Punk Rock Freedom of Expression
“At its best New Wave/Punk represents a fundamental and age-old Utopian dream: that if you give people the license to be as outrageous as they want in absolutely any fashion they can dream up, they’ll be creative about it, and do something good besides.”
– Lester Bangs
“Punk was defined by an attitude rather than a musical style.”
– David Byrne
“The popularity of punk rock was, in effect, due to the fact that it made ugliness beautiful.”
— Malcolm McLaren
“Punk is a state of mind open to new ideas, with a desire to constantly evolve, to find the next step, not only in music but also in the world around us. When I wrote songs for the Sex Pistols, I wasn’t talking about chaos for the love of chaos. I was saying that the government and the institutions were misleading us.” *
– John Lydon
“Undermine their pompous authority, reject their moral standards, make anarchy and disorder your trademarks. Cause as much chaos and disruption as possible but don’t let them take you alive.”
– Sid Vicious
“Questioning anything and everything, to me, is punk rock.”
– Henry Rollins
“Punk rock is just another word for freedom.”
– Patti Smith
Punk Rock – it’s in my blood.
I was around four years old when Punk came kicking and screaming onto the forefront of music. I did not know what was in store for me in my teen years, but once I discovered Punk, I dove into the music, attitude and culture head first and haven’t looked back since.
I feel Punk pulsing through my veins and filling my heart with power. When I hear the music, it fills me with energy and I feel like I am a young girl again. It fuels my creativity in ways I cannot describe.
Punk Rock. For some when they hear this phrase, they immediately think rioting, violence, drugs and all the gritty and grimy attributes that has almost become synonymous with this genre thanks to icons such as Sid Vicious.
For me, Punk Rock means freedom and self-expression in its purest form. When my mind shifts into Punk mode, I am invincible and a force to be reckoned with. I can freely say things with conviction and stand tall and proud in my fierceness. I have no fear.
When I cannot find the words to properly express my feelings, Punk allows me to find that center and pull the words out kicking and screaming. I have an incredible energy like none other I’ve ever felt when I can, sometimes with rage, spit those words out into lyric form, raw and unadulterated.
Oh, what I would give to have a time machine (or TARDIS) so I can go back to the early to mid-70’s and watch the entire New York Punk scene unfold in clubs such as CBGB’s or Max’s Kansas City. I would be more than a fly on the wall, I’d get involved either as a journalist or photographer – or both. I’d want to immerse myself fully in the scene. Instead, I need to live vicariously through the people who were there and part of that scene, like Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain: Please Kill Me – The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, Marky Ramone: Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone, and John Holmstrom: Punk Magazine.
The following prose, or dare I say lyrics, are examples of this raw energy pulling feelings out of me and forming them into words.
I’m also including a mixtape playlist to go with this post, consisting of one of my actual Punk mixtapes from the 80’s. After all, Punk music is the driving force behind my blunt tongue. Enjoy!
PUNK YOU! mixtape circa 1988
- My Way – Sid Vicious
- Real Wild Child (Wild One) – Iggy Pop
- My War – Black Flag
- Back Against The Wall – Circle Jerks
- Chickenshit Conformist – Dead Kennedys
- I Wanna Be Me – Sex Pistols
- I Wanna Be Sedated – The Ramones
- London Calling – The Clash
- Punk Rock Girl – The Dead Milkmen
- Jane Says – Jane’s Addiction
- Kiss Off – Violent Femmes
- I Was A Teenage Werewolf – The Cramps
- What Do I Get? – Buzzcocks
- Oh Bondage! Up Yours! – X-Ray Spex
- Don’t Dictate – Penetration
- The Body – Public Image Ltd.
- Blank Generation – Richard Hell and The Voidoids
- Sonic Reducer – Dead Boys
- I Don’t Need Society – DRI
- Institutionalized – Suicidal Tendencies
- People Have The Power – Patti Smith
- Psycho Killer – Talking Heads