Punk Rock music is an anti-establishment music movement that began around 1974-1975. It can also be used to describe subsequent music scenes that share key characteristics with those first-generation “punks.” It is often applied loosely to mean any band with “attitude” or “youthful aggression.” Punk Rock is sometimes applied to the fashions or the irreverent “do it yourself” attitude associated with this musical movement.
Bands that helped make the genre of punk rock what it is today are The Ramones, The Saints, The Sex Pistols, The Damned, and The Clash. The “punk” title was applied to these groups by early 1976, when Punk Magazine first appeared in print and on newspaper stands across America.
While punk rock music had a decline in the 1980’s, many sub-genres branched off playing their own interpretation of “punk rock.” The United States saw the emergence of hardcore punk. Some early hardcore punk bands included Minor Threat, The Dead Kennedy’s, and Black Flag.
Many of the punk rock bands of today were influenced by rock ‘n roll. In the early to mid 1990’s, punk rock was characterized by the scene at 924 Gilman Street, a venue in Berkeley, California. This venue featured some of today’s biggest bands including Rancid, AFI, and Green Day. These artists have also influenced some of the modern punk rock bands including Good Charlotte and Simple Plan.
The late 1990’s saw a revival of skater punk rock music. This revival is continuing into the 2000’s with bands like Streetflight Manifesto, Reel Big Fish, and Less than Jake. There is still a thriving punk scene in North America, Japan and Europe.
Many punk bands take political stands like the bands that came before them did. The political ascendancy of George W. Bush and Tony Blair have inspired both songs and political action, such as Green Day’s album, “American Idiot.” This action also inspired the Rock against Bush movement, which can be compared to the original rage at Reagan and Thatcher.
The opinion of punk rock music differs from person to person. Some people are for it, and some people can’t stand it.
According to Melissa Salerno, a punk rock advocate, punk rock music helps people deal with life. “If you have a bad day at school or work, and you go home and listen to one of your favorite punk bands, you become less stressed and feel better about life in general. At least I do anyway.”
However, not everybody feels this strongly about punk rock music. According to Bonnie Chechele, an punk rock critic, punk rock music is loud, annoying, and pointless. “It makes me proud to be a fan of country music because any time I hear “that” music, I cringe. It literally makes me sick. People screaming and jumping around like idiots. I absolutely hate it.
So as you can see, the opinion of punk rock music is very different depending on who you ask. Some people love it. Others don’t. One thing I think is safe to say. Punk rock music isn’t going away anytime soon. So Americans can listen to this music if they choose to, and if they don’t want to they can just turn it off.
Chechele, Bonnie. Personal Interview. 15 Mar 2006.
Klozier, Lane. “Brew City Sludge.” Maximum Ink Music Magazine 06 Feb 2006:91-92.
“Punk Music Community: Punk News.” 15 Mar 2006. Punk Music Dot Com
Salerno, Melissa. Personal Interview. 16 Mar 2006.