Surprise! Two episodes of Tales From The Dropbox in a single day! As I am going to take a short break from recording at the end of the month, I figured that there is no time like the present to put out another episode of new sounds.
Episode 33 figures to be dangerous. It is an all punk rock episode covering several prevalent subgenres each of which indicate that punk rock is healthy despite repeated efforts by commercial radio to marginalize punk rock or efforts by those to romanticize it as a form of music that belongs only in the past to be visited upon those endless punk rock compilations containing the same bands and the same tunes.
Those of us even remotely familiar with the origins and evolution of punk rock understand that punk always was the musical expression of youth rebellion and a source of social commentary on the issues relevant to that generation. While many pundits, including Johnny Lydon, then Rotten, have declared punk dead or tried to romanticize and redefine the history of punk rock, the simple truth is this: punk rock, originally, was the physical manifestation of a disenchanted and disenfranchised youth coming to grips with the same ills that we currently face as a society: unemployment; police brutality; class inequality (rich v. poor); racism; environmental concerns.
So then it should come as no surprise that punk is not the same as it was 40 years ago. Punk changed immediately after the first expression, after it was first given name.
Punk has evolved, not died. Punk is a way of life because punk is not only about the freedom to express ideas but to give them energy and, most importantly, create movement. That’s it. Whether it was through fashion, art, or music, punk was not and is not an idea or an ideal. Rather punk is the expression of ideas in action. As D.O.A’s Joe Keithley (who has a track in today’s episode) has aptly observed: Talk –Action = 0.
Punk, therefore is motion – only when people act and give expression to ideas is it punk. The beauty of punk is that it is adaptable, i.e. there are many forms and contexts for expression of those ideas. Music is merely the vehicle for conveying thought and emotion. Although its origins as a movement in the U.S., U.K and Canada may all differ because of the perspectives unique to each country at the time, today, punk is a global movement giving a voice to those who choose to act. The subjects may not be the same, e.g. “emo” teaches us that personal relationships can also be dealt with from a punk perspective.
That perspective has not changed much because it is universal. Punk still encompasses all viewpoints, pushes boundaries, engages thought, is subversive and nonconformist, rewards independent thinking and action, and therefore, is not only the freest form of music but it also the most powerful form of expression because it contains the most subversive elements of change – ideas:
Ideas are dangerous, but the man to whom they are least dangerous is the man of ideas. He is acquainted with ideas, and moves among them like a lion-tamer. Ideas are dangerous, but the man to whom they are most dangerous is the man of no ideas. The man of no ideas will find the first idea fly to his head like wine to the head of a teetotaler.
It is a common error, I think, among the radical idealists of my own … period to suggest that financiers and business men are a danger . . . because they are so sordid or so materialistic. The truth is that financiers and business men are a danger . . . because they can be sentimental about any sentiment, and idealistic about any ideal, any ideal that they find lying about, just as a boy who has not known much of women is apt too easily to take a woman for the woman, so these practical men, unaccustomed to causes, are always inclined to think that if a thing is proved to be an ideal it is proved to be the ideal.
Chesterton, G.K, Heretics (1905)
Punk is still relevant. Lock up your children.
Here is what you’ll find in Episode #33:
- Nice as Fuck – “Homerun” (Nice As Fuck)
- Mega – “I Wrote Eric Fromm” (Conversation about Nothing)
- Narcolaptic – “Under the Street Light” (Hypocretin)
- Greys – “Blown Out” (Outer Heaven)
- Ginger Wildheart – “Only Henry Rollins Can Save Us Now” (The Year of the Fan Club)
- Cold Cold Hearts – “All Those Nights” (Heartware)
- Paws – “Clarity” (No Grace)
- Black Black Black – “Let’s Bloodlet” (Altered States of Death and Grace)
- Death Valley Girls – “Death Valley Boogie” (Glow in the Dark)
- Beartooth – “Hated” (Aggressive)
- All Fucked Up – “Hard Times” (Thirty Minutes Old School)
- Alice Bag – “The Touch I Crave” (Alice Bag)
- March – “Head Shears” (Stay Put)
- D.O.A. – “Fucked Up Donald” (Fucked Up Donald Single)
- Summer Cannibals – “Full of It” (Full of It)
Who knew you’d be hated for being who you are and be a big target for all the insecure . . . you’ve spent your whole life just talking out your ass…