Evolving from garage bands of the early 1970’s, urban industrial working class citizens began expressing their political and anti-establishment angst. Punk Rock defined itself with less emphasis on music quality, and more emphasis on speed and shorter songs. Just as urgent anger can drive a worker to finish a job faster, anger is released in punk rock as an urgent call to pay attention, to celebrate the moment, to seize-the-day, or just-do-it!
1976 is seen as a pivotal year for Punk Bands like the Ramones, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, etc. Being ‘Punk Rock’ means practicing any non-conforming or socially shocking vocals or physical behaviors. Punk Rock physical behaviors include looking or strange and/or acting illogical. Punk Rockers look different by wearing improvised and socially rejected attire and hair cuts. Although the shock value of Punk Rock is communicated by audio, visual, and physical modes, the underlying principles of Punk Rock are actually breaking through to alternative thoughts.
Into the 1980’s and 90’s Punk Rock subcultures were often fierce and divided. Punk Subcultures are defined either by their own style, or an associated genre: Rockabilly, Thrash, Surfer, Skin Head, Straightedge, Skater, Ska, Oi, Celtic Punk, Goth, Gutterpunk, Glam Fashion and Big Hair. Informal urban tribal gangs as audio based social movements. True Punk tends toward aggressive rebel anarchism.
Pop Rock (Popular Punk Rock) existed from the beginning with elements seen in New Wave bands, and artificial bands created by producers. Pop Rock continued using Punk Rock into the 1990’s with The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Mighty Mighty Bostons, Green Day, The Offspring, and other bands popular at colleges.
In the 21st Century a Pop-Emo appreciation of The Cure and Radiohead produced many new bands based on moody, sad personal emotions; with less emphasis on group hardcore resistance to established norms. Punk Bands like Bad Religion continue to express paradoxes in themselves and civilization, loud and proud.
Punk Rock is freedom of thought and expression in music; which extends and resonates through all the arts of life. Punk Rock has certain modern stylistic trends that identify it for labeling (for example as a similar but separate tradition from Acid Jazz); however punk as a philosophy can also be used for any anarchistic revolutionary action, look, or behavior.
“A righteous student came and asked me to reflect
He judged my lifestyle was politically incorrect
I don’t believe in self important folks who preach
No Bad Religion song can make your life complete
Prepare for rejection
You’ll get no direction from me
You’ll get no direction from me
You’ll get no direction from me”
– from “No Direction” by Bad Religion
“a sense of self-definition and also sort of playing music for music’s sake and being part of a family for family’s sake.”
– Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat, Fugazi)
“Punk rock is just another word for freedom.”
– Patti Smith
“Undermine their pompous authority, reject their moral standards, make anarchy and disorder your trademarks. Cause as much chaos and disruption as possible but don’t let them take you alive.”
– Sid Vicious