Oct 032012

Care to tell us about the day you went punk? (*Or indie or goth or whatever—it’s all part of a similar coming of age process.) Come on, I bet most of us still recall that special moment when we crossed the threshold and made our first bold punk rock statement. Remember when James Franco‘s Daniel went punk on Freaks and Geeks to impress a cute punk girl?

Remember when your humble and usually centered Moderator crossed the line? Of course not. I do. I know Andyr remembers. I think he went punk that same day. Our high school band, The Zone, went out to an abandoned lot behind Philadelphia’s then-crumbling (now completely closed) Byberry Mental Hospital (aka Philadelphia State Hospital). There was a big mound of dirt and rubble back there among the discarded beer bottles and cigarette butts. I did my best to pull together some paramilitary-style punk gear like my heroes, The Clash. I greased back my hair and tried to look disdainful as a friend snapped photos of us standing on the mound of dirt and rubble. I think that photo exists in my youngest son’s room somewhere. It was buried in an old night table drawer at my Mom’s house. I’ll see if I can find the picture and better share with you The Day I Went Punk.

Did you ever "go punk" (or indie or goth or whatever)?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

  22 Responses to “The Day You Went Punk*”

  1. Do we have less Afterschool Punks in the Halls of Rock than I imagined, or are you people too scared to share?

  2. Would you guys like to hear about the day I went indie?

  3. Definitely. Punk, indie, goth, what have you. I see this move as part of the same coming of age process. Thanks.

  4. misterioso

    I didn’t go punk. I was always punk. I’m the punkiest punk that ever punked.

  5. Slim Jade

    I grew up in a town that invented prep (think: Stepford Wives) and the reigning sound (think: Dazed and Confused) was Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Steve Miller, and disco.

    I heard rumblings of punk because I lived so close to NYC, and there was outrage about the Pistols in Newsweek, but no one was curious about investigating any of that. People who had even heard of Bowie or Iggy were forever shunned as weirdos in my environment.

    I read an article on “London Calling” when it was released, and the text claimed that The Clash were bound to go to Stone’s-level achievement.

    Nothing like that was to be found at any retail store in my town (Caldor’s anyone? Bradlees?), so on a field trip to NY, my class went to the Museum of Natural History, and I headed for a record store.

    The bus trip back was full of talk about dinosaur skeletons, stuffed elephants and Maori canoes, while I held my shrink-wrapped equivalent of the Rosetta Stone in my lap. It was never the same after that.

    Later, I too shredded my shirts, donned a leather jacket, pierced my ear with a safety pin (hard to sleep on), and hung a Union Jack from my ceiling.

    Interesting that there’s always been a punk/prep connection. For many of us, it was the ticket out.

  6. I’ve never been a fashion forward guy and am usually late to the party on trends so while that means I did not get to go punk when it would have mattered, it also means that I never had a mullet either.

  7. 2000 Man

    Like one of my favorite songs says, You’re not Punk, and I’m telling everyone. Save your breath I never was one. I never really “went” anything, but I know when I heard The Sex Pistols I listened to music a lot differently after that. I remember friends of mine had a “Punk” party so they could make fun of Punks, and they all swore I looked just like some kid from England, where most of them looked like guys in drag or girls with lot’s of glitter (I don’t know why, they didn’t understand Punk at all). But I thought the most Punk thing I did with that costume was to make a homemade Oingo Boingo T Shirt. Like I said, they didn’t know what Punk was. It was a fun party, though.

    I always wore clothes like the Grunge kids did in the 90’s. I had long hair so if I went to Punk shows people commented sometimes. I always said I didn’t want to look like everyone else, but I never liked a lot of Punk style anyway. I liked looking like 1972, and if I didn’t look like 1972, I would have looked like 1957. My mom could get my hair perfect, with a DA or a pompadour if I wanted. I kind of liked the DA. I thought it was pretty cool looking with long hair.

    I just like guitars. I’m not picky. If Punkers can’t do it for me, some lunkeaded Canadian will blast Power Chords at me and that’s good enough, too.

  8. 2000 Man

    Yeah! I didn’t go Punk, Punk went ME!

  9. Suburban kid

    I have an eerily similar picture around somewhere. It wasn’t the day I went punk, but it was the day I recorded it for posterity. I’m not going to post it though.

    I went punk before I went punk when I was browsing through a pile of unwanted promo posters at the local record shop, and came across a huge poster for The Clash Give Em Enough Rope album. I thought The Clash sounded cool and brought the free massive poster home and put it on my wall. It was probably six months before I heard an ad on the radio promoting a local date on The Clash’s ’79 U.S. tour. Brief clips of I Fought the Law was my first exposure to their music — it sounded like fun sixties rock with an aggressive and cool British veneer. Just the thing to bridge me away from Zeppelin and the Stones.

    I didn’t go to that concert, but I did buy their first album, and it sounded so strange and yet so serious. I went another six months listening almost exclusively to that record before I starting buying more punk records and getting “converted”. I think the process was completed when I went to my first punk gig — Black Flag.

