Y'all, We Have All Been Doing "Punk" Wrong

When you think of punk rock, images of a bloodied Sid Vicious in a leather jacket may come to mind. Skinheads flipping off a camera. Henry Rollins and Black Flag destroying a crowd in a basement. Jello Biafra jumping into a surging pit of people after screaming about holidays in Cambodia. The Clash singing about their safe European home. Maybe the Ramones thrashing through 20 songs in 20 minutes.

Or, you know, INXS, Erasure, Crowded House and the Cars revving up their biggest pop hits for a crowd full of skinny ties and Valley girls. Huey Lewis wailing about wanting a new drug, the Human League reminding us how human they are.

For the makers of this Punk compilation in the early '90s, punk wasn't safety pins, smashing the government, and getting drunk and screwing. It was Culture Club and Men at Work.

I can remember seeing this when it first came out, after a whopping seven or so years of existence under my husky jeans, and thinking, "That's not fucking punk."

So guys, we've all been going about this "punk" thing wrong. The regrettable tattoos, the piercings, the fights with your parents, the tattered and smelly hoodies, it was all bullshit. Who wants to set a police car on fire to the Thompson Twins' "Hold Me Now"? The line forms behind me, dudes.

(Actually, the compilation includes Devo and Billy Idol, who could both, MAYBE, be construed as punk when it comes to their early lineage, but come on, "Eyes Without a Face" is music to douche to, not throw an all-night rager in your squat.)

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty