Give Punk Rock It’s Balls Back
I’m not sure if I have every told you guys the story of how I got into punk rock… FLASHBACK: I wish I could tell you I was there in the beginning. That I saw Black Flag’s original lineup or FEAR play in a crappy club. I didn’t grow up in an urban city setting on the lower east side. I wish I did from the stories I read. No… I grew up in a small town. Always feeling alien and alone. I never belonged to a club or felt like part of the norm. No, in this small town, I was the kid in the back of the class who identified more with Luke Skywalker than I did with anyone in the class. Then the day came when my family moved to a bigger town. I guess I should have been excited. There were girls I didn’t know, my school had actual electives instead of just “agriculture for boys and homemaking for girls” (seriously) and the first day of school in this new city, my shoes got stolen from my locker. While I was stoked to have an actual crime happen to me, I quickly realized that I was still going nowhere and still the quiet kid in the back of the class. All that changed when a lanky kid with a shaved head named Paul Nasty walked into my 9th grade class and borrowed a pencil… Instead of using it to write notes, he drew band logos all over his book. When he gave the pencil back after class, I asked him about the drawings. “Just a bunch of punk bands” he said. I asked him to make me a tape. “Really?” he said. “Really”. When I got the tape, it said “Kreator” on it. He said it was his brother’s cassette and he just taped over it. There was no song list. I took it home eagerly and went into my room, closed the door, inserted it into my portable jambox and waited… After a few seconds a wall of sound hit the speakers and the most chaotic noise I had ever heard came to life. I wasn’t sure what it was. But it changed my life. I listened to the whole thing without stopping. Some was better than most, but one thing was for sure… I had never heard this before, and I knew I was changed. Hearing songs about being an outcast. Hearing songs about being different and not complacent about where you were. The drive an energy of someone who is screaming “NO” as loud as they can over a set of speakers. This is what I needed. I remember hearing certain songs and saying “yes… I need that. Yes this is me.” And just like that I was a fan. I never looked back, and although my appearance has gone from weird kid with no fashion sense, to punk rocker, to bootboy hooligan, back to man with no fashion sense… I have never stopped supporting and believing in the music that I loved. PRESENT DAY Punk Rock… to me… has always been about this. To me, Punk has always been no holds barred, do what you feel, a voice that never backs down. It has been a voice of empowerment, giving strength to those who have always sought it out. So what I don’t understand… is how over the decades… the music I love has become a hotbed for the “ists” in life. (I can just imagine the hate mail now) You know what I mean… “the feminisits, the anarchists, the occupyists” not to mention the anti capitalists, anti big business, anti steroetype, pro PC… etc.. you get the idea. It seems that people have been so against the man, they become so “anti facist” they build a set of rules for a genre and subculture that had no rules to begin with… and again… I become alien. I flip through a popular punk rock zine. The most popular one, in fact I don’t even have to name it if you know anything about punk rock you know which one I’m talking about… and I see this article that finally pissed me off for the last time. The article is about “not getting called out”. So I’m thinking. “Cool an article about not being fake, standing your ground and not getting called out for being a poser or something right?” Nope. The article is about one girl, who has noticed in her “community of punks” that people have a habit of saying the wrong things and putting their foot in their mouth. She mentions an example about a person saying they don’t like chick singers and then everyone labels him a sexist. Instead of saying “Wow… maybe he just has a preference and can’t find any girl singers he likes” she gives a set of steps so the guy can recover and apologize for offending people. NO SHIT… I had to laugh. You want to know the steps don’t you? Here they were: 1)Breathe 2) shut up and listen to what people are trying to tell you 3) Kill your intentions dont cling to them 4) assume their intentions are good 5) Ask, seize the opportunity to make amends and learn 6) Learn and reflect…. yup what kind of bullshit is that? Seriously… what kind of bullshit is THAT? This is not the music I grew up with, this is not the genre I love or the subculture I know. When did we turn ourselves into a quivering set of eunuchs? When did punk lose it’s balls and power to shake shit up and not apologize? If I don’t like chick singers, maybe it’s cause I like a certain song better with gruff vocals (I love chick singers by the way I’m just saying) If I think something is stupid, why can’t I say it and be proud. I eat meat. I don’t care. I drink like a fish. I don’t care. I like girls and fast music and I believe in capitalism because I think that indie bands should be free to make as much money as they deserve. I hate censorship of any kind… and that includes censorship of each other. I would never censor this girl, but I also have the right to rebuttal her idiotic article, and call it idiotic. We as a society have let things go to far. We are so worried about being what we hate, we became what we hate… self censoring jackasses that follow the crowd. If that is your definition of “punk” you can have it. I’m going to go listen to my FEAR cd now.