Archive for the ‘punk’ Category

Punk vs. HipHop: Music for F*ckups

Posted: October 27, 2015 in punk
Tags: , ,

It occurred to me this morning, as two songs simultaneously rattled around my head, it occurred to me how differently punk and hip hop treat pre-achievement status.  You know – making mistakes, being unsuccessful.  It seems to me most hip-hop (and of course, I’m generalizing here – my knowledge of hip-hop is mostly surface, so I’m going on what I’ve heard on the radio and from friends) is built to glorify the time after achievement.  For example:

This contrasts with many punk songs, which are focused on the time before success – the fighting, the struggle, the mistakes.  For example:

(and I recommend The Overton Window by Frank White)

Punk rock is the fight song; hip-hop is the afterglow.

I think it might be easier to find a punk song speaking to how you feel at this moment rather than how you wish you were feeling.  As I recall, this is the reason so many people freaked out about Linkin Park after Columbine – a rock band was unapologetically screaming all the angst teenagers usually cover up.

When I listen to hip-hop, I sometimes get depressed because I haven’t yet “made it.”  I’m not at the top yet.  I don’t feel like I can look down at haters, or feel like I can sit back.  How can a teenager relate to a millionaire rapping about his gold chains, or Nikki Minaj shitting on her haters?

Punk speaks to my anger, the fact that every day is still a struggle.  I wonder if it’s changed as I’ve gotten older; do younger people need that affirmation, that understanding that they can (eventually) make it? Is it because hip-hop never minded going for the gold, where punks are embarrassed by success?  Or does “making it” become the end all be all, forgetting that our struggles, mistakes and trials are also important and make us who we are, even as we’re struggling?

We’ll end with 7Seconds, who said it best.  We walk together – why can’t we rock together.

my life goal.

Okay, let’s start with real talk.  I’m old to like the music I like.  I’m almost 30.

This isn’t me yelling at “these kids today” because (a) that’s baloney, and (b) I still kind of feel like one of those kids, even at the aforementioned age.

I went to two amazing shows this past week, and was struck by the differences between them.  Saturday we saw Attila, and on Tuesday I was lucky enough to see The Ghost Inside, Hundredth and Architects (lesser importance: Every Time I Die).  Differences between the two shows were striking.

Attila is a band I’ve written about before, because I’m conflicted about liking them, a conflict which increased on Saturday.  Attila is sexist and frequently awful.  Before the band even stepped onstage, there were three bras draped on the microphone stands; throughout the show, the lead singer kept asking for bras and yelling he “needed to see some titties.”  Before the band’s encore, he lamented “all I wanted today was a blow job, and there was a stripper backstage ready to give me one, but I heard you yelling so you better make this worth it.”

Tuesday’s show was a completely different story onstage; I love TGI because they write about social issues and are fairly positive; its this band that started me on the positive hardcore path.  Most of their songs encourage their listeners to show bravery and courage, to keep fighting, to contribute to society and fight injustice.

The crowds at the two shows, to me, did not match what was onstage.  Attila had more girls and women in the crowd, that I could see.  Attila’s pit was less organized, but also less violent.  I danced around a bit (not easy for an old biddy) and wasn’t punched in the face.  I fell down and people helped me up.

I decided that Tuesday’s pit was more violent because the fans take themselves and the band more seriously.  I only saw men in the pit (an anomaly these days) and the dancing was more what I see these days – an open pit, with spinning karate kicks, wild punches from side to side.  I saw three people fall and not get helped up (a serious breach of etiquette).  The people on the edges of the pit (usually my favorite place to watch a show) weren’t smiling; they had strong arms straight out, attempting to keep the dancers moshing at bay.  This wasn’t a place to be with your own kind of people, go off a bit, and enjoy an amazing band.  This looked like a grudge match.  This did not look like fun – it looked like serious business.

I want my favorite bands to take a cue from 7 Seconds, or NOFX, or Stick To Your Guns, or any of the dozens of amazing punk and hardcore bands who have wild, uncontrolled mosh pits, but make a point to encourage their fans to take care of each other, have fun and be mindful.  The first goal in a mosh pit shouldn’t be to kick the shit out of someone – it should be to let out your aggression and frustration, while allowing people in your tribe to do the same.


Not too long ago, I heard an amazing episode of “On the Media”, broadcast on NPR.  They talked about nihilism, mostly throughout history, although addressing some feelings that our collective society has gone to hell, that nihilism is on the rise.

I’ve never been a nihilist (another reason I’ve been a mediocre punk) because I think people caring is the only reason to keep going; doing good for each other, informing yourself and others, keeping the world in mind is a force, one I’ve never completely lost faith in.

However, this episode talked about the idea of “political nihilism“, when one stops caring about politics in society, feeling its meaningless to care, because no change is possible.  I feel this way more and more.

come on, who’s going to win this one?




It used to be that if you didn’t listen to a band, it was generally because their music sucked.

I’m getting really tired of not being able to listen to my favorite bands because the members are dickbags.


First, As I Lay Dying singer Tim Lambis hired a hit man to murder his wife.  Sucks, man. Not to mention the response on twitter, mostly focused on how she deserved it.

haha, his shirt says honour. this is what we call “irony.”

Then, Casualties singer Jorge Herrera was accused of sexual assault.

hunh. imagine that.

Now I’m hearing a guitarist in pop punk band New Found Glory was accused of lewd acts with a minor and had child porn.

this guy can’t get an adult woman into bed? the horror!

