Archive for the ‘Punk Rock 101’ Category

Punk 101: Anarcho-Punk

January 28, 2010

I consider myself to be an anarcho-punk. Anarcho-punk is punk that promotes anarchism. The band Crass was the first anarcho-punk band. Many anarcho-punks support peace, equality, freedom from oppression, and hierarchies. I found a cool website dedicate to anarcho-punk and you can download some music from there.

http://www.anarcho-punk.net/

Enjoy!

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Punk 101: Studs and Spikes

January 11, 2010

Where would punk rockers be without studs and spikes? I recommend only using studs because it’s not mosh pit friendly having spikes. You can really hurt someone with spikes. I never wear spikes – because I don’t trust myself not to stab myself with them.

Studs and spikes are the perfect accessory to any punk look. They are intimidating and shiny. The best website to get studs and spikes from is http://studsandspikes.com/.

Denim is pretty easy to stud. You just take the stud, push it through the fabric, and use a spoon or pliers to bend the ends secure. Studding leather is a little bit more involved. First, you need to put the stud on the leather and let the prongs leave a mark. Then, where the mark is left from the prongs, take a dart and make holes in the leather. Then put the prongs through the hole and use a spoon or pliers to secure the stud in place. For a video tutorial go here.

It takes a lot of time to stud things so be patient. I usually prefer studs with some space between them because solid studding gets really heavy. I have a vest that’s very well studded and it weights 8 pounds. My favorite studded vest has about 100 studs on the back – it looks awesome without being too heavy. Sometimes less is more – remember that. Good luck! Happy studding!

Punk Rock 101: Basic Punk to Listen To: 77’s, 80’s, 90’s

December 16, 2009

1977 Punk

What is punk music? It’s three chord rock. It’s debated if it was founded by The Ramones in America or The Sex Pistols in the U.K. I say: Who cares? It exists. These are probably two of the first bands you want to give a listen to – along with The Clash, The Damned (Damned, Damned, Damned), Dead Boys (Young, Loud, and Snotty), The Germs, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bad Brains (These guys are homophobic and I don’t agree what they sing about but they are considered to be the first hardcore punk band. They sound good, just don’t listen to their lyrics. ;)), and a personal favorite of mine X-Ray Spex. Click on the links to read some of the histories of the bands.

Listening to punk is two-folds: listening to the songs plus knowing the band histories. It’s common punk knowledge that Sid Vicious from the Sex Pistols killed his girlfriend Nancy in the Chelsea Hotel and then died of a heroine overdose. Plus, Sid was famous for his lock and chain necklace given to him by Pretender’s Chrisse Hynde. Sid was a horrible musician – he could barely play the bass. Then, there was the Germ’s Darby Crash, who was gay, and committed suicide. Joey Ramone from the Ramones is often referred to because everyone wants to sleep with him – it’s a joke, his brother even wrote a book entitled, “I slept with Joey Ramone.” Johnny Rotten has since did a butter commercial.

Early punk is often referred to as “77’s punk.” There are some punks who only listen to 77’s punk and considered that to be the only true punk. My personal opinion of some 77’s punk is that it was corporate punk with money making in mind. Like, the Sex Pistols were formed by Macolm McLaren and the “Sex” of the Sex Pistol is from the name of his clothing shop. Some of the punk look was original started by Richard Hell and was taken by McLaren and Vivienne Westwood to make the big bucks. The Sex Pistols were signed to a major record label. That’s not DIY it’s EMI. Punk was about rebellion for a half a second but was really about the money. However, along came the 80’s and the punk band that would live up to what punk is supposed to be. Their name was Crass.

