Top

Punk Rock Academy Fight Song – When I was young and wanted to set the world on fire

October 3, 2012

Punk Rock Academy Fight Song - When I was young and wanted to set the world on fireBy the time you read this fall will be in rearing its head, school will be in full swing and Halloween decorations will be gracing our lawns and front porches. But right now I’ve still got summer on the brain- maybe it’s the just damn heat which makes me glad I no longer live in the SGV but its still pretty hot in Long Beach (yeah cry me a river i live in long Beach and a work a couple miles from the beach).Any way as I’ve gotten older and settled in to my career -quick updatefor those of you who missed my first column or forgot because my output has slowed down to Haleys comet like sightings lately-Im in my sixth year as a high school counselor by day-I’ve realized I feel like I’ve become more of a part time Punk. But when summer rolls around I’m not an authority figure, and i use that term loosely, Im just a husband, a dad, a surfer and a Punk. For seven straight weeks I don’t have to wear pants, a collared or shoes for that matter. although I do get dressed up for my anniversary  on July 7 heat be damned I gotta look good for the wifey. I get to live in band t-shirts-this year it was a steady rotation of Rancid, Bad Brains, US BOMBS and Dead Kennedys not that I’m that cool its just those are some of the only non black t-shirts I own -and boardshorts. I get to enjoy the perplexed look and off base  comments of midwestern tourists when i wear the previously mentioned Bad Brains T-shirt on a family visit to DisneyLand. I get to stay up late and re read the Rum Diary while watching Clash and Jimmy Cliff Videos on Youtube. But as summer starts to slowly fade into autumn and I start to break out my shoes and dress pants from the back of the closet a faint thought of self doubt starts to creep into the back of my brain. Am I still rebellious. Am I still an outsider. Am I still challenging conventions and making changes in our society -Did I ever? You see when I was eighteen I thought of myself as  some kind of mix of Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Kerouac and Joe Strummer with a surfboard and a mohawk. I was going to write for Rolling Stone and change the world or least turn people on to some of my favorite bands. I was going to be Zack De La Rocha without the dreads or maybe just Greg Graffin without the big words and all the science stuff-sorry I was a history major and big words freak me out. I’ve always wanted to rally people against oppression and injustice or maybe save a couple of dolphins here and there, i do donate to Surfrider and Greenpeace. When it comes to trying to make the world a bit better I’ve always been a cockeyed optimist, a pollyanna and a true believer. When I wore my R.E.M. t-shirt with the line “Understand the power of a single action” I took that as gospel. That’s what part of the allure that punk had over other genres-the desire and attitude to rock the boat, make things different and turn the world upside down. I know it may seem self absorbed and self indulgent to lament the fact that I’m not Gandhi, Mandela, Marley or even Bono-hell Adam Clayton for that matter but it’s really more of a reflection about having stayed true to my core beliefs and ideals as opposed to my rightful place in the pantheon of great upstarts and revolutionaries. Is that kid whose favorite quotes were “Question Authority” and “Sir could you describe the ruckus?” still inside me.

Then a couple of things happened this month. A couple of weeks ago I heard a familiar voice outside of my office, It was a former student stopping by to pick up some transcripts or other school records. This student was one of the first kids I worked with my first year as the at risk counselor at my school six years ago. This kid was like an early Social D song come to life-looks of trouble, lots of problems and not a lot of hope or so it seemed. He was never rude or disrespectful at school but just a lot of issues outside of school. He was the type of kid you wished and hoped for the best but who gave you knots in your stomach thinking of what might happen. So I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years-so i hoped for the best and thought about the worst and in he walks looking happy healthy, clean and sober and with a two year old daughter. We talk for a couple of minutes, I say hi to his daughter and I smile. Now the second thing that snapped my out of my self doubt was that one of my current students stopped by my office and gave me a coffee mug that she had decorated with the words worlds awesome'st counselor and all of the O’s were skulls. Have I gone out and set the world on fire? Maybe, maybe not. Am I changing the world-damn right! Am I still a Punk -till the day I die.

