In the space of 30+ years punk rock, both the music and the term, has taken as many guises as a Burmese lady boy. Once it was badge of rebellion, signaling defiance to institutions and the norm. These days it is on the wish list of some teen pop tarts alongside flowers in one’s hair.With the recent ABC series '7 Ages of Rock' this week exploring punk, and the upcoming Soundwave festival about to hit town, it's got me thinking of all things punk! Hey Ho Lets Go....into that idea some more.
I fell in love with punk rock as a teenager. It was my first music festival. Myself and another 2,223.6 advanced Bogans from the province of Geelong (the .6 was fire twirling midget of Colombian origin) attended the Vans Warped Tour, dubbed punk rock’s summer camp, which was ironic considering the weather because summer had definitely gone camping that day. The rain that fell caused what Geelong folk called ‘dirty grass’, also known as mud, to form over the grounds, a much useful tool later in the day.
It was punk rock 1997 style. Southern Californian melody, skateboarding, wallet chains and skate punks’ illegitimate child- Ska. To this day Ska and the associated dance form of skanking, remains on of my guilty pleasures, like rubbing marmalade on my eyebrows.
I saw some of the era’s classics that day including Pennywise, Reel Big Fish, The Vandals, Blink 182, Bodyjar and Germany’s finest Die Toten Hosen. The site of 40 something leather clad euro trash, strutting through a mosh pit of mud, explained to me in an instant why the Nazi’s shouldn’t and never would rule the world. Frenzal Rhomb threw out their CD’s in an attempt to get someone to actually own them. After a short manly mud wrestle with some stoners and two quick Steve Segal like elbows, I owned a copy of Frenzal classic ‘Punch in the Face’. By mid afternoon we had been audibly abused by 3-11, who made it quite clear what they thought of Geelong culture. The left after a 15 minute set with a complimentary serving of dirty grass to take back to Egoville, USA. By the end of the day I had maimed a security guard with mud in an attempt to get backstage, slid through mud slides with a pink g-stringed lead singer of The Vandals and improved my knowledge of dioreah and its affects on the human body, thanks to Blink 182. I well and truly wanted to be a punk rocker, minus the flowers in my hair.
10 years have now passed and the worlds a different place. Punk has changed, and I along with it. In Uni I really got into emo, before suburban lite-Goths and mainstream media took the term hostage, and gave it a sex change. The emo I knew and loved was all about Thursday, Get Up Kids, Indie clothes, poetic lyrics and janngly guitars and breakdowns, not uniform black, chemical romances, depression and hair straightners. This made me angry…real angry so I upsized to screamo and haven’t looked back- thanks Alexisonfire and your crazy Canadian ways! But I now realise that is what Punk Rock is all about. It’s about re-defining the genre and culture for your Generation, and 10 years on bag out those who come after you, and attempt to do the same thing. That is the true punk spirit!