The Pitch’s Infinite Playlist: Round 7: Chris Ortiz

Infinite Playlist Header Shelby Phelps

The Pitch’s Infinite Playlist. // Illustration by Shelby Phelps

Welcome to The Pitch’s Infinite Playlist, a forever-growing playlist of songs picked by people in KC. View/follow the full playlist on Spotify and you can always go back and check out the full run of articles. Throw this bad boy on shuffle and enjoy:

Playlist Guest #7: Chris Ortiz

Who are you and what do you do?

I do a lot of things but I’m also a photographer for The Pitch.


“Where I’m Going” by Rancid

This track is a little personal for me, as people have always judge me based on one thing or another. But they never really sat back and asked me about who I was. I had to fight my way to where I am today, as a college professor, a concert photographer, gallery exhibition artist, etc. This song is dedicated to those people.

“Nothing to Prove” by H2O

This song mellows me out, reminds me that I really have nothing to prove to anyone. Sure, I am who I am: I have tattoos, I wear the clothes I wear, paint my nails, and I have nothing I need to prove.

“Zombie” by Cranberries

As a kid, I listened to a lot of country music. Garth Brooks, Dwight Yoakam, Alabama, Diamond Rio, Randy Travis… you get the drift. It wasn’t really until I heard this album that came out in 1994 (along with Rancid’s ...And Out Come The Wolves and Green Day’s Dookie) that pulled me out of that country-boy space. This sends me back there.

“Be” by Frogpond

Their album Count to 10 is a masterpiece and really should be hailed as one of the greatest albums of the local scene from all time, but the song “Be” just speaks volumes. You deserve to crank this one up and scream along.

“Die for the Government” by Anti-Flag

I came from a military family, and this was the song that made me ask for the first time “What do we do that for?” This started me down the protest path that made me who I am today.

“Somos Mas Americanos” by Los Tigres Del Norte

As a third-generation Mexican-American, I grew up listening to my share of Hispanic music. This song really nailed the immigrant rights issues that have consumed me. A translation of some of the lyrics: “They have already yelled at me a thousand times to return to my land/ Because here I do not fit/ I want to remind the gringo: I did not cross the border, I crossed the border/ America was born free, man divided it” and so on.  It is an everyday reminder that your heart is the size of your fist—keep loving and keep fighting.

“Wholesale Failure and Day Gaunts” by Days n Daze

It reminds me of the late 90s and early 2000s when Lawrence was a hub for the punk rock scene, with rented houses turned into independent concert venues for DIY shows—places like The Pirate House, The Sunflower House, The Haunted Kitchen, Black Cat Collective, and even Solidarity Radical Bookstore. These places felt like home to me and sometimes were, helped me realize that family is who you want it to be, not who you were born with. We would have bands from Plan-it-X Records like This Bike is a Pipebomb, The Sissies, and others play in our homes. People would come from all around to these shows; bands that normally wouldn’t fit into anywhere else in the area. Days n Daze is a modern version of one of those bands and would have fit in so well with the crowd back then.

Categories: Music