Commentary

Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson is wrong about punk

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While punk isn't much better in terms of the aesthetic associated with it, the people playing it are still often genuine deviants, freaks and transients. There are punk shows regularly happening where people light their genitals on fire, hurdle giant pieces of broken glass into the audience, or huff glue out of a bowling ball. In metal, maybe once every four years some band throws a goat skull and gets sued immediately after. But in punk rock, this shit happens regularly. And it's absolutely fascinating -- but you don't hear about it.

Why not? Because you have to know people in order to find it. Yeah, you can spend hours researching punk blogs and downloading obscure cassette tapes, but then what? By the time any of these releases are available for download, about half of these bands have broken up. Those that are together rarely publicize their tour dates and many of them don't play legitimate venues. In order to know where to see a band that spray paints obscenities on themselves in the middle of their set, you have to get involved. You're forced to talk to people -- not only find out where shows are happening, but to help you navigate through the immense terrain that encompasses 40 years of obscure rock n'roll. There aren't PR companies that distribute the latest underground punk record to 50 different review sites. The easiest way to learn about punk music is to talk to people who are really into it.

Although there's people in any scene that use music sheerly as a place to drink and stare at their iPhones, the average punk community contains an oddly large amount of dedicated men and women who are proud to screw up their jobs, lose money booking bands, and stay up late with violent drunks for the sake of propagating art. And that's where Bruce Dickinson has it wrong -- neglecting the fact that there are (and always have been) people out there who are proud to be punk losers because it means they care about something bigger than themselves.

Besides, I'd rather have a few drinks and bike around at night rather than spend a few years learning how to fly a fucking plane.

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Drew Ailes
Contact: Drew Ailes

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