Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Punk rock died when the first kid said: "Punk's not dead..."



The explosive, belching roar is so imposing at first, causes you to hunch your shoulders, disorients you, impresses you...until it crackles away all too suddenly, a fleeting echo dispersing... ebbing.

Call me a romantic, but, like a fine summer night's rolling thunderstorm, I think we can be similarly enchanted with the brutish dynamism of things like, say, punk rock.

And, these last few days, I've been trying to remind myself about what that is, or rather, what that should still be. What does it (...'punk,') mean, anymore?

I want to tell you about the wads of mucus intermittently jettisoned from Shawn's mouth every six lyrics or so, or about the way Steve spasms his way away from the microphone, wriggling his way out into the crowd as though his long brown curls had transformed into serpents and he was trying to de-fang them with his hands whilst pugnaciously serenading them away with a yowled melody...
I want to tell you about Sheefy's audacious disregard for his own well-being by jumping off of walls and falling onto floors that are already soaked with beer while he holds a live microphone to his mouth. I want to tell you about cops busting in doors and pulling amplifier plugs or about Ryan drumming in a cramped and already cluttered rectangular room near the kitchen with only about five people in the "audience."

Why limit yourself to such passe adjectives: "Dude, this is so 'punk-rock...'"

Somewhere in this last decade, Punk rock become just another Wikipedia page; all but tamed into stale compartmentalization, or something like a now-lifeless wolf, frozen in its last growl, mounted on the walls of taxidermist executive-types who knew how to sell it for a year or two until it was exposed as more sheep-than-anything-else.

The real punk rockers don't know (or never knew) that they're doing it.
Influence is deceptive. If you're ready to say you're influenced by Radiohead, then wouldn't it be more purist-of-you to dig deeper and find out who influenced Radiohead? And subsequently worship/study/mimic 'them' more-so?

I have only a minimal (-say it again, minimal) inkling of the nuances of the songwriter's experience... But if it's anything (say it again, anything), like writing-about-music, then I'm sure it's quite difficult not to refer...

Refer back to what's come before... 'This Musician's current sound and style' is demonstrating behaviors and flavors and manners that seem to recall what 'This-other-Musician had done just a few years earlier with this-other-quasi-style/approach-that-was-also-thereby-mined-and-manipulated-by-a-whole-other-scene of songwriters.'

Put another way: This band has elements of "punk."

Well... give me more!

I don't want music journalism to be so lazy, anymore. (Did the internet make that hopeless?)

But...set that aside.

Here's the point: One hurried shuffle through any drug-store will wrought disturbing revelations into your ears - that the world is so numb that they think the drivel peddled on outlets such as 96.3 is actually legitimate pop music that thereby must be enjoyed.

Do I react (retch) to Bruno Mars' song about getting up one ideally-ignorant-boosting morning and deciding that he's "not doing anything" the same way that some (perhaps old fuddies from 1959 who yelled at stick-ball-playing tikes to stay-the-hell-off-his-lawn) might have turned their noses at the Silhouette's song "Get A Job (Sha-na-na)" (...which is now revered, if just in a quaint-PBS-580-memories-nostalgic sense as quintessential "doo-wop" and thereby "classic").

And worse - all the people here, in this drug store purgatory are singing along! Singing along to a song about not-doing-anything. This stirs up doomsday-paranoia in me matching that of soylent-green-pod-people-type levels.

Here's the final point: It makes me all the more glad to be at the edge of a stage (these stages, our stages) and have a musician fall off of it, and on to me. Or to be shoved from behind when a Kommie Kilpatrick song reaches it's third chorus (in under 58 seconds). Or to get goosebumps when Dan Kroha belts out a blood-curdling traditional gospel ballad under a summer night's sky.

To be here. To see and experience all of this...

It's just like that thunder-clasp... (call me romantic).
When it happens, I feel electrified. When the moment's passed, it seems to echo with a fading crackle. The audience regains composer, stands back up, looks around, rubs their ears.

Walking through drug stores and hearing the music they blare day in, day out, makes me want to go storm chasing.

Writing about music is a delicate act and needs to be respected as such; it should happen as soon as possible after the writer is struck by that metaphoric lightning -

If it lingers too long, you just start reaching back to the storms of your past, the big tornadoes you keep telling stories about, the ones that everyone remembers best (like 70's 'punk').

Don't discount the storm from which you just dried off - maybe it does have elements of "punk," but it's got to have an element all it's own. Doesn't it?

You just have to make sure you listened to it's distinctive belching-roar, closely enough.

Well...'s stopped raining for now. G'night

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