It’s been a hell of a year, and I’m sure it’s not only this year. In fact, I’m sure it’s not only these bands – these are just the ones who were caught, who were publicly caught, who couldn’t intimidate and settle out of court. But this is a manifestation of the culture we’ve been talking about for the longest. (One where the assault survivor has to write a piece stating her bodily integrity is worth more than a crappy punk band.  Really.)

see? at least an hour in the morning just for the hair.

Now, real talk – the Casualties are not that great. One of the people who first introduced me to skinhead oi told me they were the definition of poseurs, and asked me how long I thought it took for them to put all the studs in their jackets and do their Mohawks in the morning. I did enjoy me some tunes from On the Front Line, though.

New Found Glory was the soundtrack to my high school years (yes, I had terrible taste at 16. Shut up). I still pull out their self-titled CD when I’m feeling extra energized and need mindless tunes with the windows rolled down.

As I Lay Dying was one of the first metal bands I listened to and liked; I mean, come on – Distance is Darkness? The Darkest Nights? These are some excellent tunes. And they were great live – I paid some of my hard earned money to see them. And these dicks are talking about being a Christian band? The same ones who demean women and value the lives of their wives so little to hire someone to kill her, rather than getting a divorce or eating cold pot roast without complaint like normal people?

this fuckin’ guy

That’s the thing. I cannot support these groups that don’t place importance on people’s rights. Playing the guitar does not immunize you from being an asshole and doing terrible things, any more than dunking a basketball, running a pass or batting a strike does. It still takes me a little bit of rationalization to enjoy stuff from Attila (who talk about fucking bitches and removing the pussy from your life) or Leftover Crack (who glorify drug use and killing cops while being a strong voice against war and discrimination against LGBT folks).

I’m really tired of having to decide what music to enjoy based on who is the least terrible person. I’m tired of hearing 10 bands be crappy to women with only one yelling about treating people like people. I’m tired of going to shows where I only see one woman in lineups of 5 bands and all I hear about is her tits. If we can boycott baseball games because of assault charges, if we can fire Kobe for raping a woman, if we can impeach politicians for unconscionable conduct, surely we can find some good bands in this damn subculture of ours who can act like they care about the other 50% of human beings.

Step it up, bands. Step it up, fans. Don’t support music that demeans you. Don’t buy albums that recognize only dudes as awesome and worthy. Don’t go to shows where bands are known for taking minors backstage and doing whatever they want. This is our damn culture – we don’t have to buy into anything they’re selling us. At the end of the day, that’s the point.

remember them?!

i started exercising when i was in high school, running in the summertime.  it coincided with my introduction to hardcore, most notably the [kick ass] band Walls of Jericho.

i would run and dream about someday meeting the bands i would listen to, explaining how their music had inspired me to exercise, and of course, lose 60 pounds or so.

ah, youth.

i was thinking about this today; i was running on a beach, which is not my normal place nor my favorite pastime.  i hate sand and hate the ocean, but that’s not pertinent for our purposes today.  read more and be inspired!


pizza and pbr

Posted: March 8, 2014 in punk
Tags: , ,

So last week we discussed a bit about how punk tends to objectify and glorify women who (generally) fit into our cultural standard of beauty (white, thin, young).  This is obviously a broad generalization and not true in all cases, but the vast majority.  (side note: if someone can tell me statistically that this is incorrect I would honestly love you forever).  I want punk to be different.  But it’s really not.

fat mike…really not that fat

When I was in college we’d have small shows and parties in basements of the cool scene kids in my town.  It was a lot like high school with a different coolness hierarchy.  The coolest kids were the ones that didn’t like their minimum wage jobs (or didn’t have one), dressed in black clothes with patches all over them, painted their own leather jackets, and seemed to live on PBR, weed and pizza.


I had the most trouble with the last part of this (although really, if I painted my own jacket it’d look like a child’s painting during a spasm).  Eating nothing but carbohydrates and drinking 15 beers a night is really not good for anyone, but is only visible on those of us with metabolisms more closely resembling a snail moving on hot asphalt.  Even though I knew this, instinctively (and because like, come on, at this point I was a professional dieter), I still couldn’t get why some people stayed thin.

except for this guy

It’s a lot of the same shit.  Women are supposed to be thin while still doing crazily unhealthy (and calorieific) things (and not showing effort, of course, it’s supposed to be natural).  PBR has as many calories per can as two apples, or a serving of almonds, or a greek yogurt.  To drink 15 PBRs is as many calories as a day’s worth of food, and that’s without any food.  Which is really not the best idea for your body, although it leads to a short and sweet drunken time.

Women have an even harder time wit ze boozes.  We metabolize food differently (immortalized in those ever classy SlimQuick ads) and of course this also translates into how many Jamo shots are going to lead to antics.  For us ladies only, of course; we all know real men can hold their booze!  (hahahaha just kidding, but we’ll maybe talk about that later)  The only way to stay thin would be to only drink.  And not eat.  Or to have a kick ass metabolism (which  90% is really not up   to you, it’s your dang parents!  Thanks mom!).  Or to throw up everything you put in your body.

More than anything, it’s the hypocrisy that is bothersome.  Don’t say you’re subculture or anti-culture, then fucking put the same unrealistic stuff on a pedestal to be achieved.  Fuck eating disorders, fuck ideals, fuck all the people who celebrate alternative ideals of beauty, which look a great deal like the old ones (I’m looking at you, Suicide Girls!).  This aggression will not stand, man.