1980’s

Anarcho-Punk

Crass was the ultimate embodiment of punk rock. They took the idea of anarchy seriously, were activists, and pacifists. Now-a-days, you can find Crass t-shirts at Hot Topic which is why I said they were punk rock. They used to sell their music at little above printing cost. Spreading ideas mattered more than money. Crass even stopped the Falklands War by releasing a disinformation tape of Roland Reagan talking to Margaret Thatcher that got the British public so upset that the war was put to an end. Punk is the only subculture to ever have stopped a war. Which is one of the reasons why if people are going to box me into a box – I’d like it to be punk. Crass sounds very crass but their lyrics are amazing. My favorite cd of theirs is Best Before 1984. My favorite song is Big A, Little A, Bouncing B. They were as punk rock as punk rock could be. They are the founders of the punk genre known as anarcho-punk. Some other anarcho-punk bands worth listening are Flux of the Pink Indians, Conflict, Subhumans, and Amebix.

Plasmatics

I don’t know really what category to put this band into – so I’ll make them their own. The Plasmatics are AWESOME. Anti-corporate, anti-consumerism, and anti-materialism. The lead singer, Wendy O. Williams was in my opinion, the first riot grrrl. She promoted vegetarianism and animal rights before it was trendy. She blew up cars and did amazing stunts. She wasn’t the first person to wear a mohawk in punk but she was the first person who brought it to the mainstream. She was as tough as nails and amazing. She also killed herself 1998. I wish she didn’t, I would have loved to have met her. All their music is awesome. She was a real threat to the establishment.

Hardcore Punk

The 80’s was the time of hardcore punk. Most notably: Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Reagan Youth, Dead Kennedys (Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables + all their stuff is good) and Social Distortion. I never really listened to Social Distortion but they are one of the better known punk bands. I see t-shirts and stuff for them all the time so they might be worth listening to. Also worth mentioning is the Misfits who were the first horror punk band.

1990’s

This is the decade that some punk bands started making it big. This is the decade of “selling out” and the birth of the “Hot Topic” punk. If you want to know about Hot Topic punk – go to your nearest Hot Topic or browse their cataloged online. Warp Tour and all that – not punk. Time period of lots of people thinking they are punk rock when they aren’t. I’ll waste no more time on them. Two big things happened during the 1990’s: the birth of riot grrrl and queercore.

Riot Grrrl
Notice something funny about almost all the punk bands mention until now except for X-Ray Spex, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and the Plasmatics? Yep, punk music is dominated by men. There have been very few female punk musicians. Riot Grrrl for a brief time changed that. The girls going to Evergreen University in Olympia, WA were tired of it. Riot Grrrl is credited with being founded by either Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill or Allison Wolfe of Bratmobile. Both bands which I recommend listening too. Huggy Bear was a U.K. riot grrrl band which are pretty awesome too. Anyways, it was all DIY with zines, political actions, and activism. This ladies shared their rage with the world.

Queercore

What’s better than pissed off ladies? Pissed off queers. My favorite genre of music which very few people even know about – Queercore. Queercore is about being discontented with the agenda of gays and lesbians to assimilate and oppressing other minorities to try to fit into society. This was all DIY through zines, art, writing, and film. Bands to listen to: Fifth Column, Pansy Division, Sister George, Team Dresch (my favorite queercore band!!!!! Both albums rock. Listen to them NOW.), Tribe 8 (Love the song “Wrong Bathroom” by them.), and Limp Wrist. I also highly recommend checking out The Need and Cypher in the Snow. Both very underrated and awesome.

Punk Rock 101: Dressing “punk” verses being Punk

December 15, 2009

There are lots of people out there who dress “punk” but very few punks. If all the kids who talked the talked, walked the walked, the world would be amazing. But this is not the case. Most of the time these punks are little more than frat boys in leather jackets. My friend Alex suggested that I write about the difference.

First off, anyone who claims to be a “real” punk is a poseur. It is impossible to be a real punk in capitalistic America. From the clothes you wear to the food you buy to the gas that gets you around – someone is being exploited. No one’s hands are clean. We are all guilty by association or are we the mere victim of society? Anyways, the crust punks you see begging for change for money to do drugs: not punk. They are still living off the system by being leeches. They still depend on money and the system. Plus, they smell bad and are annoying. Most of the time, when they are done playing street rat, they have a trust fund waiting at home.

