Feature: Punk Ethics

Originally written 09/28/2005

About a year ago, I got one of my favorite compliments I’ve ever gotten. “You’re probably one of the most punk rock people I know” – Scott Beggs. He went on to explain that although I’ve never dressed punk, and selectively listened to punk, it was more my attitude and outlook on things that made me punk rock. I love that compliment.

I remember this one night, The Record Lounge, which was my record store that was attached to The Engine Room in Fort Worth, this gutter-punk kid stands in my doorway (did I mention drunk-ass gutter punk kid?), pissing on my floor, all the while calling me a “capitalist-pig-f*cking-bastard”. As the cops took him away, much to the chagrin of the gutter-punk army that had attended (snuck-into) The Vandals show that night, I came to the conclusion that I was nearing the end of my run as an independent businessman. I still hate The Vandals to this day. Circumstantial, I know. But I just wanted to ask the kid, who, more than likely, lived off daddy’s big money to buy the clothes to rip up and sew/safety pin patches onto, “Kid, how much more punk rock is opening a record store on a $3,000 budget?” You drive a nicer car than I do. You make your cool zine on the computer that daddy bought you. The love hate relationship I had with the gutter-punks in the Fort during this time was just wonderful. I loved the music, but hated them with a passion. And vice versa.

In the past week, I’ve watched both Hype! and Punk:Attitude. These are such great documents of their subjects, grunge era Seattle, and the history of punk rock, respectively. This further drove home everything wrong with music today. These people made music to make music, to have the release, to share something with people, no matter how many listened. Although it was probably a very faint fantasy, getting signed to a major, it wasn’t the end all be all goal for all of them. If it happened, it happened. If not, oh well, we’ll just keep making records and playing shows for the 12 people who like us.

I know I’m flogging a dead horse that’s been flogged many times by myself and millions by others, but it just gets to me. And I don’t hate major labels, I just don’t really care too much for the giant multi-national gobbling up everything in its path, the entire corporate world for that matter. It feels cliché to me to say “Corporate Punk Sucks”, but man, it does. I get the feeling of some sort of studio-enhanced angst, or a portrayal of anger. What does a band like Brand New have to be pissed about? Good Charlotte? It’s the equivalent of the Black-Eyed-Peas… punk for soccer moms. “Ooohhhh, Sheryl’s living on the edge over there, listening to Something Corporate” (how aptly named), “She’s so WILD.” I can just see the singer from the jaw-droppingly horrible Switchfoot being all pissed off about his tour bus, and what time they have to play Disney World, and his giant advance. How safe does rock have to get?

It’s all a sad state of affairs when Burleson’s own original American Idol Kelly Clarkson out punks the “punk” bands at the MTV VMA’s this year. She was punk rock, without the moniker, without the posturing, nothing. She went out and ROCKED. It put Green Day and My Chemical Romance to shame. I hope they took notes (reckless abandon, that works) because they both needed anything to pull them up out of the crap-hole they’d both dug that night.

Then there was the night the dumbasses, I will not name names, as I do remember his name, he was the most dumbass of them, all-a real Johnny-Come-Lately, they were all jumping up and down on mine and and a friend’s vehicles outside The Engine Room one Wednesday night. Then, after chasing them off, the before-mentioned dumbass ripped my antenna off my Jeep. Thanks.

And that kid, who pissed on my floor, before being hauled off, he wiped up the floor with his shirt, and then, licked up the rest. Classy

This war with these idiots, and leveling business were the deciding factors in shutting the doors. I probably could’ve withstood the decline in the Engine Room’s shows, and attendance, but I was done with the gutter-punks.

This is all water under the bridge for me now, just stories and past history. I hold no real ill-will towards those kids, It’s all over said and done.

But, if you do have the chance, watch both Punk: Attitude and Hype!, preferably back to back, not only for a 1st rate education of punk, but the ethics behind it all as well. It’ll all make sense.

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~ by thesynaptic on August 8, 2010.

One Response to “Feature: Punk Ethics”

  1. I understand how you feel. I can’t stand how the entire point of punk has changed with the newer generations and I hardly see any Riot Grrrl’s out there. I’m 21 and I grew up with “punks” and “goths” who don’t even realize what it’s all about. To them, it’s a fad, a fashion accessory. I finally decided to find the origins of both punk and goth and I prefer them to what people make them out to be today.

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