The Kominas
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The Kominas

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | SELF

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2004
Band Rock Punk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Watch Muslim Punks The Kominas Party With Their "Disco Uncle""

Last time we caught up with Pakistani-American band the Kominas, they were running amok through Philadelphia in the video for "Banana." In the new clip for their slinky guitar tune, "Disco Uncle," the band's car breaks down and they're rescued by the chillest old dude ever. "'Disco Uncle'" is a fictional story inspired by real events involving an uncle who parties too hard," the band told FADER over email. Stitching together footage from a punk house outside Providence and The Kominas' live show with Black Lips and King Khan, the amiable video features the band and their delinquent uncle—who trades his dress shirt for a studded jacket—hanging in the studio, in a weed circle, and sprinting away from the cops after tagging a wall. He even got us blow, the song goes towards the end. Slow down, disco uncle. - The FADER

"Live Review: Black Lips, King Khan and the BBQ Show, and Kominas @ the Paradise, September 28"

... Before there were bruises though, there was the evening, and like the unprecedented heat that plagued Boston over the weekend, it started out smoking hot. A little after 8 p.m. Boston-based “muslim-punk” band the Kominas walked on stage. I was immediately drawn in by the boy’s deconstructed — or possibly reconstructed? — dhotis, which had been revamped with a bric-a-brac of polk-a-dots and various other fabrics. The bassist, Basim Usmani, additionally had his own take, sporting a tartan plaid sarong; oddly enough, there was something undeniably sexy about a man in a skirt and high-tops; something undeniably punk rock. Call me girly for being caught up in the aesthetic, but trust me when I say the clothes lent themselves to the theatrics of the event.

The music of the Kominas paralleled the dress code in the sense, that I found myself standing there, up against the barrier, excitedly trying to establish a baseline of influences, an unexpected melting pot of sound. All of which, might I add, in my head seemed fundamentally impossible to blend. At times, I was blushing at what sounded like the background music to my youth: Rancid, Pepper and the Aquabats, all pop-punk and ska-ish. But, then more, classic homages to the Cramps and the Ramones reverberated from Shahjehan Khan’s guitar as the man in question did backward somersaults on the floor of the stage.

What really surprised myself and fellow audience members was when the group broke out into melodies that screamed of disco: John Travolta, strutting out onto a light-up floor in Saturday Night Fever. There was even the occasional nod to reggae, as well. This all sounds atrocious, as I write it out, but it wasn’t. It was amazing. In between songs, band members doubled as comedians, and furthermore graciously assisted one another when guitar straps and cables came undone (which seemed to be somewhat of a theme for the set). In short, “Taqwacore” group, the Kominas won my heart, and those who also decided to turn up early to the evening’s festivities, with their original, slightly befuddling essence... - Vanyaland

"Watch a VHS Video for "Banana," The Kominas' Post-Punk Song for Children"

"Do y'all want any pills?" Hassan Ali Malik asks an audience in the opening seconds of the new video from Muslim punk pioneers The Kominas. He's holding a pill bottle. "What are they?" someone shouts. "They're, uh, bananas," he says, and out spills a bunch of tiny, pill-sized somethings—probably Runts. And so begins clip for the Pakistani-American band's sunny, singable garage-punk jam, "Banana," the first of five new videos they plan to film and release before the year's out. Shot on VHS, the lo-fi footage follows the four-piece as they dart around Philadelphia—on rooftops, through grocery stores—their harmless, slightly subversive humor shining bright. There's a lot of actual bananas in it, even though the song is lyrically about hoping someone does't go crazy. "It's a post-punk song for children about struggling with religion and identity issues," the band says over e-mail. Even if you lose your mind and go bananas/ I'll stay by your side. It's pretty sweet, actually. - The Fader

"The Kominas bring Islamic punk to Meltdown"

With Green Day's American Idiot being reimagined as a Broadway musical and the 1970s bunch largely comfortable in middle age, punk rock is less a form of rebellion than an integral part of the entertainment industry. Parents of young punk bands are probably just happy their boys have a hobby that takes them away from the television or the Xbox. So it is both surprising and pleasing to find a punk band who can still upset all and sundry: punk purists, family, rightwingers, leftwingers, those without a sense of humour – and because they follow Islam – their fellow Muslims.