Drinking, doing drugs, and smoking: Not punk rock. The beer you drink is made by some corporation that is doing evil things to the world. The drugs you buy are transported and damage lives. The cigarette companies are terrible plus harmful to the environment and yourself. Putting chemicals in your body is self-destructive and irresponsible. Imagine if people stopped smoking, doing drugs, and drinking and put that money and time to changing the world: that’s punk rock.

Being punk is all about a mindset. It’s about thinking for yourself, being independent, and not a sheep. Most people who dress punk are assholes and violent – thanks to the media representation of punk rock to give punk rockers a bad name. A real punk is probably one of the nicest people you will ever meet because they know the world is a cesspool and the only way things are going to change is if the people change. Be that change.

People who are activists are punk rock. People trying to make the world loving, tolerant, equal, and free from oppressions are punk rock. People wearing a punk uniform and doing what they think they should do rather than what they know they should do: not punk rock. People getting an education to change the system from within: punk rock. Someone dressing punk who listens to punk music but remains ignorant: not punk rock.

Listening to punk music doesn’t make you punk rock. Dressing in punk clothes doesn’t make you punk rock. Being DIY (do it yourself), learning, growing, and sharing are all punk rock. Just being a good human being is punk rock.

Punk Rock 101: A Vegetarian Queer Punk’s Guide to New York City

December 11, 2009

There aren’t many queer punks in NYC. I was one of maybe 10. The days of Meow Mix and riot grrrl are long gone. Most of NYC’s lesbian scene is lipstick lesbians modeling their life after the L-Word or hipsters who talk a lot and drink PBR but don’t do much. There’s a lot of segregation in the queer scene in NYC – depending on the color of your skin and economic class determines which parties you’d go to. I didn’t like that. I wish all the queers would unite and work together to fight against being oppressed. I tried to change it by putting on a couple of concerts trying to invite everyone to come but it didn’t really work.

Anyways, NYC is really big and corporate. That’s why I left but there are a handful of places that are DIY (do-it-yourself) or worth checking out.

First place on my guide is Abc No Rio. Abc No Rio is in the Lower East Side at 156 Rivington Street.  It has a mix of everyone.  There are punk shows every Saturday at 3pm.  There’s also a zine library, a dark room, a silkscreen studio, and a computer lab all open to the public (hours of opening vary – check out their website for details).

A couple of blocks away at 152 Ludlow Street is the Cake Shop which has live music, sells vegan, and non-vegan treats. The Cake Shop is also home of the ONLY Queer Punk Party QxBXRx which happens once a month hosted by one of the boys from Limp Wrist. It’s usually mostly boys with a handful of girls but it’s a good scene – good social scene not a cruising scene. There’s usually a few queer bands that play and it’s a fun time.

Around the corner from the Cake Shop is Bluestockings Bookstore. It is located at 172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington. It’s an activist center, a fair trade cafe (not much food – more drinks), and bookstore. There’s all sorts of books there from activism, anarchy, queer theory, queer literature, women’s studies, and anything else alternative you can think of. They also host events almost every night, so check out their calendar.

About 8 blocks away and an avenue or two over from Bluestockings is St. Mark’s Place (2nd – 3rd Avenue on 8th street is the main strip) which was home to all things radical in the past. It’s has a few cool stores like Trash and Vaudeville which has anything punk you can dream of. There’s also Search and Destroy which has lots of military surplus clothing. There’s also lots of little stores on the street selling all sorts of things – it’s a cool place to check out. While you there, stop by Mamouns Falafel at 22 St. Mark’s Place for really good and cheap eats. If pizza is more your thing, 2 Bros Pizza is just a few doors down and has dollar pizza.

If you head on over to the West Village, the best punk record store in the city is Generation Records located at 210 Thompson Street. They have all the punk you could want and then some. There’s also a couple of cool chess shops on the street which might be worth checking out.

