Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Punk Rock then and now

With apologies to certain friends.

This is pretty much what punk rock was like when I first started going to shows. You might notice that the music sucks. In fact the only thing that sucked worse than early punk rock was EVERY FUCKING THING ELSE. Few people realize what a dark and dismal time the '70's were. Old people like myself tend to gloss over the horrors of the '70's because all we can remember is that we could and did have lots of sex and did not have to worry about wearing rubbers or dying because we got laid. Bands like the Mutants have not stood the test of time but so what? When some perfectly permed and bell bottomed asshole with a mustache would complain that The Mutants didn't measure up to The Eagles or America I would gleefully respond, "Yeah, they're fuckin' awful. That's why we love them so!"

This was before the invention of Hardcore Punk. You'll notice that there are lots of girls in the audience. Lots of fellows who might just be homos too. Early punk rock scared the shit out of some people because it was a scene for creeps and losers and outcasts. There weren't many rules for aspiring punk rockers to follow. You had to show up and make it up as you went along.

Hardcore took care of all of those problems. Punk rules! And regulations! became the order of the day. Hardcore was OK at first. Really it was, but it got pretty boring pretty quick. Pretty soon hardcore bands had to be "tight". Like the Tower of Power horn section. Hardcore was also about angry heterosexual white boys- exclusively. Some heterosexual white boys have reasons to be angry that aren't completely idiotic. There are a lot of people who have way more reason to be angry though. They tend to keep it to themselves or end up in prison.

I'll have to admit that I also disliked Hardcore because it reminded me that I was getting old. I was broke and my teeth were broken and giving me a lot of pain. I had to come up with a grownup type plan. I spent much of the Hardcore era driving sixty or eighty thousand miles a year. When my bus was empty I listened to rap music, Dwight Yoakam and Steve Earle. I didn't worry too much about punk rock. I found a dentist.

So now we're into what, the fifth, sixth wave of punk rock? Once punk rock was safe for heterosexual white men it just kept getting safer. Some years ago, I was chatting with my stepdaughter's baby sitter. She was a nice young woman. I had no misgivings about leaving the kid in her care. She was a devout Mormon. She told me that she was a big fan of music. I asked her what kind of music she liked best. She told me her favorite music was punk rock. "Have you ever heard any punk bands?" she asked me. I asked her the names of her favorite bands. I hadn't heard of any of them, but I checked them out. They were all these sort of boy bands with perfect tattoos and shiny tour buses. They were working a regular circuit of corporate venues playing note for note perfect versions of their big hits.

The SF public library is doing a film series and exhibit about the early, pre HC, punk scene. Some of my friends are looking forward to going and looking for their youthful selves in the crowd.

Meanwhile the kids are carrying on the punk rock tradition in new form. Check the video below. I love when the kids in the mosh pit do the thing where they all wave their pom poms. Rock on



Red Simpson was practically a punk rock motherfucker. He didn't like hippies anyway.

I'm A Truck- Red Simpson (Buy)

Roll Truck Roll- Red Simpson (Buy)

I went up Feather River Canyon a few times. It's pretty slow and a little bit hairy in places but prettier than Donner Summit. I-80 is for pussies.

3 comments:

Nazz Nomad said...

I heartily second everything you wrote here about punk rock. Especialy the hardcore observations.


Except for the broken teeth.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Us rotten old punkrockers have fit into society but we seem to have fitted into it differently than most everybody else. Perhaps we are struck with the going to the moon effect the old astronauts got. You know, having had an experience or two not many people have shared. Our moon was just populated by a lot of people with real bad hair-dos.

Jon said...

My teeth were broken because I inherited a set of lousy teeth from my mother. I didn't help matters by throwing up all the damn time either. Bad for teeth. The broken teeth had nothing to do with punk rock. I do recall that many a good night ended in the emergency room. You just hadn't been to a good show if you woke up pain free the next day. Always fun to run into a friend in the ER.

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