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Straight Edge

I like my music, and love my history. At some point recently my mind wandered back to the glory days of Punk Rock. Y'know, before Green Day usurped and ruined it. Everyone remembers Punk for it's excesses. Spike Mohawks, piercings, slam dancing. All good stuff. But there was more than the fashion.

Punk was also a social movement. Modern Hardcore was born out of the economic downturn in Brittan, and rode that wave of malaise to the States in the late 70's. People remember Punk being loud and angry, but many forget why. The Anglo-Saxon world at that time was urban decay, unemployment, crooked politics and looming Armageddon. No hope unless you "sold out" and groveled for The Man. Punks were anti-.... everything. The way they saw it, their parent's generation cocked everything up. No need for some metaphysical search for meaning crap like the hippies in the 60's. There was no "truth". There was only Now.

That Nihilistic philosophy lead to a lot of drug and alcohol use, so I've read (cough, cough). And for most Punks, all the carnal pleasures eventually kinda lost their allure. Not all of us could go out in a blazing spoon of glory like Sid Vicious. Nope. For most Punks, it was the slow, sad slide into middle / working class doldrums. Respectable flat. Steady job. Sure, we'd still listen to the music. But it's just not the same when you're sober and comfortable.

However, there was a path less taken. A minor player on the Punk scene in 1981 released a 46 second long track called "Straight Edge". The band, named Minor Threat, tapped into an underserved sub-market: Thinking Punks. Not intellectual, but smart. It was a simple concept: "If you're loaded all the time, you probably suck at Revolution. Sober up, fool."

I was a bit too young and dumb at the time to appreciate this concept. But in retrospect, I love it. I've always been a closet Anarchist (not bomb-throwing, violence is for losers). The Posers and their hollow fashion will always be with us. But don't let their empty heads make you think that the movement itself was vapid. I have this track that I acquired in the late '80s with Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) savaging Tipper Gore over censorship on the Oprah Winfrey show. I kid you not! Pure gold, listening to some political opportunist get schooled by a "punk".

The modern Straight Edge movement has embraced lifestyle choices like vegan diet, and abstaining from coffee. That's a bit too Hard Core for me.
But if you were ever a Punk, you know how to fight. And fighting while you're messed-up is dumb. Keeping yourself mentally and physically straight just makes sense.

I've toned it way, way back from The Day. But is it enough? Am I sharp enough? I'm not an abstinence kind of guy, in any sense. But I totally respect and appreciate those that are.
Once again, we have the opportunity to Rise Above. Hopefully with less vomit and Heroin this time.

Comments

I grew up on pop-punk. Sum-41, blink-182. I'm not a fan of Green Day either.
 
In all honesty, and as a musician, I have respect for very few punk bands.

I mean Blondie was technically punk, and I'm a fan. I like some of Rancid's early work.

The Misfits and Samhain were meh to me, but I love Glen's work as an artist.

I never liked The Ramones or The Clash, or The Destroyers, or anything like ghat for some reason.

I DO like Green Day. Tré Cool is a fucking beast on the early albums, and the music/vocals are excellent on a lot of their first songs (until International Superhits), but they went commercial by Warning.

Hell, I like The Offspring.

My punk style is more David Brockie (early GWAR).

ALTHOUGH, David Brockie JUST died of a heroin overdose. =x
 
RhythmOvPain;bt11845 said:
In all honesty, and as a musician, I have respect for very few punk bands.

I mean Blondie was technically punk, and I'm a fan. I like some of Rancid's early work.

The Misfits and Samhain were meh to me, but I love Glen's work as an artist.

I never liked The Ramones or The Clash, or The Destroyers, or anything like ghat for some reason.

I DO like Green Day. Tré Cool is a fucking beast on the early albums, and the music/vocals are excellent on a lot of their first songs (until International Superhits), but they went commercial by Warning.

Hell, I like The Offspring.

My punk style is more David Brockie (early GWAR).

ALTHOUGH, David Brockie JUST died of a heroin overdose. =x

We're different generations, I think. The Ramones were fun but overrated. The Clash was awesome, you just gotta dig past their pop "successes".
I love the Offspring. "Self Esteem" is a 90's slacker theme track.

The folk-punk of Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys is outrageous.

Now my faves are The Dead Kenedys, Black Flag and Circle Jerks. As a musician, I can understand you looking down your guitar neck at their musical rifts. But their counter-cultural rages are epic. One lesser known jem from the Circle Jerks is "Making the Bombs", a scathing anti-war culture ditty, Even the over played DK "Holliday in Cambodia" is a powerful social face slap to a smug, post Vietnam US. And Black Flag's "TV Party" parodies the idiocy of middle class America. It's all in the lyrics.
 
I’m a Cardiacs man myself. I don’t even know what musical genre they are. A bastard child of punk and punk’s arch-nemesis, prog-rock, with a marked absurdist bent thrown in, it's the sort of noise you hear when the patients raid the face-paints cupboard and break into the music room.
 
