By Ryan DeLarme,
October 31st, 2020
We privileged citizens of the western world tend to overlook one another’s character and rely more on our preconceived notions, making judgments based on appearance, lifestyle, even the music each other listen to. You might see a gal rocking a shaved head or a dude with purple hair and think to yourself “Oh they look alternative, they MUST be a liberal”. This may be true for most young folks attaching themselves to things they don’t fully understand, but you might be surprised what some of the actual punk rock pioneers have to say about modern politics.
Many are drawn to the genre out of a desperate desire to fit-in somewhere in a society that feels so broken and stale. The underground (non-mainstream) community emerged as a result of working-class angst and the frustrations many youths were feeling about economic inequality, the bourgeois hypocrisy, and neglect of working people and their struggles. The culture also dealt heavily in concepts such as rebellion, anti-authoritarianism, individualism, free thought, discontent and featured an array of ideologies; however, the decidedly pop-culture “punks” of today tend to gravitate more toward dissociated fascism, mob conformity, and the suppression of dissension by threat of violence. The “Array of ideologies” has been seemingly reduced to a single outlook after years of exponential indoctrination via college campuses, television, music, and really just “pop culture” in general. Today, more than ever, people have the tendency to build their entire persona after a certain look or lifestyle, without going beyond the surface level to learn about the culture behind the look. The punks of yesterday loathed the corporatocracy and its legacy media; today, they’d rather defend these corporations over the dwindling sovereignty of their own countries.
In the music world, most acts tend to be at their most pure before the corporate influence comes in and taints it all. This isn’t always the case, and there is much that can be gained from access to better producers, but not all of them care about artistic vision. Take Hip-Hop for example, in the beginning, the horizon was broad and the possibilities seemed limitless. In less than a decade the labels, agents, social trend strategists have set the message. Instead of rapping about community, Muslim faith, or romance, the message is more focused on Violence, criminality and excess – all of which feed the “War on Drugs” and the prison industrial complex money machine.
One of the greatest sins for any aspiring punk rocker or underground hip-hop artist was “selling out” to a label or corporation, Yet the neoliberal would-be “punks” of today rely on the corporate media and their favorite talking heads to tell them how to feel, what to think, and who to be. Ever wonder why you hear the same songs on the radio all the time? Here’s how the concept of “selling out” works from a musical standpoint in 2020: Major record companies pay radio stations thousands of dollars to play their records, That’s why you rarely, if ever, hear independent music on commercial radio. The record labels pay middlemen (independent radio promoters), referred to as “indies” who in turn pass on some of that money to radio stations (they get a portion too), which accordingly play what the promoters ask/tell them to. In exchange for paying the stations an annual promotion budget ($100,000 for a medium-size market), the indie becomes the station’s exclusive indie and gets paid by the record companies every time that station adds a new song. (yes, even your precious indie promoters are part of the system by design, if anyone actually believes the independent music scene is all self-regulated they are sorely mistaken. Don’t take it personally, It’s just business!)
As per Bomb Hip-Hop.com:
“The truth is that big business controls the types of music and artists that get exposure and become popular. The record industry is a $14 billion dollar business. The five major record labels; Sony, Universal, BMG, EMI and Time Warner dominate 85% of the market when it comes to sales of Compact Discs. Leaving only 15% for the hundreds of independent record labels and thousands of artists out there. And when indies get too big or an artist starts making noise these major companies usually pick up the artist or label. This way they control the artist/label, get a percentage of the sales and keep competition to a minimum.”
This sort of thing isn’t exclusive to the music industry, believe it or not, this is exactly how the news works as well. It’s funny that the quote mentions EMI, our first Punk-rock Trump Supporter has had an extensive history with the label…
Johnny (Rotten) Lyndon
“I’d be daft as a brush not to, he’s the only sensible choice now that Biden is up — he’s incapable of being the man at the helm.”
But doesn’t mean the punk figurehead won’t change his stripes if he feels he’s proven otherwise.
