You know how I know that the kids are all right? Because their punk sounds nothing like mine.
When I was the age to be shitfaced and diving in Bushwick at midnight my punk was still bar chords, leather and sleeves. It singalongs and scene talk and “unity” and some of it was heavy but most of that was metal or pigfucker or post-hardcore and very little of it was ever terribly political beyond the pro forma “fuck the cops, smash the system, parents just don’t understand” and – yes – I understood that what I was reveling in was nothing like the dead-eyed days of CBs or Max’s but we still called it punk and we still thought ourselves punks for being a part of it.
And I’m sure there are kids today who still love that shit as much as we did. There must be. Rancid’s still touring and so is NOFX and Screeching Weasel and Bad Religion and the Bouncing Souls and Social D and Blink 182 those bands and their ilk have all spawned a thousand and one sons and that’s cool and that’s great but that’s not punk. That’s Steve Miller touring the last forty years on a greatest hits record. That’s “Radar Love,” at best.
Base fun rolling off a bygone tongue.
Moor Mother is punk: Pummeling, poetic and proud of her skin, her gender, the history she’s made for herself in stark defiance of the oppressive millennia. Lee Bannon is punk: noise as dance/dance as noise, stripping the erstwhile jungle sound from the British Isles for the mania of Sacramento. B L A C K I E is punk: I against I, blood against blood, a twenty minute no wave passage performed in the dark with borrowed saxophone, screaming without a microphone at no one, at the shadows, the exit. Show Me the Body is punk: Hardcore banjo without bullshit, frantic rhetoric, Bronx/Queens nativity screeds, skin, stands, boots, howls flying overhead.
It was a gig unlike any I’d ever seen.
And the kids went fucking apeshit.