. He's kind of a maniac, you know what I mean? Maniacs tend to be friends with other maniacs. And he came to a couple shows and obviously, I'm a fight fan. So we started talking and hit it off."


The topic of conversation quickly moved towards music or more specifically the Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) in-house DJ. Those that have attended a live UFC event can attest that the music that's played in between fights is awful. In fact, it boarders on horrendous.

And based on what Caughthran had to say, it's unlikely the DJ will never play an opening set for either the Bronx or Mariachi El Bronx.

"I've always wondered about that. The UFC is still somehow stuck in Rap Metal. It's strange because there's so much good music in the world and they seem to have none of it. But you know, it is what it is man. At the end of the day, it's addrenaline "gym type hyped up" music that people want, so I'm not tripping on that."

"It's just funny because I always think that music makes or break. Maybe not makes or breaks, but it can take a cool thing and make it so much cooler if you have some good tunes behind it. But you know, it is what it is, man. To each his own."

The Bronx have been a staple in the LA punk scene for years, having released their first full length record in 2003. Since then they've been notorious for raising hell all across the globe with their chaotic shows and even crazier partying afterwards.

From what I've seen in person, their normal shows entail Caughthran either crowd surfing for several songs during the set or hanging from whatever he can off the ceilings of the club. But apparently that's nothing from what has gone on while playing shows in Europe.

"Oh man, there's been some great ones. I knocked Joby's tooth out with a telephone one time in Tokyo. Our tour manager punched Joby in the face one time before Glastonbury Festival and Joby played it with a black eye on national television. There's been all kinds of stuff man. We're pretty retarded. It's fun."

"The thing about the Bronx and El Bronx that I'm so proud of is that we're able to maintain the friendship that we've had throughout all the years. We still have a fucking blast together. You'd think that would be a given but you come across a lot of bands that don't have that relationship so you learn to cherish it. It means a lot to me. Every time we go out, we have a fucking blast."

However, as great as those stories are, they can't compare to his experience several years ago while partying in Mexico. As he's telling me the story, I can barely believe that it's true. I first heard that he was arrested in Mexico via another interview. However, he didn't really give much details as to what actually happened.

Let's just say that tequila and pain killers make you do some wild sh*t.

"Yeah, well I didn't pretended to be mentally retarded. What happened was a long time ago, we were really young, and a bunch of friends of mine went down to Mexico. We got all pilled up and we were wasted, absolutely wasted. And I had never really...I mean I dabbled in pain killers but never really to this extent where I was pounding tequila and taking somas and vicodins and muscle relaxers and all that shit."

"And we were on the side of the road which is a cardinal sin in Mexico, we pulled over to pee. We were actually in a vehicle. We pulled over to take a piss on the side of the road and the Federales came and nabbed me because I pulled my pants down and I was so fucked up that I couldn't pull my pants back up. So I was just literally walking around with my dick hanging out. And the Federales came up and took us all to this jail."

"I think it was just north of Ensenada. We're sitting there for a while and I just remember going in and out. I was drooling to such an extent that my friend came up with the idea that to tell the Federales that I was mentally disabled and he needed to get me outta there. They took one look at me and I was in such a state where it looked like I didn't have too much of a brain and they bought it and let us out. It was a pretty sketchy sketchy weekend."

But it's not all jokes with him. To close out the call, I really just wanted to know what he thinks about the fights tonight at UFC 165 in Toronto, Canada. After hearing him talk about his experiences attending live fight cards, I knew that he was a fan.

However, the kind of breakdown he gave for the main event between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson was incredibly in depth. He's clearly more than just a casual fan who likes watching dudes getting punched in the face.

"You know what man? It's like they keep talking about his reach and his height and all that stuff. About how 'Bones' Jones has never seen anyone his heigh and with his reach. But I also think that's a two way street. Gustafsson's never really seen anyone like 'Bones' Jones. He's still gonna have the reach on him and he's gonna have to be the aggressor to get their first before 'Bones' and I just don't see that happening man. It's crazy."

"That Pettis fight kind of opened up one of those weird doors where it's like 'well maybe titles are gonna start changing hands. Maybe this is a weird thing. Maybe it's not just him. Someone else is gonna fall next.' We'll see but in my opinion I think that Jones has got this. I think he's got this hands down. I think that Gustafsson is a bad ass but I just don't see Jones losing this. I think he's gonna knock him out. I think he wants that knockout really bad. It's the one thing that he doesn't have yet. I think he's gonna go for it."

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