Earlier this year, Hilken Mancini learned that the band Green Day liked her approach to aerobic workouts. Mancini, who found brief fame in the 1990s as a singer-guitarist for the Boston-based indie pop band Fuzzy, has been offering her Punk Rock Aerobics via Zoom since the pandemic started. She describes the workouts as “created for the misfit.” They are set to punk rock music and moves include “skank,” “whack jacks,” and “Iggy’s punch.”
Mancini, who lives in Jamaica Plain, said a Green Day representative called and asked if she would record a workout for the band’s new music video. When Mancini submitted the final cut, she wasn’t sure her clip, which she filmed at home in what she calls her jam room, would make it past post-production. On Feb. 20, Green Day uploaded “Here Comes The Shock” to YouTube. In pigtails, mismatched socks over ripped tights, and a tank top that reads “Punk Rock Aerobics,” Mancini is the star of all 2 minutes, 34 seconds.
The 51-year-old Mancini describes herself as “an artist person, like a weirdo.” She owns 40 South Street, a vintage clothing store in JP, and in addition to Fuzzy she’s played in other bands over the years, including Shepherdess and the Monsieurs.
Mancini cofounded Punk Rock Aerobics with Maura Jasper in 2000. The classes took place in rock clubs, offering a dimly lit, mirror-free space where, Mancini said, “you could show up in your Chuck Taylors and a T-shirt and let your freak flag fly.” They decided the workouts would have a three-moves-per-song structure to mirror three-chord punk rock songs.
Early on, the concept met with a flurry of excitement. When Mancini cofounded the nonprofit organization Girls Rock Campaign Boston in 2010, though, she put Punk Rock Aerobics on pause. In March 2020, she was in the process of reviving it when COVID hit, hence the switch to remote classes.
While she hopes to host workouts again in person, Mancini says the virtual format has helped her reach more participants. Live Punk Rock Aerobics classes are held Tuesdays at 6 p.m. via Zoom. Each one-hour session costs $12, but Mancini said she wouldn’t turn anyone away for inability to pay. Find the class at www.punkrockaerobics.com.
Mary Mangual is a writer pursuing her MFA at Emerson College.