Open Letter: Punk Rock

I got a myspace friend request from a band called “Hey Stroker” ( http://www.myspace.com/heystrokeroc ). Here’s what they have to say about themselves:

Hey everyone you probably haven’t heard of us yet but we’re Hey Stroker a melodic, punk-rock from Mission Viejo, CA in Orange County. Some people say we’re sort of like the Beach Boys playing intriguing pop-punk. We combine screaming guitar leads with punchy bass lines, pounding drum beats, and the well-crafted lyrical and vocal arrangements. Everyone says we sound like Blink 182 but, we don’t. We have a high-octane, radio-friendly sound that’s all our own so whoever says we are a Blink 182 rip-off, FUCK YOU! Activities we enjoy include partying, drinking beer, and surfing thats why most of our music is about chiks, beer, surfing, ex-girlfriends(aka hos), or various parts of the human body mainly pussy, tits, and ass.

Okay. Guys? Punk rock may or may not be melodic, but it’s not radio-friendly, nor is it about “chiks, beer, surfing…” etc. Punk rock lyrics are sometimes about beer and sex, or surfing, but that’s not the point. Punk rock is liberation. When I say “liberation,” I mean liberation from stupid money-grubbing capitalism, consumer culture, war, educational credentialism, smooth nice music, bourgeois sensibilities, bigotry, oppressive politics, official anything, corporate media, TV, suburban self-satisfied smugness, and unthinking racial and gender assumptions. Punk rock is D.I.Y. instead of buying or copying shit. Punk Rock is about being polite to the cop and flipping off the mayor, because the mayor is the problem and the cop is just a worker. Punk rock is about communicating everything above with hard, rough, unrefined and uneducated noise and having a fucking great time doing it and sharing it with everyone else.

In sum, punk rock is about liberation from you. Dump your privilege and your expensive guitars, stop imitating, and start over. You’re still young and you have a chance at the real thing.

Punk rock saved my life. Don’t shit all over it for five bucks when you don’t even know what it is.

28 thoughts on “Open Letter: Punk Rock

      1. We’re DIFFERENT, Bro!
        “black nail polish? ‘coz we’re different, just like everybody else.”
        …and Papa Roach doesn’t sound like a sped-up Smashmouth, either.

  1. As an outsider (though I listened to a lot of the music, I never considered myself punk, either of the D.Boon or the frosted-tip OC teenager variety), I think this battle has long been lost and the bad guys won.

  2. Oh god I really hope you send this to them. Please do. It would be a mitzvah.
    “punk” with people like this simply means an excuse to make all your songs out of 16th note palm muted powerchords and sing simple choruses. Not that I know anything about punk.

  3. Also, I love the paradox of “we are original and don’t sound like blink” and “we are radio friendly.” WTF? It’s like they just cut up a couple different A&R execs poorly-written descriptions of bands and stuck them together.

  4. “Punk rock lyrics are sometimes about beer”
    Sometimes the BEST punk lyrics are about beer!
    $35 and a six pack to my name
    six pack!
    Spent the rest on beer so who’s to blame?
    six pack!
    They say I’m fucked up all the time
    six pack!
    But I know they’re a waste of time
    six pack!
    I know it’ll be o.k. When I get a six pack in me, that’s right
    My girlfriend asked me which one i like better
    six pack!
    I hope the answer don’t upset her
    six pack!
    I was born with a bottle in my mouth
    six pack!
    Now I’ve got six so I’ll never run out
    six pack!
    I know it’ll be o.k. When I get a six pack in me, that’s right
    $35 and a six pack to my name
    six pack!
    Spent the rest on beer so who’s to blame?
    six pack!
    They say I’m fucked up all the time
    six pack! But I know they’re a waste of time
    six pack! six pack! six pack! six pack!

  5. See, this is why I hate musicians.
    Thank you for that cathartic rant. I wish I could make a bunch of copies, go down to my local rehearsal studios and start affixing it with a staple-gun to the forehead of every guitarist I see.

  6. “Punk rock saved my life.”
    That is a story that I really want to hear.
    I suspect that by “melodic, punk-rock” they meant, “we prefer not to bother to tune our instruments.”

    1. Me too
      Second on “punk rock saved my life.” I’ve been saying that for years. Not sure I could articulate exactly how. Maybe the flash of recognition the first time I heard California Uber Alles illuminated things that had been hiding unseen in the shadows.

      1. Re: Me too
        We’ve got a much, much bigger problem now. And thanks. I was thinking of the Minutemen’s “History Lesson Part II” when I wrote that.

    2. Kinda the reverse. They are well-tuned, have $1500 guitars purchased by their parents, their jeans are new and pressed, and they think “punk” means fast loud music. It’s the terrible revenant of Power Pop from beyond its cold, cold grave.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.