Veronica Cruz, vocalist and guitarist with Long Beach punk act Rats in the Louvre, says her band takes its name from an article she read about rats plaguing the art museum in Paris. “A lot of tourists were spotting them while eating lunch in the garden,” Cruz explains. “I thought it was funny and ironic. Sort of like low-class culture invading the high class.”
And “low-class culture invading the high class” pretty well sums up punk rock’s ethos in general, particularly the arty New York iterations. And Rats in the Louvre draw comparisons to classic art punkers like Patti Smith, Crass and Sonic Youth.
But central to the band’s sound is Cruz’s serrated blade of a snarl asking questions like: “Are you a victim of society?” from “Fish Don’t Swim,” off the band’s 2015 self-titled release.
Here’s Cruz again: “We use a lot of dissonant chords, but in a more aggressive/punk sort of way. I personally like a lot of old punk — ’90s indie stuff. Fugazi is another band that had a huge influence on my songwriting.”
But when it comes to getting to the heart of her band, Cruz returns to the image of rodents and the Louvre. “The Louvre is one of the most-famous art museums in the world, and it is infested with rats,” she says. “That really could take on more than one meaning. I think it describes us well.”
Rats in the Louvre plays with Eugene sister-act ShiSho 8 pm Saturday, May 27, at The Boreal. $5, all-ages. — Will Kennedy