The Heart of Punk Culture

Music has always been the catalyst for various cultures in the urban jungle. Hip hop, rap, grunge rock, metal rock, death rock, R&B, emo rock, alternative music, techno music and opera music are just some of the types of music that have evolved into a whole culture itself. One of the most fascinating and often misunderstood cultures influenced by music is known as the Punk culture. In order to understand the culture of Punk it is important to look at Punk music first.

Punk rock has evolved in the United States between the years 1974 and 1976. At the same time, this genre of rock music has also developed in countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia. This rock genre is rooted from another genre of rock known as garage rock. What made Punk rock distinguishable from all the other types of rock music in the world today is that bands from this genre create fast beat, hard edged music. Typically, these songs are quite short and they put heavy emphasis on the instruments used by the band especially on the guitar and drums. Their lyrics usually revolve around issues like politics and anti social behavior, often bearing a direct resemblance to the person who wrote the song or even the entire band.

Notable Punk rock bands in the United States in the 1970’s are groups such as The Clash, Sex Pistols and of course, the band considered to be the forerunner of this genre of music, The Ramones. The Ramones in particular is undoubtedly one of the most popular Punk bands in the 1970’s and even today. They were formed in New York and the band members all adopted a stage name which ended with Ramone. Their success is highlighted by the song Blitzkrieg Bop which is considered to be the “National Anthem” of Punk culture. The song starts with the infamous “Hey Ho, Let’s Go!” chant and continues on with heavy instrumentals with a very catchy theme.

Although the band never had any significant commercial success, their influence throughout the underground music industry and Punk culture can be felt until today, most notably the drummer’s shouting of “1, 2, 3, 4” before the song starts to indicate the beat of the next song. With just four chords and a single major tempo, they were recognized as the first real Punk band.

Punk culture, much like the music and its lyrics, is one wherein the person is anti social or anti authority which is why this lifestyle is usually seen to be an unfavourable one. But in my view, it’s really just misunderstood. They are more inclined to agree with the ideas of individualism and an anti establishment mindset. Simply put, trying to be different in order to become more comfortable with one’s self is the primary objective of this culture or lifestyle. I will be the first to admit that there are some who take this idea to the extreme. But I cannot find fault with the core principle of fierce individualism and free thinking. After all, isn’t it the non conformists of the world, the ones who aren’t afraid of striking out in bold new directions, the sort of people who frequently accomplish great things? And if nothing else, they do make life more interesting.