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 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-

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