Punk Rock Academy

Home > Essays > Don't Know How To Quit (Or, The Days Of Zines And Bruises)

Don't Know How To Quit (Or, The Days Of Zines And Bruises)

By Scott Puckett

I'm not sure if it's a character trait or failing - I've never known when to say when. My instincts never tell me to throw in the towel; usually, they say I only need to land one more punch. The ref can count to 10 all he wants and hold up other people's hands in victory, but I've never believed that it's his call. As long as I can get back on my feet, counting's got nothing to do with it.

And most importantly, I'll know when it's time to hang up my gloves.

Some people don't.

My ears are still ringing from The Misfits show - if you could call it that - last night. I was there to help out a friend by handling his band's merch. And I damn near cried because it wasn't much more than a lifeless, hollow, ghoulish spectacle of nostalgia. Jerry Only lived up to his name - he's the sole remaining member. Marky Ramone sat in on drums. Dez Cadena played guitar.

Sure, they played Misfits songs. They played Ramones songs and even worked in a Black Flag song or two, but what was the point? It seemed like a stadium rock show in a small club pandering to kids who didn't know any better ... but should.

There was nothing there. No spirit. No life. No guts. And certainly no glory beyond the fawning of people who weren't there in the first place. For $20 per ticket.

I'll give Jerry credit - he stayed and talked to every single person who wanted to talk to him. Photos, autographs, the works. He hugged kids, ruffled their hair, mugged for the camera - he did it all. He worked as hard after the show as he did during the show and I can respect that.

But when does a band stop being a band? When is it time to call it a day?

After all, the Sex Pistols are back together. Again. They're doing a show with the Buzzcocks, the Adolescents, the Vandals, the Circle Jerks, Social Distortion, the Damned, G.B.H. and T.S.O.L. Bobby Steele is touring with The Undead. I don't even want to know who else has hopped on the revival circuit bandwagon. It's hard enough to deal with the bands I once loved who are tarnishing every last memory I had of them.

Everywhere I look, aging punks are swooping in to reap the benefits of punk's renewed popularity. It wouldn't be so bad if they were still creating something vital, if they were even capable of creating something new and interesting, something that speaks to corners of the soul that pop music ignores. But that doesn't happen. They just pull out the same old songs but those words have a different meaning when they're accompanied by the sound of cash registers ringing.

I've been standing steadfastly in the way of pop-punk for some time now, contending that cloying love songs have little to do with punk rock, that most contemporary pop-punk acts are little more than boy bands with guitars. And now I find myself standing in opposition to punk rock nostalgia, reunion tours and musicians cashing in on former glory. I find myself opposing most of punk for the simple reason that these bands are trading on who they once were. And while I've said it before, it bears repeating - punk rock is not about who you were. It's about who you are and, more importantly, who you will be.

I realize I'm only one person and that my opinion doesn't matter much, but if this is punk rock, then I'm against punk. If those washed-up musicians are punkers, then I'm against them, regardless of who they are. And if you're in favor of this, I'm against you as well.

Back To Top

Last modified on Wednesday, March 26, 2008