I have always enjoyed Punk (the subculture) through the lens of an outsider. I barely listened to conventional punk music, I had a mohawk out of convenience more than a statement, and I have always carried my political views close to my heart but out of the ears of others.
Why do I mention political views? The punk scene has a large history of standing up to social issues and government rules.
The mohawk was fantastic, but I never wanted attention for it. I never wear the damned thing up, choosing to go with more of a combover look. The best part is that I can do it myself opting out of going to a salon or to a professional. My fiancé hates it. I tend to get hair all over the bathroom and I never seem to clean it well enough, if I do at all. The ‘hawk was paired with the 15 piercings I had at one time. I did all of this, but I recoiled in fear every time someone drew attention to it. I felt like a poser: I did not think of the statements that were attached to what I was doing but given the chance, I would do it all again.
I say “conventional punk music”, but I use the term lightly. Some would argue that there is a specific sound/mood to what punk should be. That (somewhat ironically) goes in the face of what punk is and stands for.
Looking at what punk used to be, it was a generation of people who couldn’t play their instruments protesting in broken song against the established mainstays of the music industry. It picked up momentum in the ’70s and ’80s, and broke into several sub-genres. In the ’70s, you had bands like The Clash and Exrospecs thrashing their instruments, and their voices. The ’80s saw the rise of Deathrock, Goth, and New Wave. All very different, all having a mainstream band for introductions for the masses.
Pop-punk in the early ’90s brought bands like Green Day, Offspring and Blink 182 into a revival of the punk feel. The message was kind of gone, but the formula of the writing was refined. The underground landscape changed and became both more complicated and more mainstream as time went on. With bands like Propagandhi and Choke carrying the Canadian scene, while NOFX concocted their own sound.
The 2000’s were both interesting and depressing. The Emo sound started to reign king and Pop-punk became more Pop than Punk. Not to be outdone by their more commercial counterparts, Skate Punk poked its head up around this time being fuelled by the video game market. ‘Screamo’ started to become more mainstream, as well: even though it really got it’s huge push by “The Shape Of Punk To Come” by Refused in 1999 and bands like Quicksand in the early ’90s.
This is roughly where I came in. I was never a huge punk fan until about 2007, and my “poison” was the atmosphere of Emo with the edge of Screamo. Bands like Farewell to Freeway and Caulfield in the underground paved the way for my love of Alexisonfire and The Reason (who was my first show around the release of Ravenna).
The explosion of acoustic instruments being used and abused in modern punk excites me to no end. There is also no-end to the labels that have been applied. One thing remains constant, however: punk is a protest with no clear goal. Some are ‘punk’ to rebel against social, political, and institution views. Others are just rebelling the state of music in todays mainstream. Regardless, the one thing I have learned from punk is love each other and respect each other.
GUESS WHAT DOESN’T MATTER?!
Fashion. I fucking hate that people hold it in such regard. Is there a Punk fashion? I guess, but it really just comes down to “wear what you want” most of the time.
I should probably state that I have no research put into this. That is probably clear.
I put the question of “..what does punk mean to you?” to FaceBook out of curiosity what people would say. If you follow me, I recommend reading what others have put. A couple of people just listed bands, which is always awesome, but Linda M. put a fantastic personal account of the classic Punk Scene and how everything used to be.
Also, Kyle W. put a fantastic definition up as well. Read those.
Actually, if either one of them are okay, I would like to post the comments on here in either a comment or as an edit. Let me know.