  10. I did go see The Clash in ’79 (I’d just turned 16, I think). I was into the music, because I’d caught on early to the fact that there were college radio stations broadcasting out of Boston, and they were playing music the commercial stations weren’t (and even WBCN had that dj, Oedipus, who started with a late night punk/local band/new wave show…He later became the station manager. I definitely didn’t attempt any kind of “look” until much later, after high school (Chickenfrank & I grew up in the town that, if it didn’t invent prep, certainly perfected it. It’s where George W. Bush went to high school…though we went to the public school, it was all extremely preppy). I think it was when I was in my sophomore year at college that a punky friend’s punky girlfriend cut my hair into a punky/rockabilly style and I started wearing thrift store suit jackets/clothes, combat boots (before I switched to Doc Martin’s), and punk band t-shirts. So, yeah…when I was 19, in late ’82, I guess I “went punk”…about five years too late.

  11. misterioso

    I used to love Oedipus’ show–“Nocturnal Emissions.” I thought he was Mr. Cool for a while. Then he became a corporate fatcat and BCN sucked thenceforth. I wonder where he is now.

  12. Looks like he’s doing some good with the money he made: http://www.oedipus1.com/home/?page_id=2

  13. He was good “back in the day,” if I may use that annoying phrase for once. Looks like he’s keeping busy on the web these days:


  14. cliff sovinsanity

    When I was 9 my family bought me Chipmunk Punk for my birthday.
    I certainly loved New Wave (Devo, Blondie) at the time. So I guess it was their way of telling me I was punk, even though the album featured songs by Queen, Tom Petty and The Knack.

  15. I don’t know why that link posted twice…looked like it didn’t post at all the first time I tried it…any way to take that first one down? Actually, the first and Mod’s…they’re all for the same site…I just posted the “About” page, which ran through his history.

  16. misterioso

    I see! Thanks for this. This led me to find this rather hilarious article http://blog.thephoenix.com/blogs/onthedownload/archive/2009/07/15/my-baby-into-the-ground-oedipus-rips-wbcn-cbs-management-a-new-asshole.aspx

    The hilarious part is Oedipus’ insistence that BCN was still wicked awesome when he left in 2004 when, in reality, it had sucked since, at best, the mid 80s. Still, thanks for the memories.

  17. I can’t remember bothering with commercial radio stations at all past, I dunno, ’82 or ’83. Any new bands they played seemed to be Brit synth pop, which was never of much interest to me. The college stations were playing the stuff I wanted to hear. After ’85, I moved to New York, and that was that for Boston, as far as I was concerned. By the time I came back to the area in ’02, I don’t think I’d paid any real attention to radio, other than WFMU (and maybe Vin Scelsa’s show), for 17 years. I had no idea ‘BCN even lasted as long as it did, let alone that Oedi’d been running the show all that time.

  18. Happiness Stan

    23rd June 1977, age 14, I’d heard about this new fangled punk thing, which had so far made no impact on the town I grew up in. I’d been out with my mates and got back halfway through Top of the Pops, just in time to see this

    By the time I woke up the next morning I was a punk, and have been one ever since. It looks a bit tame now, it’s difficult to remember just how dismal music was over here in the mid-seventies

  19. That’s great. I’d never seen that clip. There are some serious bass chords going on there!

    I hope you weren’t thinking, by the way, that we had a more vibrant scene going on over here. Around the same time we were subjected to hits like this:

  20. sammymaudlin

    I grew up in Arizona and until MTV came around, DEVO on SNL was pretty much my only exposure to anything that the classic rock station wasn’t playing. My then girlfriend, now wife, had an older brother so in 1982 I got slightly deeper exposure to The Clash, Elvis Costello, Specials, Talking Heads and more.

    “Punks” were still only something I saw negatively portrayed on the news. I started to dress a little “new wave” and started to rough it up a tad once I got to college.

    My freshman year, 1982 still, I got my ear pierced and became I think only the third dude on campus to wear an earring. Shortly after the piercing I was at a frat party and some drunk jocky guy grabbed my earring, pulled it roughly and asked, loudly, “are you a fag?!” I said “no”. He said “then why the f@#$ are wearing this!” and pulled the earring harder.

    At this point other party goers were telling him to “calm down” and “back off” including, mostly actually, girls that were there. In fact it was always that girls that liked that I wore an earring. Anyhoo…the dude stomped out and I exhaled.

    To his “fag?” question I soooo wanted to say “Yes, but I’m taken. Sorry to disappoint you.” But opted to keep my earlobe in tact instead.

    I would wager that this guy got his ear pierced about 10 years later.

    I think at that moment I could’ve turned “punk” but opted out.

    Side note: about a year later we were throwing a rush party at my frat, (not your typical frat…seriously) and some dude comes in and is psyched that we were playing Sandanista (I think) at full volume. He comes up to me, with my earring and vintage 50’s shirt, and asks “are you the house punk?”

    I felt like opting out then too. That guy’s a doctor today.

  21. GREAT story, and I can attest that the frat referred to in the story was atypical.

Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube