Monday, June 18, 2012

Punk Rock Biography

I don't claim to be a Punk Rocker. However, I've been listening to Punk Rock since the seventies. I was a pre-teen, and I'm middle aged, now, so it's safe to say that Punk re-directed my life. Still, I never wore the uniform, and I never limited my tastes, which would have labelled me really punk except when I discovered the subculture was a particularly defensive time, so I got the label "poseur". I understand the reasons why- if  you're both being attacked from above ( police, government, media) and from all sides ( peers, family, co-workers) the safest route is to take up a badge, and band together- and, keep in mind, I wasn't necessarily doing much better- I simply wasn't going to trade tribes, when any tribe I chose made me a target. So, I was a poseur, and good with that, just like I still am.
However, I'm writing this as I watch a DVD called "Punk's Not Dead" . Oh, it's revisionist, just like every one of these autopsies on Punk- which well and truly died in the early 1980's, make no mistake- but just one thing stuck in my craw- they're not saying the word- but unspoken thing is everyone is trying to prove their 'cred"- the old punks talking about how they were hated, Corporate heads of Hot Topic and the Warped Tour talking about how they're not the enemy,  Second, third, fifth generation bands and fans talking about how they're carrying the torch, and there's something in me that recoils. I've never been too fond of "purity tests".  I don't like that kind of wall-building. But would it be so bad to say "I'm not punk. God, I sure do love The Clash, but it's 2012, I'm in my forties, I'm a middle class guy, so no way you could call me a Punk". Or, wouldn't it be refreshing to hear some 20 year old say "I'm no punk. The bands I'm inspired by were themselves inspired by Punk Rock, but I'm off on a tangent"?  Or best of all how about "Punk Rock? I read something about that, once. What's that got to do with me?"

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