Where’s a Yuppie’s place in Punk Rock/Hardcore

Now, there’s a lot out there on what punk is and isn’t and who’s punk and what it sounds like and yadda yadda….Fuck all that.  This isn’t about that.  This is an honest attempt to understand my personal relationship with the genre, subculture, lifestyle…whatever you wanna call it…let’s see what happens. I am just reflecting as I write. I am sure I can expand and add to this later.  There are a lot of questions in this…some answered, some not.  I just want to get them down.  Also, prepare for some self indulgence.  So, without further ado…

I’ve decided to try and make sense of something that I could never quite fully understand…me.   For the last 10+ years I’ve identified and have been directly involved with the entity known as punk rock/hardcore.  I am not attracted to the violent aspect of the whole “scene” (for lack of a better term) or extremely driven by anger and angst, however,  sometimes some of those aspects surface in not-so elegant ways and they do so publicly, hah.  So, where does it come from?

Now, I’ve seen all the documentaries, know enough people involved in it and have done my share of reading/interview gazin’ to  know where it comes from with others, but do I quite understand it?  Do I have a right to understand it?  Is there a place in punk rock/hardcore for me at all?       I cannot directly answer these questions, but I have made it a point to make punk rock/hardcore part of my life for over ten years.  There’s something that draws me to it and I aim to get more of  grasp on it.   There’s something that draws me to a basement show to watch my friends play on a Friday night or to be playing this music with my friends with any ounce of free time I have rather than doing anything else that would fit into “adult” standards.  I know punk rockers generally don’t answer to anyone, but I feel like, in a way, my involvement, because of my background and upbringing, warrants some sort of justification.  Especially because it is something that is so sacred to some.  It’s a strange dichotomy where I have chosen to be part of something meant  for the alienated but feel alienated within it.

For those of you who know me, you know that I really have not had it bad at all, by any stretch of the standard.  I don’t come from a broken home; my parents provided for me (hell, I still live under a roof they provide! I definitley don’t take that for granted.), I’ve never wanted to run away and find out what “the streets” have to offer,  and as far as appearance,  I kind of just blend in AKA I live and look “safe” AKA “white noise.  So, what business does a suburban kid who still lives at home at 26 have in playing and delving into punk rock/hardcore at all?

As I reflect on this notion, I look past everything that lies on the surface such as appearance and socioeconomic status and I dig deeper into who I am as a person.  That person, who I’ve come to know not quite as well as I should, is an emotionally driven mid-twenties adolescent who strives to give back to something which defined him for years, but still feels somewhat out of place.  After little thought,  I pinpointed the connection between who I am and my connection to punk rock/hardcore to my emotion.  Those closest to me know that I am nothing short of an emotional dude and I can get downright dramatic at times.  Hell, some may even say I am an “emotional wreck.”  Why is that?  (Hooray for rhetorical questions.) Now, I’m not diagnosed with anything in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)  but of course, anyone can do a little research and literally drive themselves crazy with self diagnoses.  I’m not doing that.  I am just bringing this question forward as I try to understand and find my place in something that has kept  me going and involved through the years.

All I’m saying is that I have this emotional energy and it manifests itself through punk rock and hardcore music. However,  it does not stop there and I’m not saying this is the only area of music that has this sort of emotional energy nor is it the only type of music I’m into.  I have just chosen it as my personal outlet for expression and adhere to certain ethics within it.   

I am driven in other aspects of my involvement in it via playing it directly and I think that is where I “fit” into the whole thing.  For the past 6 or 7 years I have always alluded credit to my involvement in bands for keeping me focused with other aspects of my life such as school and work and even relationships (haven’t quite figured that one out yet!).  In other words and at the risk of sounding cheesy, it keeps me going- the fuel for my fire, if you will. hah  If I am having a rough week and I know I have a show coming up that I’m either attending or playing that weekend or in the middle of the week, that is all I need to cope with it and get through it to achieve something I deem as positive.

So yeah, as of now.  That is what I’ve come up with.  I can’t help what I like and what I’m into, but I can try to understand why, which has been the aim here- to get myself thinking livejournal ’99 style.  As I think about it more, I realize that I am mainly involved in it at a local level and I’m slowly losing interest in anything beyond that or on a “higher level.”  For example, I have Refused tickets for their upcoming reunion.  I am highly considering it to be my last big “concert.” Don’t hold me to that, but I just seem to get so much more out of experiencing music on a local and intimate level through people that I directly know deeper than a few lines on wikipedia.  I’m also extremely proud to have such talented and driven friends who are active in this music.  So, maybe my place in this whole thing is on a local level and rarely transcends that and maybe I’m thinking about this too much. hah

I started 2012 with an aim to focus my energy on things relevant.  With that said,  a lot of what my friends are creating this year, so far, has not fallen short of relevant and downright inspiring.  I mean just look “new music round-up” a few posts back.  We’ve started this year off well folks!  Here’s to showing no signs of stopping- hairlines may recede, but my interest in and passion for this will not.  Okay, enough about me.  Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences!

  -Paul

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Posted on February 5, 2012, in Stuff We Don't Like and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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