-Daniel N-
Big Wheel Staff Columnist



Bookmark and Share

 

Read more from Punk Rock Academy Fight Song HERE

 

 

 

Send your comments to the editor HERE

 

Punk Rock Academy Fight Song – A Hangover and a Black eye

July 22, 2012

Punk Rock Academy Fight Song - A Hangover and a Black eyeIt wasn’t in mid July but it was a pretty muggy night in may of my second junior year of college. Yes you read that correctly my second junior year-I was on a bit of an extended plan in college. Anyway that's when it happened. The hangover and the black eye. now there was nothing particularly noteworthy about the hangover, I’d had plenty before and I’ve had a few more since and really who wants to remember a hangover anyway? What makes the incident memorable was the combination and the circumstances. I wish I could say I got in a fight over a girl that was out of my league and some dumb jock and his buddies kicked my ass for being a Punk at the wrong party but that would obviously be a blatant rip off of Valley Girl( which is one of the greatest film of all time) though that would be pretty cool if things happened that way. Alas my story is a bit different in that there was no romance involved but there were meatheads who had it out for me. Apparently a few months earlier I had broken up a fight in which one of the meatheads friends was involved but due to my penchant for wearing Hawaiian shirts and leopard spotted hair I was easily recognizable and it was assumed that I was part of the fight instead of being the guy who saved said meathead from a certain beat down. Oh well the devils in the details and no good deed goes unpunished. So my reward for trying to keep my friends from beating up a stranger wound up being a trip to the ER-complete with a smart ass doctor who told me I needed to learn to fight better, thirteen stitches over my right eye with a pretty huge shiner, and the worst part of all my favorite Hawaiian shirt was a total loss. I didn’t necessarily  get beat up strictly for being a punk rocker with crazy looking hair I got beat up because being a Punk with crazy looking hair made me stand out among a group of  friends that looked nothing like me. But hey I’ve never liked fitting in so sometimes that’s the price to be paid for being a little different. It’s not like I was a martyr for a cause I was just some kid getting in a fight on  a hot almost summer night just like kids tend to do in the summer all over the world since the dawn of time. Too much beer, not enough beer. Too much girls not enough girls. Punks  metalheads, jocks, greasers and socs( yup it’s an Outsiders reference-check it out kids) , pretty boys and on and on. It doesn’t really matter who it just seems like its a natural part of summer when your growing up. I'm not condoning violence but sometimes fist fights are as much a part of life as a first kiss maybe its a yin/ yang thing.

This all brings me to something my old friend Dario once said right after we graduated high school. “You really haven't lived unless you’ve gotten drunk, been in a fight or spent a night in jail” or something to that effect. its like a rite of passage part of the journey into manhood. So I guess two out of three ain't bad for a single night. Now I’ve gotta go and take me wife and kids to the beach-cause that’s what you do in the summer and thats also part of growing up.  Oh and naturally black and mostly gray hair is still kinda like leopard spots, right?

-Daniel N-
Big Wheel Staff Columnist



Bookmark and Share

 

Read more from Punk Rock Academy Fight Song HERE

 

 

 

Send your comments to the editor HERE

 

Punk Rock Academy Fight Song – Good Guys Don’t Wear White

November 19, 2011

Punk Rock Academy Fight Song - Good Guys Don’t Wear White“Show me a hero and I’ll prove he’s a bum.” That is one of my favorite quotes by one of my heroes. The man who spoke it was World War Two fighter pilot Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, a medal of honor winner with a reputation for hard drinking and rule breaking but also some one who quickly realized the inherent danger of putting people up on a pedestal especially if he was the one on that pedestal. Precisely the type of person any impressionable young Punk couldn’t help but be attracted to. I mean there was even a movie about the guy called “The Flying Misfits” if that isn’t some kind of cosmic match I don’t know what is. But over the years that quote took on more and more meaning and made more and more sense. It wasn’t just some one who was uncomfortable with new found fame and notoriety being self deprecating but instead it was more of a warning and also a bit of a blueprint for the type of people we should be looking up to.

