Punk Rock Academy Fight Song – Self Destructions Got Me Again

July 12, 2009

Nihilism. No Future. Smash it up. FTW. Live fast and die young. What do all these phrases have in common. Sure a couple are song titles and lyrics. That’s the easy part. But what do they really have in common? They all seem to be the foundation upon which Punk rock was built on and they at one point or another were rally cries for how we chose to live our lives.

Oh and if you cant find irony in the fact that a movement that was originally based on the converging ideals of suburban boredom, urban decay, impending global war and destroying the aging avatars of mainstream rock is still going strong then you might of missed the point altogether. Punk rock was originally intended to slash and burn the establishment and then brilliantly flame out. Our founding fathers  were a rogues gallery of misfits, miscreants, delinquents and junkies with what seemed liked every intention of dying before they got old. Many of them did. Luckily a lot more kept going and were able to pass the torch to subsequent generations. That’s right we’ve got multiple generations flying the flag-who would’ve thunk it back in the 1975-for selfish reason I use 1975 as the starting point(It’s when the Ramones started playing and the year of my birth). So now that I have rehashed Punk rock 101 in a little more than a paragraph what’s my point.

Everybody has heard the myths legends and rumors a thousand times over and frankly they do seem a little tired. Frankly I’m tired of the myth that our lifestyle was built upon the false assumption that self destructive behavior is to be encouraged and is an irrefutable part of being Punk. Now I am not claiming to be the fun police and I’m not preaching the gospel of straight edge or any other such agenda. To me hypocrisy is a far greater sin than knocking back a couple of beers in the parking lot before the show. I’ve engaged in my share of self destructive behavior in the name of Punk and so have many of my friends. Most of my reckless behavior was ultimately harmless but also purposeless as well. No great end was achieved by my youthful jackass shenanigans, sure it was fun but it also could have led to some big trouble. I remember the fist time I smoked a cigarette, after calling them cancer sticks and harassing my smoker friends about their “filthy habits”, my friend called me out on my change of heart to which I replied “well if they’re okay for Keith Richards...” Obviously Keef is the exception to just about every rule in the book so following his lead isn’t really suggested to anyone interested in longevity. But this is where I tread dangerously close to edge of hypocrisy which I have tried to avoid but must now confront with the favorite tools of the parent and educator of which I am both and those tools are the famous do as I say not as I did.

Yeah it might be a cop out but it’s a pretty good one in my opinion. If I can prevent someone from making the same mistakes I did I’ll call it a victory. One of my students brought up this very theme and asked me if I regretted my youthful actions and my response was I don’t really regret things I did I regret the things I wasn’t able to do because of my previous behaviors. Then again I’m one of the lucky ones several of my friends have been through the dreaded jail rehab cycle, some are doing great, some I haven’t heard from in years. The truth is Punk rock is alive and well almost in spite of itself our earliest heroes destroyed themselves early whether intentional or not. However we still keep going because instead of going down in flames some decided to keep carrying the torch. Self destruction and Punk rock do not have to be synonymous. So maybe I am preaching a bit but as an older Punk I’m allowed strictly for the fact that I am getting older. Yeah whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger but we don’t have to speed up the process. Here endeth the lesson


-Daniel N-