Yeah yeah… you heard the news. Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong got mad and smashed a guitar onstage. Everyone online started freaking out and saying how “punk rock” he still is… blah blah. Even iHeart radio (who hosted the event) said it was “one of the most epic punk rock sets in recent memory”. Whatever. Now not shocking news or anything, but the band has apologized and sent their front man to rehab. But look man… you can call it whatever you want. An egotistical sad man who knows his new record is going to bomb, a guy who is mad he got cut short to appease Usher, or just another rich aging rock star who forgot his place in the world, but let’s not get it twisted… Green Day is not punk rock.
I take great offense to the idea they are.
Oh sure, they may have been at one time, when they were on Lookout! records, but even the band has distanced them selves from their own past citing how young they were when they wrote their “punk” songs. You will notice me using quotes around the word “punk”. I do that because you don’t have to play traditional “punk” music to still have the underground edge and attitude that people respect… but let’s face it… Green Day lost it all in the early 90′s make no mistake.
When you play the MGM Grand, when you are an MTV darling on their award shows, when you are played on iHeart radio for Pete’s sake… you can’t claim my DIY way of life.
Here’s a news flash GREEN DAY… and anyone else who thinks what they did is cool…
My life.. our life, is hard. It’s rough. Even as I type this, I face an uncertain employment future in 30 days, I’m living on a shoestring budget. My home has forgone luxuries like cable and XBox live so we can keep the wheels on the truck spinning and heading to other towns to spread our music message. It rarely pays for itself. I sometimes wonder why I do it. But let me say… that I can’t see us doing anything else.
So when a forty something aging one time cool singer who has made record companies millions of dollars throws a temper tantrum onstage and people call it punk, it makes me sick to my stomach. That’s not punk. There is no struggle in that. I think about my friends in bands who try to make a living on music, and how they would kill for a chance to play a show that big or a stage like that. All this guy did was break a guitar any of my friends wish they could afford. All I see, is a rich washed up drug addict who is a cliche. That’s not what we podcast about. That’s not what we promote.
The documentary titled “one nine nine four” which is a look at punk’s explosion in the 90s mainstream was leaked onto youtube recently. Director Jai Al-Attas doesn’t seem too ticked off, his tweet read : So it’s true the doco leaked – go find it.
The documentary is narrated by Tony Hawk, and features some good bands like Rancid, Lagwagon and Bad Religion. It also features some shitty bands like Offspring and Green Day, but you can’t have everything…
My feelings on this are mixed. 1994 for example was the year I started my first zine, first band, etc, so I guess if I had to be lumped into a category, you could say this was my era. I however, unlike some of these bands, had no ambition for commercialism and I am pretty sure you would never have seen my Oi! band The Blacklisted trying to get on Lookout. The opening lines hit a hard note of reality for me when it says all of a sudden punk was mainstream and what was OURS became theirs.
Some call me an elitist. I call myself a guardian. At any rate, I’m glad this period of punk is over, we can go back to having it in the basement again, and all the cool kids can move onto dubstep or whatever hipster trash is out.
For what it’s worth good or bad, here is the link to the movie on youtube. Save yourself some bucks and see it for free while it’s up.
Last night, we had the pleasure of hanging out and playing a show with San Antonio band. Viet-Ruse. The night was great. If you ever get a chance to see this band play live, holy smokes… make sure you do. Great energy. Lots of fun. Mixing old 77 style punk with semi ska feeling and an indie undertone, Viet-Ruse strikes the impression of a Mexican Jam or Clash. Verdict? We like it!
You can hear them at:
Also last night, a rousing set by our local friends Toxic Fuse. There is just something about Toxic Fuse and us sharing a stage that seems to ensure we both have really good sounding sets.