Part of the allure of Punk rock has always been the fact that most of our heroes have always been slightly damaged and have always been keenly aware of that. Our heroes weren’t better than us they were us. We don’t have guitar gods we have mere mortals banging out three chords that seem to say “come on man get off your ass and do something...this is for everybody”. We don’t try to hide our frailties and short comings behind some facade of perfection but rather celebrate the fact that we’ve all screwed up but some how are better for it. If you start out with nothing you’ve got nowhere to go but up, right? That’s why I’ve never been a fan of the the golden boys, the perfect smile, perfect hair all Americans-because those guys are usually hiding something and the more people look up to them the harder it is for them to maintain the illusion of heroic perfection and people just cant wait to watch em fall-I think The Bangles even had a song about that. As most people find out the hard way there is no greater disappointment than finding out some one you admire or look up to is a Grade A screw up but if you already realize they are a screw up then once again there is only room for improvement and you can’t be that let down when they falter. Still most people still find themselves subscribing to the ideal that the clean cut Dudley Do-Right types (look him up kids) are those who should be admired for their supposed high moral character and ability to throw a ball, read a line or play a guitar better than the rest of us. Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t admire those people Im just saying that I personally choose not to because I can’t really relate to them.

All of this bring me to another badass, and another quote. At the risk of being cliche its from Johnny Cash-yup the man in black of course. Johnny Cash upon meeting Merle Haggard-who had actually done real time in prison, supposedly said to Haggard “Nice to meet you you’re who everybody thinks I am”. So even when we look up to people for being anti heroes we still run the risk of getting the myth and the reality mixed. This doesn’t make Johnny Cash any less cool in my book but rather even cooler because he was able to call bullshit on himself and the ideal of what people thought of him. At the end of the day we all need someone to look up to some one to provide us with hope and inspiration but I just prefer that person to be some one that's kind of like me instead of some one I know I can never be.

-Daniel N-
Big Wheel Staff Columnist



Bookmark and Share

 

Read more from Punk Rock Academy Fight Song HERE

 

 

 

Send your comments to the editor HERE

 

Punk Rock Academy Fight Song – The Fun Was Never Ending

October 24, 2011

Punk Rock Academy Fight Song - The Fun Was Never EndingSo as most of you have noticed my brilliant musings have been missing in action for close to a month and a half. It hasn’t been by choice and it hasn’t been because of a lack of ideas but rather quite the opposite. The ideas and memories have been bouncing around my brain like a Chinese gymnast on speed. However every time I flipped open the computer and attempted to get started I’d wind up scrapping whatever I was doing and head over to Surfline and see what the waves were like in Costa Rica or i’d kill some time on Facebook. But I just couldn’t focusand whatever words came out just didn’t feel right. To me writing is just like making music if it doesn’t feel right then don’t waste your time going through the motions and who cares if everything is perfectly punctuated if you want perfection read the New Yorker and listen to Steely Dan. And after all we’ve all seen what happens when a band is just going through the motions and not playing from the gut for the fans. Not that I'm claiming to be some great artist but If your gonna take the time to read this I might as well give you what what deserve. Because once again Punk rock is first and foremost about heart and soul and not about virtuosity or perfection.

So a few weeks ago as I was stuck in my rut trying to figure out what to get out of my brain I hit the digital crack pipe known as Facebook and came upon a post from my cousin stating that it was the 15th anniversary of her brothers passing. So this ones for him. My cousin Carlos was killed in a car accident at the age of 21 but he packed more life into those short years than most people do in several lifetimes.If my friend Herman was my partner in crime then Carlos was my partner in good times. He always had a cat eatin’ smile a sharp comeback and would give you the shirt off of his back. He might not have been into Punk but he was as punk as they come. Always up for a good time, or no good, and always willing to back up his family. Our adventures and escapades are far too numerous to ever put on paper but that’s probably for the best cause half the stuff we did deserves to be kept under wraps and words just wouldn’t do justice to the rest. Although among other things he did teach me that in Mexico the best use for your seat belt is as a bottle opener. He also taught me that our families unofficial family motto was No Somos Machos Pero Somos Muchos-which roughly means we may not be tough guys but there’s a lot of us- trust me in spanish and when uttered at just the right time it’s funny as hell and makes plenty of sense. He was the type of guy that I pictured growing old with and bullshitting over beers-well we did that anyway- and visiting his family every summer just the way he did when we were kids.  The irony about his death is that I found out about it after a night of partying and it felt like some kind of hungover nightmare and as soon as I sobered up I’d find out he was alive and well and waiting for me to head down to Mexico and join him for a couple of ice cold Pacificos. The reality is that I miss him like hell and feel ripped off that i never said good bye but I also feel infinitely  grateful to have had all the crazy memories with him and I know he’s been looking over me like the mischievous guardian angel that he is. As much as this is about me finally paying tribute to some one its also for everybody else that's had a Carlos in their life come and go way too quickly. So like most of our favorite songs this ones gona be short, sweet and from the heart. Now go crank up Bro Hymn, have an Ice cold one and live like Carlos.

