By now, most people who follow national politics have probably heard that Beto O’Rourke, the former Democratic congressman from El Paso who is contemplating a run for president, once played bass in a punk rock band called Foss. The punk rock ethos seemed to infuse his 2018 Senate race against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, down to O’Rourke’s DIY-style of campaigning. During the campaign, O’Rourke performed on stage with Willie Nelson, brought a fog machine to his concession speech, and filmed himself playing air drums on the steering wheel during road trips. The state Republican Party, for its part, mocked him for appearing in a dress on the cover of Foss’ album, The El Paso Pussycats.
But Foss wasn’t O’Rourke’s only musical project. Nearly a decade after Foss split up in the mid-’90s—after he had returned to El Paso, started a web design company, and taken tentative steps toward a career in local politics—O’Rourke and a few friends (including other ex-members of Foss) formed two other bands. One was a rock group called Fragile Gang. The other was a cover band called The Sheeps, which performed punk rock classics. Band members wore a variety of disguises on stage—most notably, tight onesies and sheep masks.