so I had to do a research paper on punk music last semester. it was just an annotated bib with an opinion section after. i really enjoyed writing the opinion section so i decided i was going to post it so here it is.
It all started at summer camp freshman year of high school. I was a little guy back then with not many friends. To this point of my life music wasn’t a big thing to me. I listened to some here and there but never had that connection personally. Then a friend was playing the New Found Glory album and I asked about it. To my surprised it opened a door into a whole new genre and experience with music. I connected to it, some of the songs and the lyrics it was like they were singing about me. Then came my first concert, NFG and H2O at The Electric Factory. And the obsession began and never faded, I still listen and go shows now at 34.
In the beginning of my research I thought punk music was a significantly new genre. I knew the Ramones started in the 70s but did not realize how much was done before them. Also, I did not know how the influence of punk spread from the US to Europe and back. I had listened and follow some bands that were politically charged but for the most part I listened to emo and emotional pop punk. Usually about girls that didn’t like me but I was infatuated with. It was cool to see how punk started as a political stance.
I had heard of bands like The Clash and the Sex Pistols but did not know much about them. To see how these bands started and how they become the voice for working class kids, kids like me that had trouble “making” it in the world. It really made me think back to lyrics of bands like The Offspring and Green Day, and I think I started to understand more what they were really talking about. They didn’t just have cool guitar rifts and drums but they also had a message.
One thing I found in my research that really stood out to me was all the subgenres of punk. To me there was hardcore, emo, pop, and ska. But to learn about Anarcho and Celtic punk was new to me. I have heard of bands like Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphy’s but was not aware they had their own subgenre. I knew there was an Irish twist to it but had no idea that it incorporated Irish traditions and instruments. Cowpunk, which is a cross between country and punk is something that I have never heard of. But it’s real, and I may even take a listen one day. A cross between old country and honky tonk bands and with a harder punk edge is a wild concept to me, but you learn something new every day.
It was cool to read about how fashion and punk went hand in hand. Growing up in the punk scene I thought I was just wearing clothes, band t shirts and jeans. I never wore the black leather jacket but I had friends who could pull it off. No idea that was a trend started in the 70s by The Ramones. Knowing that punk fashion, spread from the US to Europe and other parts of the world is crazy to me. I was just a kid wearing what my favorite bands wore. I had no idea the influence it had all over the world.
My favorite part of researching the genre is the steady theme of attitude that comes along with punk music. It really does stand up to its name: PUNK! I loved the “we don’t care attitude” that came with punk rock. And reading and learning about its origins and how CNN wrote articles about how much it was hated and how it shocked the world, almost gave me a sense of pride. I loved that edge that came with the music and the lifestyle. I liked learning that it started in the 70 and was promoted with danger. Reading the quote from the CNN article about it promoting nothing but violence, sex, and destruction, and I imagine some snotty stuck up suit and tie writing it. And then I picture a young me with 2 middle fingers raised in a pit surrounded by a bunch of sweaty stupid kids dancing, moshing, and just having fun. Then I can see that edge, danger, and attitude that started with early version of punk and lasted throughout the years.
Punk music has left a major imprint on my life. As I sit here, writing this paper, headphones in ears listening to Senses Fail, wearing a Senses Fail tour shirt I realize how much of an impact it actually had on me. Punk isn’t just a type of music, its an attitude, a look, and a lifestyle. my favorite part of researching was seeing how the pioneers of punk were almost just like me. A bunch of kids looking for something new, looking for a voice, looking for a connection and I’m glad they found it. Because if they didn’t find it, I would have never been sitting in that cabin listening to my first punk album, and I don’t think my life would have ended up the same.
In my research, in the CNN article Punk Shocks the World it references a Time article and quote about punk music from the 1970s. I fell in love with this quote. This quote from the 70s still holds true today:
“In Tokyo, Chicago and Paris, kids are bumping, grinding, loving, hating, wailing to the loud, raucous, often brutal sounds of punk rock… Musicians and listeners strut around in deliberately torn T shirts and jeans; ideally, the rips should be joined with safety pins…. the hair is often heavily greased and swept up into a coxcomb of blue, orange or green, or a comely two-tone … The music aims for the gut.”