-Daniel N-



Bookmark and Share

 

Read more from Punk Rock Academy Fight Song HERE

 

 

 

Send your comments to the editor HERE

 

Punk Rock Academy Fight Song – A Riot Of My Own

August 17, 2011

Punk Rock Academy Fight Song - A Riot Of My OwnAhh Yes the riot. Probably one of the most over used cliched terms in Punk rock. I bet there are more Punk songs about rioting than there are country songs about driving tractors and being proud to be a redneck. Side note- I really do like country music, just not the lame derivative type that panders to the lowest common denominator but I digress.  Seeing the recent civil unrest in London brought this idea to mind-that the term riot within the context of Punk rock has become hackneyed and trite. Wow I must be some high brow intellectual to be putting together such a phrase and as a matter of fact I am wearing a tweed sports coat with elbow patches and smoking a pipe as I write this.

But watching the news and reading the paper lately kind of got me to thinking about this term that seems to really be one of the cornerstones of the Punk movement and at the risk of pissing of a lot of people I'm about to call bullshit on it. Holy Strummers ghost I just went there! Because really it does all go back to Joe, Mick, Paul and Topper( yeah I know it was Terry Chimes drumming on the first album-geez) and if anyone knows anything about me then you know that I worship at the church of the Clash oops I might have offended some religious types but it’s not really a church just a small alter in my garage. So anyway I am faulting White Riot for the proliferation of crappy songs about rioting or having a riot or going to a riot that have kept on coming until this day that really have nothing to do with social change. See its not the word riot that bothers me as much as the idea of “hey look at me Im pissed I think I ‘ll go and run around like a fool and loot and burn stuff” instead of being proactively involved in real change. As we all know Joe Strummers intent was to spur kids into action instead of just sitting idly by as the world and its injustices kept going. Don’t just think about what’s wrong with society but get off your ass and do something about it. However I disagree that getting up and physically throwing a brick through a window is the best way to affect social change. Maybe its because I went to school “to get more thick” or maybe it’s my weak throwing arm and bad aim, but I agree with the idea and not the action of rioting even if the act is the result of frustration from intolerable oppression not because your favorite team just won the championship. I know you can get further with rallies and demonstrations than you can by burning down your own neighborhood and looting a new flat screen and pampers. On a smaller scale I get it all the time at work when students complain to me about rules they don’t like or understand and I  tell them yeah you can break the rule or ditch class or tell someone to F-off or you can put together a rational argument or sign a petition and tell me which one gets you farther. Unfortunately they usually just drop the subject altogether and move on to some other drama of the day but just once I’d love them to try.

But as much as I’ve gone to school to get thick, I’ve also thrown a brick-kind of. It was the summer of 94 or 95 and it was at the BlockBuster Pavillion in the lovely metropolis of Devore. It was the great Punk Show Riot started by security hating Guttermouth and ended by Face to Face who encouraged everyone to “fuck it and get on stage”. So I did. So I bulled my way to the front and attempted to climb up the beer and sweat soaked stage where I was eventually pulled up by the arm of Trevor Keith and then...security started spraying us with fire extinguishers and the sheriffs deputies showed up. Obviously there was no big social cause for this behavior, no protest against tyranny  just a bunch of half drunk overheated kids. When I got home later the evening I found my mom watching aghast as the the eleven o’clock news detailed the riot at the punk rock concert-those damn weird troublemakers. “UH, no mom I wasn't at THAT concert I was somewhere else.” So there you have it I’m a bit of a hypocrite i was part of a riot. But really I do believe that we as Punks can be agents of change, music can make a difference I just hate seeing something so cool being defined by mindless idiocy. So no I dont really blame The Clash for anything and I do like some songs about rioting. I guess songs just sound cooler with the word riot instead of proactive change or rational protest. I've yet to hear an inspiring song about signing petitions. It just bothers me that rioting is usually just morons breaking stuff and didn’t Limp Bizkit have a song called “Break Shit”. And really nobody wants to ever be linked with Limp Bizkit-do they?