That’s about it for punk places to visit. However, there’s a handful of other neat places that I think is worth mentioning. In the West Village, there’s Red Bamboo and VP2 which are amazing vegetarian restaurants owned by the same people. You should definitely save room for the vegan cakes made by Vegan Treats which are driven into the City every Tuesday. Atlas Cafe in the East Village also has cakes by Vegan Treats but for some reason they never taste as good as Red Bamboo’s. Atlas Cafe has some great faux meat sandwiches. I also recommend Quantum Leap which has two locations – one in the West Village and one in the East. They have the best veggie burgers I’d ever had.

Bonus: Where to get Tattoo’ed/Pierced in NYC

If you want awesome tattoos, your going to have to pay for them but it’s worth it. It’s a lifetime investment. I got my ink done at NY Adorned. My artist has since moved to Austin or I would recommend her. I get compliments on my tattoos all the time – and they are some of the best I have seen. However, the guy who worked the front at NY Adorned was really rude but all the artists are amazing so pay no attention to him. If you want to get pierced, I’d go to Daredevil Tattoo which is also home of LeRoi Jewelry which specializes in all things piercings. Daredevil also does some amazing tattoos so I would check them out. I’ve also been told Invisible does awesome tattoos. There’s a couple of other good places that I can’t remember their names, but that should be enough to get you started.

Update: Bars

I don’t really like bars or hang out at them due to being straightedge – but there’s a few bars where you might run into some punks or queers or if you are really lucky queer punks.

Manitoba’s – Owned by a lead singer of a punk band. I went here once and it was very hetero and normal so I wasn’t impressed but maybe you just need to caught it on the right night. It’s located at 99 Avenue B between 6th and 7th street.

Double Down Saloon – I’ve been here a few times and hung out with some punks. Not very queer but I did run into a queer girl. Awesome jukebox with lots of punk. It’s located at 14 Avenue A.

Mars Bar – Located at 25 E 1st St – it’s totally a punk rock dive bar. I’ve never been inside – I stopped out front of it while some of my friends talked to some punks inside. I heard from the reviews that it’s really dirty, but a little dirt never scared off a punk, right?

I never ran into any punks here except for myself but my favorite lesbian bar in New York City is The Cubby Hole located at 281 West 12th Street. It’s really tiny and it gets really crowded but the crowd is usually pretty diverse – boys and girls. Everyone was really friendly when I went.

Bar Bonus: Brooklyn

I sometimes would venture out to Brooklyn and go to The Metropolitan which on Wednesday Nights is full of hipster dykes. It wasn’t really punk rock but the age crowd is 20-30’s usually when sometimes the Cubby Hole is 30-beyond. Also, a party worth mentioning is Choice Cunts ran by the Gaysha which is a monthly “raw party for rare queers”. Sometimes it only has like 20-30 people at the party other times it can have 300 – it’s a real hit or miss but it’s worth checking out if you’re around. It’s mostly girls but there’s sometimes a handful of gay boys. It’s about as alternative as the queer scene gets in Brooklyn.

Punk Rock 101: Wearing Bullets

December 4, 2009

I have a tendency to wear bullets (empty shell casings). I have a few bullet belts, a bullet wallet chain, and bullet on a chain necklace. The idea of wearing bullets is to make people think. When something is out of sight, out of mind, like war being an ocean away it’s easy to pretend it doesn’t exist. The idea is to confront people and make them think about what their tax dollars are doing. It’s a protest. I am an anarcho-pacifist punk – so war is the last thing I want being served.

Today, I was confronted by airport security guards about wearing my bullet chain – a chain with some bullet shells on it. They didn’t like it because it might make people feel “uncomfortable.” Here, in captalistic America – it’s not PC to make other people uncomfortable and think. Being that I was in a zone with zero rights, I wasn’t about to explain my position that making people uncomfortable is kind of the idea so maybe they think about what’s going on in the world. That war is real and not just something you hear about on television. Anyways, the guards let me go with my chain as long as I agreed to be censored and keep the harmless bits of metal in my pocket since someone might be upset by it. What happened to my freedom of expression?