If we were to use the Ramones S/T album as a birthdate, then the punk rock scene is officially 40 years old now. CBGB’s, once an iconic venue, is now a terribly depressing restaurant inside an airport at Newark, New Jersey (as if Newark wasn’t depressing enough already). Hipster doofuses wear Black Flag shirts, and rappers pay thousands of dollars for punk rock patched jackets that would have gotten a punk’s ass beat back in the day. Because there actually was a time when metalheads, punk rockers, and rappers didn’t get along. Now it’s all Kum-bay-fucking-ya as we hold hands into this post millenial sunset.
So, where does that leave me? Most people reach the magical age of 25, and their music playlists gradually become less rebellious and more repugnant. Not me though: my musical tastes have always been repugnant.
I do know one thing: the underground music scenes are as strong as they have ever been. Anyone with a computer, and even a cellphone with the right apps, can legitimately create demo-worthy music and can upload it to music listening sites for instant exposure. The demise of the traditional music label infrastructure has given birth to a new independent artist, one who knows as much about graphic design and tour routing as they do about proper EQ settings and mic placements. Of course, this was all par for the course in the punk/hardcore scenes, where booking your own shows and producing your own albums was born out of necessity. But now everyone is doing it, and I for one think it is a good thing. An informed artist is an empowered artist, and having knowledge about “the business end” is just as important as musical skill and creativity, if you want to be a successful artist.
As for me, I drag the old guitar out every now and then. I like to have “jam sessions” with my 2 year old son, in order to expose him to music. He loves it, and he already seems to be musically inclined just like his parents. I like to play along with old punk/hardcore records (tonight we played some Cro-Mags, Negative Approach, Sex Pistols, and Bad Brains), because its simple high energy music that toddlers seem to love, and because it’s about all I know how to play! Seriously though, I got to thinking of the “passing of the torch” by exposing my son to the same bands that I loved as a kid, and still love. Out of all the awesome things (and there are a lot) about being a parent, this is one of my favorite things.
At least until he gets old enough to realize how uncool it is to like the same music your parents like. The more things change, the more they stay the same…