Punk Rock is Aging

Over the past few years I’ve been listening to more and more punk music, both from the 70’s & 80’s and the contemporary standard bearers of the form. I missed out on the punk revolution mainly because I was a child at the time and not really in a position to experience music from outside the mainstream. That and for many years I foolishly confused punk with heavy metal, which I loathe.

Being 33-years old and two decades past punk’s prime I’m somewhat divorced from the revolutionary aspects of punk even as I’m appreciative of its sound. Two recent articles discuss this disconnect. In “Never Mind the Ipods” John Harris bemoans that punk rock is now just another commodity.

hat with an omnivorous media, the low hum of rock music accompanying our every waking moment, and a groovily permissive political class, how could any aspiring heirs to punk’s mantle make their mark? What hope for youthful irreverence when people in their late 30s treasure “edgy” CDs? Here’s one wonderfully symbolic difference between now and then. Whereas the punks attracted such thrilling opprobrium, any modern youngster in possession of a loud guitar and a grudge against the world stands a good chance of a fate that will kill any rebellious pretensions stone dead: inclusion on David Cameron’s iPod.

A more upbeat article by Jim Sullivan “Ageless punk rockers and the AARP” extols the virtue of punk to keep one feeling young even when a Buzzcocks’ song is used to promote the AARP.

[Buzzcock’s guitarist Steve Diggle said]”I [first] thought, it’s going to be bad for our image – it’s for old people. Then … I realized it was for people 50 and over and I realized me and Pete are over 50. But I kind of don’t gauge my life by my age.”

“When I was kid, growing up,” continued Diggle, “people who were 50 were pretty historic. Having arrived at the mark, … it’s not that bad. Rock ‘n’ roll does keep you at a level end; it’s ageless in a way, particularly in the mind. People still listen to rock ‘n’ roll at any age.

“There is a greatness about being old. You can still keep your dignity, if you keep your health and strength. It’s like climbing a mountain and being on top: You can see more than ever. I wouldn’t want to be any age other than what I am now.”

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