I have been an online writer for over ten years. My articles often focus on art and entertainment with an emphasis on music.
Death of Punk
Punk Rock can only be categorized by giving the finger to "The Man", rebelling against societal norms, and using the medium of music to make a political or societal statement. The name and the meaning seem to be falling further and further from its intended realm of chaos to a more ordered union. As Johnny Rotten politely put it in a recent interview on today's punk influence, he states that "Punk is more of a "Punk Uniform and it's not a musical game, it's deadly serious."
Punk was born in the underground scenes of societies outcasts and rang it's message out on to the streets like a verbal slap across the face.Today, Punk is categorized by corporate-generated, pseudo-punks that are sugar-coated, mastered, and assembly lined to you in a package. Not for the art of it or by the lyrics that were once fueled by anger, emotion, and societal anguish, but by the huge record labels that have now bought the name and mass produced it to appeal to everyone.
Punk was part of a movement that began in the mid-seventies, surviving through the 1980's and by theory, Punk started from disgruntled youth in England that were tired of the constraints of social order. In the U.S around the same time, a radical movement started a trend of garage bands all over the country. So, many believe that Punk was a mutual exchange between the two continents. A movement that stirred individualism, independence, and rebellion against society. It also created a subculture that gave troubled and creative youth an identity. The genre is still claimed to exist vaguely today, but the fire behind the music seems to have cashed. The bands of the 70's and 80's such as the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys etc. gave a new sound and a new voice of protest that stemmed from the 1960s counterculture and became the harder edge that woke up the world. I wish I could say that it still exists today, but the so-called bands who claim to be punk seem to only sing about pointless issues that wouldn't stir a radical movement beyond the shrubs of a suburban neighborhood. Posers plague the airwaves and internet, tattooed from head to toe, sporting Mohawks and claim to be punk, but these corporate puppets only follow the command of their labels and live only by the philosophy of what sells to the masses. This is not the ideology that started the revolution. In Punk, there are no rules, no boundaries, no politically correct statements, just sheer protest with a limitless voice.
The medium of music has always been a powerful way to express distaste or revolt. Shared by youth who are fed up with an unjust system and were fearless of the consequences. These were the ideologies that would transcend through time to every generation that followed, but sadly today, it has been twisted into a money making scheme. A few other hopefuls still remain hidden away, shut down by their government or stuck in underground dingy bars across the world, but alas, the truth remains-Punk is dead. Maybe solely by popular definition, but its legend still reigns immortal.
kyladaniel on November 07, 2011:
there a is a ton of good bands still to the truth out there. they are more so underground-ish. it takes a lot of research. what i do is look who played with bands i love or other bands influenced by the bands i am into. i think a very true band is leftover crack. they lead me to many amazing bands that are similar and an amazing site (http://angry-ska.blogspot.com/) which has underground bands that share the same beliefs. i really like this article and agree with it. out with the new, in with the old, i say.
Stephanie Ford (author) from Austin, Texas on September 22, 2011:
Agreed Joe. Thanks for the comment. I believe there are still some out there but, it is true it is a dying species (sadly).
joevassar from Wilmington, North Carolina on September 22, 2011:
Punk is dying, but is not completely dead yet. I'd say that bands like Iceage and Titus Andronicus are great examples of how there is still good punk out there, you just have to look really hard to find it.
Stephanie Ford (author) from Austin, Texas on June 16, 2011:
Sorry for the late reply! Thanks Kayla for your comment. This is precisely what I am talking about. I too, would have loved to have been old enough to be right smack down in London in the mid-seventies living and expereincing the mayhem!
A great favorite quote by Mr. Rotten is "It's a repressive society where you can't be horrible. I'm not horrible,they made me horrible. I'm just honest".
Factual not fiction. :)
Kayla on April 24, 2011:
There's a documentary out there, funnily enough, called "Punk's Not Dead". Interviews from a bunch of different original punks, and then some newer ones that are sort of laughed at (ie. Billie Joe Armstrong), but I'm not a walking advertisement, I just thought that was funny.
This is the way things have always been, from every form of music that was once considered rebellious. Rock n roll, punk, swing, blues--it all started out with a general message: "We're proud of who we are and want to live our own lives, no matter what you think." Then, the fashion of the music's fans got co-opted, then record companies found out how to make it commercial.
Bet you never figured blues was once rebellious. Yep. "Black music" wasn't cool in Racistville.
Back to punk, though. Johnny Rotten said once, I can't remember where, that it took nearly twenty years for America to really get the hang of punk. The Pistols were popular in the charts, God Save the Queen even made No. 1, but The Ramones and Dead Kennedys never got commercially big like the Pistols did.
But, then, California produces Kurt Cobain and Nirvana (garage metal, punk, rock--I don't care what you call them) during an economically troubling time. And the "underground" American punk scene is acting up more and more. The global recession triggered something. Now you can find good punk bands that aren't twenty, thirty, forty years old. Rise Against and
So, to quote dear Johnny, boys and girls:
"Punk is not for the privileged. It was made for the working class and will only be properly understood by us working class."
God, I wish I had been born in London for the revolution.
Stephanie Ford (author) from Austin, Texas on January 31, 2011:
Thank You, Kitty. Its good to know I am not alone on this one. Thanks for your comment!
Kitty Fields from Summerland on January 02, 2011:
love it...particularly because it is the truth. many bands out there today claim to be "punk", including Fall Out Boy and Sum 41 and the like...which are truly FAR from being real punk or anything close to that word. thanks for the truth. :)
Stephanie Ford (author) from Austin, Texas on April 23, 2010:
Thanks for your comment(s). You are right, Punk music was definitely fueled by social discontent. It should still only be fueled by this. My thoughts are focused on the corporate record labels selling a product that they call Punk. Which in turn doesn't deserve the title. Modern day 'Punk' bands should still sing about social discontent and not what only sells to the hopeless romantic. This just breeds a scene of wanna-bes. With every generation, there is new music and new fans and even with Rock and Roll, a lot has changed in the music industry. Hopefully, in the future, more bands will be independent and will keep pushing those buttons through protest and use it for social change because some of us want that voice back and the best way to do it is through music....real music.
lightning john from Florida on April 23, 2010:
Moncrief I absolutely agree. I should not have those thoughts, but I do. I play blues music now that I'm 49 and have been through more trauma than you want to hear about.
And yet, I'm not black, so it's kinda the same thing.
moncrieff on April 23, 2010:
You're right in every point. But you see people like the music and fashion, hence there are these new bands. As for the substance of the music, it cannot be filled with the social anger it fed on 30 years ago. Everything seems to be fine, apart from "thrashed skateboards". Maybe if we had a good crisis, social discontent... maybe the youth would feel it and channel it via new rebellious music en masse. But till then we are left with songs about a next door girl breaking the kid's heart.
lightning john from Florida on April 22, 2010:
Right on! My son is 21 now. He has been playing hardcore since I bought him his 1st Gibson SG and Marshall amp. The other day, I saw him and he had his hair all punked and I'm like what the ffffreak. You know it's been so hard for these kids now sittin around with their video games and cheezzee puffs! They got a lot of pain to write about, give mea fkn break! Keep writing!