It wasn’t so long ago Punk bands at the local level could got some media coverage through a variety of sources. In scenes all over the country, independently funded rags published articles and reviews of local, national, and international music acts based on whatever the publisher liked. Indie clubs electrified nights in dingy corners, warehouse districts and fly-by-night hot spots. Punk, Emo and Ska bands ruled the underground scene, leaving a trail of trash, tags and teenage praise on roughly made newspaper ‘zines. Where are those now? What seemed like an endless trend starting in the early 60′s to the early part of the 2000′s, the desktop publishing world seemed to have bee booming. Punk ‘zines were likely the first casualties of the dying print media. Did it all go by way of the Internet? Do punk bands get all their rage reviewed on Facebook pages? Forgive the dated phrase, but that seems like such a sell-out.
Since when did Punk give a shit about trends anyway? Whenever that happened, it likely was the molotov cocktail setting ablaze the foundations of one of music’s truest and anti-establishment-driven genres. Perhaps rebellion against traditions through angry music isn’t cool anymore because whatever peeps out into the light (albeit through status updates, blog write-ups and what-have-you) seems more polished and less pissed off -as if the message has changed. It’s hard to argue the “absence of rebellion in today’s music,” says Lucy Jones of Britain’s The Telegraph. It seems so ancient now that the youth even try to shock the older, mature folk of the world. Everyone seems so damn set on pleasing each other. Whereas some argue the base of most teenage angst is psychosexual frustration, these days sexual freedoms are embraced and “healthy relations between the sexes has reduced such frustrations.” In other words, whatever pisses kids off these days certainly makes them lash out in ways other than sexually crazed, raw punk music. School discipline is so lax, kids can do whatever they want without consequences, so it’s no wonder they wouldn’t be angry about school anymore. Expectations have broadened immensely, so people can evidently be whatever they want to be and society will not make a fuss -at least not like in the old days.
The kids out there now, the ones writing and playing punk music in local scenes around the world, what are they against? The very term “punk” has its roots dating back to the time of William Shakespeare and it basically meant “a young male hustler, gangster or hoodlum.” In the music world, the word represents a genre of music, a movement of teenage animosity and refusal to do what society deems acceptable. Musicians and fans alike who have gone to punk shows did so against the wishes of their parents, teachers, and the world at large. Punk has always been associated with saying “fuck you” to the government, social norms, and all that is prissy in the world. What are the young punks of today saying? What are they against? If you peruse music websites and check out what the “trending” punk bands (and one has to cringe here) are saying, it appears the mantle long hoisted throughout the history of punk music has been dropped to the ground.
True punk is definitely dead.
Now, there are many punk bands that have “crossed over” to the mainstream, and some probably unwillingly, but it’s hard to turn down fame and fortune. Some have debated the worst thing that could have happened to Punk is Green Day. The band brought the genre to the mainstream like no other group before them and made Punk not only accepted, but embraced by the mainstream. This was never more evident than when the Ramones and the Talking Heads were accepted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, followed by the Clash in 2003 and the Sex Pistols in 2006. The very establishments punk once vehemently pushed against had assimilated them whole-heartedly. And thus, sealed their fate as no longer being an original and outcast genre.