F— punk

VANCOUVER (CUP) – Now, I understand the significance of the Sex Pistols, musically. They created a new sound that was edgy, abrasive and took all remaining preconceptions of what a musician or a band was, chewed them up, and vomited them back out. The only problem – in my opinion anyway – is that in the thirty years since it was birthed on the streets of London, punk has done little to grow, diversify, or actually do anything about the problems it has made a living off of pointing out to disenfranchised kids.

VANCOUVER (CUP) – Now, I understand the significance of the Sex Pistols, musically. They created a new sound that was edgy, abrasive and took all remaining preconceptions of what a musician or a band was, chewed them up, and vomited them back out. The only problem – in my opinion anyway – is that in the thirty years since it was birthed on the streets of London, punk has done little to grow, diversify, or actually do anything about the problems it has made a living off of pointing out to disenfranchised kids. In fact, it has been so co-opted and watered down that it’s even difficult to determine what would constitute “selling out” anymore.
My biggest problem with punk bands over the years is that they have been the most prolific perpetrators of one of my least favourite cultural crimes: outlining and complaining endlessly about political and social problems through song and then doing absolutely sweet f—-all to actually solve them.
The number of punk musicians who have actually become directly involved in a cause is pathetically small compared to the number who simply strut around onstage singing empty lyrics like “f— authority”. When you’re getting outdone by Bono, you know you’re in trouble. And if you’re going to just keep playing that same chord (I mean this both metaphorically and literally), at least push your genre to evolve so you can reach new people with the message, in hopes that they will do more than just get high and sit around complaining about war and the police. But no, instead of doing this, punk stagnated, became more palatable to more people, and was then neutered and turned into the newest form of pop rock.
And what was the response to this by those who opposed pop-punk? You guessed it, the same old three-chord, two-minute, screamy songs complaining about how so-and-so had sold out. Hey, at least the ones who sold out make enough money that they can probably afford to give some to charity, instead of spending all their time grabbing used couches out of people’s back alleys.
My message here is that it takes more than a poorly tuned guitar, a lack of musical talent and a total disregard for your vocal chords to make change in the world. It also takes more than a can of spray-paint and a skateboard, because the only people who will absorb the message are those who already agree with you.
You have to actually do something. Join a political group, go to a faraway country and volunteer, or – god forbid – actually get involved in politics. Want to know why you think the government sucks so much? Because everyone who agrees with your perspective is too busy complaining about the government, getting high, and “rebelling” by buying the latest from Sum 41 to do anything about it.
Some 30 odd years ago, when Johnny Rotten was yelling to a rabid crowd that he was an anarchist, he probably believed it. But after all this time, a best-selling book, tons of financial gain, and recently agreeing to sell the Sex Pistols back catalogue to Universal Music, can we really believe that it is still so? When even the founding fathers are selling out, it’s time to take things in a new direction. Redefine the music, redefine the lifestyle, and redefine the call to action.
Prove me wrong punk, prove me wrong.

Total
0
Shares
Previous Article

Online exclusive articles coming soon!

Next Article

Artists Against Apartheid

Related Posts