I'm anxious. 

Not about anything in particular, mind you. I'm just an anxious person. 

As my food arrives, I realize that to any fly on the wall, I probably seem like a health nut. I'm not—far from it, in fact—but the egg whites, turkey bacon, and wheat pancakes sounded good to me for some reason. I'm sure from a distance, it all just looks like the same old slop any way. Not that it matters, either way. 

On the short drive over here, I decided to flip through the radio stations. You know, just for some perspective. My old standby, WCSB, was playing polka (which I normally enjoy in small doses, but I wasn't quite "feelin' it" right now), and all the other stations were, unsurprisingly, unhelpful. Crappy modern pop music, even worse "rock" (what's the difference?), today's top "country" (I repeat), a Van Halen song (sadly the best thing so far, so I leave it)...


The opening guitar lead and kick! snare! pattern of "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)", one of Elton John's only real rockers, a bootboy/sharpie classic from way back, a time when someone outside of a particular subculture could write songs about and for that subculture, and still be somewhat respected by the members of it. Back when styles, and subcultures, and genres were pieced together from elements of pre-existing ones, a byproduct of diverse tastes and influences, amalgamated abominations, curated by influential scenesters, musicians, fans, and journalists; only given a name once something so loosely defined became solid... too big and widespread to be contained, it now needed a rallying cry. A catchy marketing term. Or both.­

Maybe I'm reading into this too much. But I don't think so.

Punk used to be one of these things (and to a degree, to me at least, it still is). The bastard child of glam rock, novelty songs, '60s pop, what we now call "garage" rock, and an anti-hippie/anti-disco/anti-prog sentiment, among many other small strains of many other things, "punk rock" was a relatively unknown term, employed by a very small group of rock writers and fans, which was applied to bands and artists ranging from The Sonics to Alice Cooper. I doubt any of these groups liked the term very much, either.


Remember back when you could sit in a family restaurant for hours on end, no one fucking bothered you, and you could smoke an entire pack of cigarettes with the rest of society's dregs? Now I'm relegated to the magazine section of the public fucking library. The quiet is nerve-wracking, and I still can't chain-smoke. But regardless, it's free, and I get to save bandwidth on my internet at home. Isn't adult life fun?

I told my friend Laurie I was writing an editorial, and she asked what it was going to be about. I said, "The state of music today, relevance of punk rock, specifically garage punk/first wave revival... mission statement, etc." She said that punk is more relevant than ever, and also:

"Music is pre-packaged, contrived garbage & people are sheep. Youth today have more to be angry about than ever. They have far less opportunity than their parents did--the world is garbage. They're just too busy playing on their phones to notice."

Honestly, I think the world is probably in the best shape it's ever been in, and there's nothing wrong with technology in and of itself [he said as he pounded feverishly on the keys of his laptop], but people, on the whole, definitely don't seem to be getting any smarter; At the very least, they're generally as complacent, stubborn, close minded, backward, anti-intellectual, superstitious, and boring as they ever were... a bunch of followers, lacking any critical thinking skills. People who make their minds up about everything based on who said the dumbest thing the loudest or most confidently. Some are even still stuck in this notion of "traditional values" and other outdated archaic bullshit, like strict gender roles/rules, and maintaining the "status quo".

Tradition is kinda like collecting a bunch of OCD rituals and passing them down through generations of scared, stupid assholes.

Punk might have been a reaction against hippies (partially), but that doesn't mean it was ever meant to be enjoyed by ultra-conservative, authoritarian twats. I mean, what kind of "normal," wholesome, career-path driven douche is going to ever really "get" the songs of the Ramones? You could argue that Johnny Ramone was a staunch Republican, but he was far from being a normal dude. He was into collecting rock 'n roll and junk culture memorabilia. He loved horror movies, and glam bands, and Yoohoo, and had long hair. He was obsessed with Charles Manson. He wore the same on-stage uniform of a t-shirt, sneakers, and torn blue jeans while he was off-stage.

But maybe my friend is right. Even the (very few) young punks I've met around here are only into excessively fast street punk, or old-style hardcore bands, or all that garbage crusties seem to love, like powerviolence. These fucks wouldn't give the time of day to a Ramones record, let alone something as influential on the entire genre as, say, rockabilly. 

Hell, I even know some older people who were around in the early '80s, and even they think rock and roll is shit.

It's enough to make you wanna beat someone over the head with a copy of Please Kill Me.