In Defense of Ska Ep. 7: Alex Begay of The Crack Shack in Tuba City, AZ


Touring as an indie musician often leads to playing unexpected spaces. When my band, Flat Planet, toured the US in the mid-90s, we played skate parks, backyards, public parks, recording studios, trailer parks, and one time we played in the middle of the desert, thirty miles from Las Vegas with nothing but a generator and a few lights. Adam Davis, co-host of this podcast, also played a ton of DIY spaces while touring with Link 80 in the late 90s and early 2000s. Of all venues he played, one of his all-time favorite spots was “The Crack Shack,” an abandoned house in Tuba City, which is a small city on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona.

The Crack Shack only lasted from 1999 till 2003, but it housed a raging punk scene that left an impact on Adam. Years later, Adam found one of the main Crack Shack promoters, Alex Begay, on MySpace. Alex not only promoted shows at The Crack Shack, but he played in the Tuba City punk band Downplay—at the time, the only punk band in town.

The Ugly Kids at The Crack Shack

On this episode of In Defense of Ska, Adam and Alex reminisce on The Crack Shack days. And try to understand why oftentimes, it’s the punk rock venues in the least likely, most off-the-radar spots, that have the best scenes. Alex talks about The Crack Shack’s history, what lead to it being shut down, about the time he enjoyed Navajo Tacos with Vic Ruggeiro (Slackers), and we also discuss the time Glenn Danzig got socked in the face in Tuba City. That wasn’t at The Crack Shack though.

If you enjoy this episode, give it a share. Also, sign up for my newsletter for posts and podcast episodes sent directly to your inbox