“We’re the 1% who don’t fit & don’t care!”–Sid Vicious quoting Malcolm McLaren quoting Hunter S. Thompson speaking for a Hells Angel

When I was growing up Punk was futuristic — The Future Was Punk.  As the previous fabric of society fell apart — we would have to safety pin it back together or make a new one out of leather, studs, fishnets & glue.  The goal wasn’t to carry our old bullshit with us into this future where we’d have to be strong — we would throw away all the old shit & everything new would be Punk.  The point wasn’t to fix society — society was already fucked — we were supposed to survive & do our own thing in our own places.  We were Pirates, rebels, renegades, outsiders by our very nature.  Punk philosophy was inspired by Italian Futurism & the Situationists — it was about action & antagonism & anxiety & amphetamines.  It was about energy, angularity, anarchy & acid.  This is still what Punk is — but the thing is that Punk is constantly co-opted by outside organizations & interests that want to use the energy of Punk to advance their own agenda.  This is why hyphenated Punk is always suspect — it is cut with impurities — the red-hot core of Punk is almost too hot to handle, it burns twice as fast the ordinary candle & on both sides  — it can & probably will kill you.  So a little goes a long way & people throw it into what they’re doing like MSG.  <a href=””>PORK</a&gt; is about the real deal & Chris Pittman lays it out with this controversial piece.

“Among the Dead Cities” by Chris Pittman

PUNK IS DEAD if it cannot articulate any stance that is markedly different from the mainstream-approved stance on the same issue.
PUNK IS DEAD If the politics of this movement exactly mirror those of the most popular mainstream politicians.
PUNK IS DEAD if it no longer has a place for a young person who wants to spray paint the walls, to knock things down, to create hell and get away with it.
PUNK IS DEAD if it rejects Chaos in favor of being the enforcers of a moral code.
PUNK IS DEAD if the things Punks once did to provoke or to shock those with mainstream cultural norms, now elicit the same reaction from “Punks,” as from church leaders.
PUNK IS DEAD if it puts more emphasis on censoring artists than on an ethos of “say what you want to say.”
PUNK IS DEAD if every “underground” show is on YouTube and Instagram before the show even ends.
PUNK IS DEAD if it no longer has any appeal to teenagers who are angry at the world and are eager to tell people that.
PUNK IS DEAD if it is a youth subculture that is dominated by sets of rules and morals dictated by people who got involved when they were already adults.
PUNK IS DEAD if the wellspring of credibility is your gender, skin color, or sexual orientation, rather than your sincerity, experience, dedication and commitment.
PUNK IS DEAD if having any expectation whatsoever of others aligned with this movement is condemned as “elitist.”
PUNK IS DEAD if the genitalia of a band’s members are more important than the music they make.
PUNK LIVES as long as there is one person left alive who doesn’t care what others think.  Who doesn’t care if the cool kids don’t want to play with their band.  Who has the courage to go against the mainstream, to speak their mind, to engage with people outside of their comfort zones and expose the dangerous truths.
PUNK LIVES when it is bold enough, audacious enough, underground enough, to appeal to Generation Z, the way it appealed to Generation X.
PUNK LIVES when it is counter-culture, anti-social, and a place for outcasts.
PUNK’S NOT DEAD!  One of the early things you’ve got to face down when you’re permanently locked into a subculture that was never intended to last & you’re supposed to have grown up 20 years ago is that you’ve got to accept the permanent nature of your cultural allegiances & you’ve got to allow for enough flexibility in those allegiances to survive wherever you end up without becoming so wishy washy that there’s no reason to continue the cultural rituals.  And — as you survive to an age that you never thought possible & figure out life in ways that a 19 year old alcoholic never could, your cultural allegiances will advance into places you never imagined.  You also have to be able to have the conversations about this stuff because no two people have the same way of looking at this thing — which is ultimately about the way it affects them individually.  It’s worth it.


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