Mixing punk sounds and attitude with Hindi lyrics, doses of bhangra and other south Asian beats, the Kominas are part of an emerging musical scene known as Taqwacore, which has recently been explored in the Canadian documentary Taqwacore and the feature film The Taqwacores, seen at Sundance. It also forms the basis of a night at Richard Thompson's Meltdown festival at the Southbank Centre in London this month.

The Boston-based band's world- ranging sound and global politics will immediately bring the Clash to many minds, though their sense of satire and mischief is reminiscent of the Dead Kennedys – as you might expect, as some members were previously in a band called the Dead Bhuttos.

"Punk is definitely the white man's music," says the band's bassist and vocalist Basim Usmani, using the example of a rare punk song that sang about being – albeit for an evening – a member of an ethnic minority. "White Man in Hammersmith Palais kind of sums it all up. I think that is one of the most beautiful songs of all time and I think that sums up some of the feelings that go on in our heads. Joe Strummer is the White Man in Hammersmith Palais, but otherwise he is a white man at the Roxy in Soho. He is so far part of the dominant group that he has to go to the Hammersmith Palais to get that feeling. But every hardcore [punk] show is like that for us."

Lyrically the Kominas play on US expectations and media perceptions of Muslims and South Asians. So, songs such as Sharia Law in the USA and Suicide Bomb the Gap appear to tell those who only read the song titles exactly what they expect to hear from Muslims, with the subsequent outrage not far behind, not least on the kind of internet messageboards populated by the far right. The band's most vociferous detractors, though, come from within the punk scene.

"The Kominas are an American band, even though we sing in Punjabi," says Usmani. "We could not have happened anywhere else. There are conservative punks or redneck punks who are hard to deal with, but the main problem we have is with anti-religious punks who cannot see any value in a religious heritage."

This religious heritage has obviously shaped the band as people every bit as much as their roots in Pakistan and India, but they certainly don't operate like Christian rock acts. They are often irreverent towards Islam and are certainly not preaching. Their religion is more a beginning than an end point for the Kominas, and the lines are not always clearly drawn.

"I am not a Muslim or anti-Muslim spokesperson," says Usmani. "It breaks my heart when Muslim kids come to our shows and then read our lyrics and write back saying they just can't come to see us again. It is not easy and I do regret how I have made some people feel with my lyrics. But then when people on the [extreme rightwing] Stormfront messageboard are discussing us and saying they are afraid of us – that does get me psyched." - The Guardian (UK)

"Siddhartha Mitter's top CD picks of 2008"

THE KOMINAS, "Wild Nights in Guantanamo Bay" (Self-released) Unruly Pakistani-American punk rockers skewer the orthodoxies of Islamic fundamentalism and Bush-era US policy in a righteous orgy of debauched lyrics and loud guitar. Crucial! - The Boston Globe


Still working on that hot first release.



The Kominas are a situationalist punk band, a la Sex Pistols, modeling themselves after punk bands in 1977 who made careers out of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Much like the Pistols’ Anarchy in the UK or God Save the Queen, The Kominas wrote songs like “Sharia Law in the USA” or “No one’s gonna honor kill my baby but me.”
Having released three albums to date, The Kominas have received praise from notable thought leaders, Rolling Stone, VICE Magazine, TIME, Newsweek, and Los Angeles Times, to name a few. They regularly perform at festivals and colleges throughout the United States and Europe with, most recently playing sold-out festivals in Italy and Austria.

In 2011, The Kominas were featured in a Sundance Film Festival selected documentary “Taqwacore: The
Birth of Punk Islam” (available now on Netflix), bringing the story of their creative missions to audiences worldwide. They recently had a show at the Paradise Club, in Boston supporting the Black Lips, and King Khan & his BBQ.

The Kominas are currently premiering new material, which includes a video for “Banana,” a post-punk song for kids about mental health, specifically for those dealing with identity/religious issues.

Band Members