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How To Be Punk

Updated on November 22, 2011

How To Be Punk Rock 101

I wanted to write this hub about how to be punk as I feel that the whole idea of punk has been lost and in fact was lost extremely early on in the original punk days of 1976 when bands like the Sex Pistols and the Clash ruled the roost.

Like many others of my generation, I felt an instant energy when I heard those opening chords of Anarchy in the UK but I was still a little unsure about the image; after all, I didn’t feel THAT angry. But, being a male teenager, the adrenaline and testosterone soon started to flow and I threw myself into punk music; this also had the added benefit of really annoying my work colleagues as well as my parents.

However; whilst I liked the music, for me what really appealed most was the whole punk ethos of ‘do it yourself’ .. there was no need to wait for a major rock band to visit your town, you simply formed one yourself, however that was not an easy task in my small home town but I soon found other outlets. One of the things I really liked about punk rock was the fanzines that emerged. Of course, if the internet had been around they would never have happened; but it was great to get one of these photocopied magazines through the post and even more exciting when I had an article or poem that I had submitted, printed in it. This to me was how to be punk; it wasn’t the safety pins or the spitting (though that was nowhere near as common as many people think!), it was the emergence of new forms of art and ways of thinking, it was so not about dress code and indeed, it didn’t take long for that to be a travesty.

It was the drummer of punk band The Adverts, Laurie Driver who inspired me to take up the drums. I saw them at Lincoln with the Damned and to say he was basic is an understatement but the point is, he was on stage and they were creating something and there was no reason why I couldn’t. I bought my drum kit about a week later though I do wish I’d bought a guitar.

The Raincoats Knew How to be Punk
The Raincoats Knew How to be Punk

So when I hear people getting nostalgic for punk I get a bit irritated that it is the shallow part that they seem to have affection for. Those three chord thrashy bands could be great, don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun at those gigs, but it also opened the door for bands who wanted to create something that wasn’t mainstream, bands like The Slits, The Raincoats and many others.

So, if you really want to know how to be punk, just think for yourself, don’t rely on others to entertain you. Get out there and be creative, if they could do it then so could you.


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    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 6 years ago from North-East UK

      I was a big Stranglers fan but all my mates loved Sex Pistols, Sham 69, Adverts etc etc. I was 13 in 1976 and looking back now, I wondered what all the spitting on one another was about - we weren't angry either but music needed a shake up and punk brought a new sort of energy which we all fed on. Good hub - I took up the guitar by the way, not the drums, great times!