Guest Blog: Where Are Today’s Proper Punk Bands?

[Tom is a regular reader who helpfully supplies links to a variety of cool and interesting stories. He does this so frequently that I suggested that he start writing full stories on his own. Here’s his first submission. – AC]

I am an old fart. I will admit it that my 45.5 years unavoidably classifies me as middle-aged. But at the risk sounding like an angry old man who pines for the good old days, I’m going to say this, anyway:  There are no true punk bands around today. Where have they all gone?

When The Ramones released their self-titled record in 1976, critics and mainstream music fans listeners were scared by the way The Ramones looked and sounded. The scaredy cats went into hyperdrive when The Sex Pistols influenced teenagers to wear shabby clothes, pins through various facial parts and spiked hair, creating an anti-social youth tribe that kicked against the British class system. Then the Clash appeared, adding some genuine political substance to the scene.

Rancid might be the closest thing to a true punk band–real, proper, authentic OLD SCHOOL punk–that we have today. There’s nothing “core” about them: not hardcore, not horrorcore, not punkcore (Is that even a genre? Probably somewhere.) They have stayed true to their  Clash and The Ramones influences, the two bands who wrote the book on how UK and US punk should work. They also remain committed to their Epitaph/Hellcat record label roots.

Other than Rancid, though, this old guy is finding the punk scene…lacking. Okay, so maybe we can include Social Distortion, Bad Religion and…well, maybe a few others. But as for true punk born from the spirit of the 70s? Not so much.

Green Day went pop-rock during their Nimrod era.  The Offspring went pop-rock for Americana.  Both contain hints of punk, but nothing close to the vibe off Dookie or Smash. Bands like Sum 41 and Good Charlotte? Makes me want to throw up when someone labels them as “punk.”

Today, there is absolutely no one, no band who epitomizes the original aesthetics of punk movement other than a very select few. The members of said bands are 40+, and, given today’s listeners, aren’t “hip” with the younger crowd. Vans Warped Tour? A caravan of sponsored by a shoe company.  Lollapalooza? It’s not like it was in the early 90s. How are punk bands to get the exposure to be followed? Social media is one way, but, as in the heyday of The Ramones & Sex Pistols, the record labels, critics & fans were scared by the look & sound.

How are punk bands to get the exposure to be followed? Social media maybe, but with the current environment–Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Kardashians–it’s all stuff that’s the opposite of the true scariness that punk once was.

Punk is on life support unless something drastically changes.

Read more here .

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Guest Blog: Where Are Today’s Proper Punk Bands?

  • January 11, 2016 at 11:33 am

    He simply needs to get his ear to the ground a little more. Bands like Propaghandi have been around for a long time now, and, up until the loss of their lead singer last spring, The Rebel Spell were well on their way. His complaint SHOULD be that there are none getting regular air play or mainstream exposure. It remains an underground scene that hasn’t had the break out that was seen in the late 70’s. Stop looking for your punk music on Amazon. Hit up your local indie record stores, or smaller venue concerts (just like CBGB’s…what a concept) and you’ll find what you’re looking for.


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