Punk rock is more than just a genre of music. It's an attitude, a lifestyle, a way of carrying oneself in the face of life's silly bullshit and tired assholes.
But if we can define what punk is, then we can define what punk isn't. And there's no sacred genre that's been more bastardized to hell and used for all the wrong reasons than poor old punk rock.
Punk is not a crime. But it's also not a marketing ploy to sell overpriced jeans, boring cars, or aspiring pop stars. However, all that's just the tip of the ice-berg in our list of least punk rock moments ever.
7. CBGB's Becomes a Boutique for Expensive Leather Jackets and Jeans
Since 1973, CBGB's was a mecca, a veritable headquarters for New York City's punk rock scene. It gave struggling, up-and-coming bands a place to showcase their messy, fast-paced jams. It was dirty, grimy and smelled like cigarettes, and it became as much an icon as the artists that hit its stage.
But when it could no longer pay the bills in 2005, CBGB's got scooped up and turned into an expensive fashion boutique, selling punk-rock jeans for the not-very-punk-rock price of $200. The new owner kept the iconography of the building intact. But was it the look of the place that really mattered?
6. "Good Riddance" Soundtracks Every Graduation and TV Show Finale Ever
When Green Day's megahit "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)" was released, it became the biggest sappy song of the '90s. The pop-punk forefathers seemed to strike a deep chord within us all. But then the song was beaten to death, making appearances in television finales, awkward high school prom dances, and graduation ceremonies for the rest of forever. It's not punk rock to sit around and sob about the end of a personal era.
5. This Car Is Not Punk Rock
In 1992, Jeremy Davies tried to convince MTV-addicted youth that this Subaru was like punk rock. He kept throwing around the word "relevant," as if that was some kind of password to their hearts and minds. But no Davies, being sold a car is never relevant to our apathy. And though it can take us places, it can't help us find ourselves. Fuck your car.
4. Warped Tour Discourages Foul Language on Stage
Everyone knows Warped Tour is like the Disney World of punk rock music. The lines are long, it's really hot, and the median age is under 15. That being said, Warped takes its family-friendly atmosphere a little too seriously, even discouraging musicians from singing their dirty words on stage. We remember being at Warped Tour in 2004 and watching Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional actually mute himself. Censorship is never cool.
3. Hot Topic Is Not About the Music
This mall-chain from hell was established back in 1988 when original CEO Orv Madden realized there was an underappreciated market for band t-shirts, thanks to everyone's new obsession MTV. Fast-forward to now, and Hot Topic has become synonymous with having no idea at all about music or how to dress yourself. The store's tagline, "All About the Music," should be: "All About Internet Memes, Comic Book Characters and Beating Something Till Its Dead." Does anyone even buy those CDs anymore?
2. Avril Lavigne is just terrible
Avril is the least punk rock human being in existence. She's the ultimate poser halfwit. Her music doesn't just suck. It's intellectually offensive. She started her music career as an aspiring country singer. But when that didn't work out, she decided to undergo a label makeover (i.e. skater jeans and a skinny tie), and -- ba-bam! -- overnight success. Dear Avril, you're trying to be cool, but you look like a tool to me.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
1. The Formation of the Sex Pistols Was not punk rock
Alright now, let us explain ... We're not saying that Johnny Rotten isn't punk. Or that the Sex Pistols' music wasn't punk. Or that the band's social statements weren't punk. Because they obviously were and the Pistols earned the right to turn down their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. As they did.
But how the Sex Pistols were formed was most decidedly anything but punk rock. English businessman, social experimenter, and recording artist Malcolm McLaren hand-picked the members as a sort of edgy boy band, designed to help him sell clothes at his girlfriend Vivienne Westwood's London store called Sex. As we've said before, punk rock is not about selling clothes. Still, we have to hand it to McLaren that his experiment turned out one of the best bands and tragic musical histories ever. But he still sucks.