-Daniel N-



Bookmark and Share

 

Read more from Punk Rock Academy Fight Song HERE

 

 

 

Send your comments to the editor HERE

 

Punk Rock Academy Fight Song – The Kids Are Alright

July 13, 2011

The kids Are AlrightIt seems to me like every generation falls into the same trap. We swear up and down that we wont do it. No way man, I'm not gonna be that guy. Be eventually what we think is maturity sets in and we feel it is our god given right or perhaps it is our righteous duty and we give in to that feeling in the back of our heads that we’ve been suppressing for years. And then when we cant take it anymore and we explode and out come that odious phrase “...Kids these days.” Its the sad acknowledgment that we are slowly evolving (or maybe devolving) in to responsible adults or we are becoming our parents or maybe just maybe we aren’t as cool as we thought we were. There are of course a wide variety of reasons why this phrase finds its way passing our lips and into the ears of anybody who has the misfortune of being within shouting distance. Cause when you say say something like that you just don't mutter it under your breath you practically broadcast it to the heavens. Usually its the result of switching from your CD to Fm on your car stereo and hearing some over produced auto tuned tripe that passes for “Pop Music” or maybe its when you scan though the pages of  magazines and all the bands have names that are paragraphs long and look like ...well now I am starting to sound old, but you get the picture. But guess what as long as there has been music there has been crappy music to rail against and as long as one cool band has looked and dressed a certain way there have been a thousand of lame one that have tried to cop their style and ride their coattails in vain hopes of success. But that’s all stuff that’s out of our hands and stuff that every generation will have to contend with. So what really raises our ire is that we view ourselves as keepers of a legacy that is greater than ourselves. We are the spiritual descendants of individuals who took nothing for granted and wanted to do something big against complacency apathy and even injustice so it rightfully pisses us off when people just don't seem to care. We are true believers and we hope those that follow will be as well. If your under the age of 25 and your reading this your probably thinking “ Wow! What an old blowhard-just shut up and tell us about something stupid you did!” but I'm getting to my point just bear with me while I pontificate some more.

For me this entire year has seemed like one continuous non stop “Kids these days” moment, only with a lot of expletives thrown in every time. The reason being that this year I had the dubious pleasure of being the 12th grade counselor at my school. I say dubious because I’ve known this group of kids since they were in the 9th and its more or less my responsibility to make sure that as many of them as possible graduate. Anyway from day one I was blitzed with with multitudes of comments about how bad this class was and how lazy and apathetic they were. And after a while I bought into it and started making the comments myself. Now I love my job and I'm the eternal optimist. A teacher once called me an idealist as if it were a synonym for puppy killer. I like to think I can relate to my kids without acting like I'm trying to relate to them. I often tell them if 30 something me could meet 17 year old me I’d kick that 17 year old punks ass. But after a while it really did seem like these kids just didn’t give a damn and felt that the world owed them something- the attitude was that we should be grateful that they even bothered to show up and do the stupid assignments-well truth be told there were a lot of stupid assignments that 17 year old me chose not to do but that's ancient history, right? As the year wore on so did my frustrations, How much brow beating, chasing and cajoling did i have to do before these kids would finally get it Probably the same amount that my teachers had to do with me. Well I may have been a slacker but I’ve never been apathetic or entitled and that's what really killed me-until graduation day. Now having attended many graduations in my life I prepared myself for the interminable and the often  intolerable “this is not the end but really a beginning” speeches. Instead I was pleasantly gob smacked when one of the speakers fessed up for slacking and breaking some rules and thanked their parents and teachers for letting them get away with it because they remembered what it was like to be a confused anxious 17 year old. So yeah kids these days... but as long as some of em are checking out the Street Dogs, reading Kerouac- and starting bands I think we’ll be okay. Oh and teachers that kid falling asleep in the back of the class you just might be working with him in a few years-its not that he doesn’t care he just just doesn’t care right now.

-Daniel N-



Bookmark and Share

 

Read more from Punk Rock Academy Fight Song HERE

 

 

 

Send your comments to the editor HERE

 

Next Page »

Bottom
  • misadvised