“If I’m wrong, I’m highly capable of correcting that,” Lydon added. “I’ve done that many times and I’ve had to. That’s why I love debate and conversation, because you learn from it. Don’t become entrenched in one opinion and get stuck there forever.”
John Lydon giving his take on BREXIT and Trump:
Fellow UK provocateur Riacky Gervais offers his own personal take on the singers actions:
In 2017 Glenn Danzig voiced his support of Trump’s “Travel Ban”
In an interview with the LA Times in 2017 he was quoted as saying:
“It’s really not a travel ban,” Danzig says. “When you walk into the country, we want to see who you are and what you’re doing. Well, when I go to every country right now, they look at me and they see whether I can come in or not. And I’ve been turned away from Canada and other places before. Where’s my protest? Where’s my parade?”
In response to Danzig’s statement, a writer at the popular Music blog and daily internet publication Sterogum sarcastically retorted: “Yes, because that’s totally the same thing. But hey, at least he’s pro-choice!” neglecting the fact that there are many far more nefarious things going on at the border besides immigration as well as highlighting Danzig’s ability to see beyond partisanship to support certain decisions made by the administration.
Instead of opposing the whole system, now we see that over recent decades (coinciding with establishment infiltration) niches have been taken up within the establishment system punk rock once sought to break free of. In the Bush Jr. era Age of Anti-Flag and Bad Religion to fit in I had to be a democrat and into anarcho-communism or “social anarchy” which sounds nice on paper to somebody who was raised under a negatively polarized capitalist system instead of negatively polarized communist or socialist systems. A spiraling battle ensues between capitalists and communists over which system is better and not considering that like a computer’s operating system, whether its a MAC or a PC or LINUX it depends on how the system is used and regardless which system is chosen a level of trust is being heavily placed upon whoever sits at the helm. In modern times, when every society on earth is being lied to routinely by their own national intelligence agencies, it’s hard to be certain either system won’t be used as an opportunity in the minds of the cold and calculating types who steer our world from the confines of international foreign policy think-tanks.
The hostile, hardcore anti-conservative stigma of modern Punk Rock probably has Joey Ramone’s desiccated carcass barrel-rolling in his grave. In an interview with Newsmaxtv, drummer and last surviving member Marky Ramone reminisces on political debate while touring the country in their Ford Econoline.
“Johnny was a conservative and Joey was a liberal… So the arguments would go back and forth about why, what for, what’s the reason, you know the usual generalized stuff, but then they would get very specific.
Marky said he and his bandmates — none of whom were related although they all used the name “Ramone” — knew the value of having the freedom to debate, and they loved it.
“That’s the country we live in, thank God, and we’re able to do that. So I respect people’s politics,” he said.
It’s understandable Thinking “if it’s new it will be better than what we’ve got” assuming that if things were to change the powers that be would simply relinquish control instead of using the opportunity to enhance control under the guise of a rebranded political “revolution” with a top-dollar marketing campaign.
Just about every alternative subculture/counterculture has been thoroughly infiltrated, absorbed, and commercialized in some form or another. Nothing of cultural significance remains organic and sacred for long without drawing the attention of that thing, the very thing many of these counter cultures sprang up in opposition-of, to begin with. The thing has had many names: the Establishment, Corporate America, the financial elite, the 1%, Big Brother, the Man, etc. Nothing is allowed to grow naturally in the collective mind without being sucked into the big-money maelstrom of sh-t. It is the gruesome marriage between wide-reaching, international corporate conglomerates, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Military-Industrial Complex, Hollywood, and Big Tech; all of which are propping up Biden (somebody who has been complicit in this nations atrocities over the last several decades) as their savior.
Those who’ve lived punk/hardcore as a way of life might have a better understanding of where I’m going with this than those who’ve simply attached themselves to the scene as a fashion statement, It seeps into your being and stays with you long after growing past wacky hairstyles and denim vests, at least this has been my experience.