Aww guys, Greenday is kinda like my favourite band of all time, I wouldn't say they usurped punk. But Winston you are correct punk was more than fashion, it was a way for the working class to reject the ideals that had been placed upon them from a government that they had lost faith in. Thatcher had incised the miners strikes which, left a lot of Northern England with out jobs or a way of providing and slipped the country into a state of welfare dependency. There was the Falklands war which caused more unrest. All of these social tensions which to the young of the 70's and 80's was unfair and somewhere along the lines Punk was born to reflect the social/economic times of hardship and unrest. It was a changing time for England, not only in fashion and music but also in how youth was seen.
 
I was on a remodel many years ago that was the guitarist for Bad Religion's wife's divorce-pad. 40 mil was the settlement sum mentioned. I think offspring was n a fight with him at the time- he ( gurwitz) was the label. 40 mil is not punk. Haha. 'Fashion'...
 
Smith;bt11849 said:
Does Rage Against the Machine count for anything?
everything is influenced by something, right? Definitely the snarl, and the 'activism'.
At the time it as all corporate softies. There was just radio. And then this thing started happening. It was only at live shows and we got bootleg tapes. Parents were freaking out...again. Omg-lookitjunior! Wasnt til the 90's - 'grunge' that anything similar got played nationally. Before that it was all polished. A lot of listeners couldn't relate ( on both sides).
 
Winston;bt11846 said:
We're different generations, I think. The Ramones were fun but overrated. The Clash was awesome, you just gotta dig past their pop "successes".
I love the Offspring. "Self Esteem" is a 90's slacker theme track.

The folk-punk of Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys is outrageous.

Now my faves are The Dead Kenedys, Black Flag and Circle Jerks. As a musician, I can understand you looking down your guitar neck at their musical rifts. But their counter-cultural rages are epic. One lesser known jem from the Circle Jerks is "Making the Bombs", a scathing anti-war culture ditty, Even the over played DK "Holliday in Cambodia" is a powerful social face slap to a smug, post Vietnam US. And Black Flag's "TV Party" parodies the idiocy of middle class America. It's all in the lyrics.

what do you think of Andrew W.K.?
 
Being a teenager in the late 70's n 80's was a time when many different music movements were around an all had there following..punks,mods,new romantics,skins,rockabilly...a time when independent labels came about...think the buzzcocks we're the first inde band with a top twenty hit
 
I’m a Cardiacs man myself
Heard of them, but not familiar with their work. As long as they're not that mopey, emo junk.

Does Rage Against the Machine count for anything?
I like RAM. Real good In Your Face stuff. Kind like a white boy's Public Enemy. Are they "punk"? Their 'tude pays their dues.

Bad Religion
Sry Kev, just never got into them. Not sayin' they were bad. But if they fought the Offspring over 40 mil, they know how to play The Man's game.

what do you think of Andrew W.K.?
Christ! Homework! Thanks...

And H.Brown, spot on. ("Cept Green Day. See below)
There's an old line that if you're a rich and successful punk band, you're not a punk band. Also, Punk is not political. It is ANTI political. Any time a band starts supporting politicians, they're voted out of the gang (Repo Man reference....anyone? *chirp, chirp*). No, you only get to Deconstruct. Solutions are for squares, not real artists.
The best pop-culture reference to Punk was in the movie School of Rock. The kids steal a school bus so they can cut school and play a gig. Dewey (Jack Black) is in awe:
"That is SO Punk Rock". Yes. Yes it is.
 
escorial;bt11857 said:
Being a teenager in the late 70's n 80's was a time when many different music movements were around an all had there following..punks,mods,new romantics,skins,rockabilly...a time when independent labels came about...think the buzzcocks we're the first inde band with a top twenty hit

Sry I missed your reply, esc. I like The Buzzcocks, but I see them firmly in the "alternative" genre. But then again, so is XTC... one of the best 80's bands that gets no love. XTC's Andy Partridge was like Sid Viscous hugging a puppy, in a good way(?)
 
Interesting, I think all that evolved from 60's counterculture rock. New generation, new voice. Sadly, the "establishment" continues - probably because a lot of the anti-establishment realized they needed a job. All this for some reason reminds me of Twisted Sister - "I wanna rock!" Of course, I was a 50's kid. What do I know?:???:
 
Glue sniffing was big in the punk era...an I never read one but I'm sure there was a punk mag named after it....
 
escorial;bt11873 said:
Glue sniffing was big in the punk era...an I never read one but I'm sure there was a punk mag named after it....

There was the Ramones song "Now I wanna sniff some glue". Mostly campy tounge-in-cheek stuff. But that kind of "brain-dead" self-abuse was one of the driving forces of the Straight Edge movement. You can't beat The Man if you consume all of His lies and poison. That's the theory.
 

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