Cambridge Dictionary defines “punk” as “a style or culture popular among young people, esp. in the late 1970s, expressing opposition to authority through shocking behavior, clothes, and hair, and through fast, loud music.”
While this technically isn’t wrong, there’s a bigger picture that’s often overlooked when we generalize terms and ideas. Like any subculture, it evolves to meet the new challenges that need to be met. Punk is no different.
When typically asking people who don’t identify with the subculture to explain it, the answers usually follow amongst these lines: “white guys on drugs who play angry music.”
Within stereotypes of certain subcultures comes some truth. Even in the simplest way of viewing punk rock, it’s no surprise to imagine how, for outsiders, generalization becomes easy to rely on.
At one point, there was a lot of truth to those stereotypes, too. But as mentioned, punk has had the ability to evolve and adapt. Groups like Bad Brains, Minor Threat, and Bikini Kill reinforced this idea.
I originally wanted to call this zine “Up The Punx” after the Joyce Manor track, before unfortunately discovering that another zine had already taken the name.
Prior to that realization, however, I stumbled upon
another track by Fleas and Lice entitled “Up The Punx,” which really sold home me starting this project, “I don’t care if you got a mohawk or two, what counts is in your head. I don’t care if you’ve got piercings or tattoos, what counts is in your head.”
That, to me, is the true definition of what it means to
be a punk. It really is a case of what’s on the inside; to be
unapologetic while not being a dick, to be respectful of those who aren’t harming anyone by being themselves, to be understanding, and always question everything. That’s the name of the game in my eyes.
What it means to be punk might look and sound different today than it once did, but it still follows those same core ideals. That’s why I started this. I wanted to share stories of cool music and subsequently cool people too.
If anything about the subculture has remained the same, it would be that, sometimes, it works better to just do it yourself.
So thanks for reading this. I really hope you enjoy the time and effort of everyone who contributed to this. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without a team of people who believed in my blabbering.
Should you take anything from this, I can only hope that it might be to do what makes you happy, whether that going to a gig, starting a band, or creating a zine with a bunch of your friends.