Essay

The Scene is Dead, Long Live the Scene

IMG_20181125_232842I’ve never been much a fan of shock value art, or weird for weirdness’ sake art. It’s not a very sustainable position to convey a message that has any lasting value except as a punchline, because shock and weirdness are both relative to a given norm. I’m a fan of Punk rock precisely because the essence of the movement- or at least the true heart of the genre- has never been about shock value or weird for weirdness’ sake (at least not primarily).

I’m sure there were plenty of naysayers decades ago when Punk started gaining momentum as a genre and movement who foretold the doom of the genre, and that it would be a short lived flash in the pan that was all shock value and no substance.

IMG_20181125_221015The naysayers’ math was correct, but they were working with incomplete data. Shock value art won’t sustain a movement. Punk has persevered and firmly established itself because it’s about much more than shock value- and I doubt that shock is truly on its list of priorities.

Punk is founded on honesty. In volume, sound, band and song composition, energy and fury- Punk is about being as truthfully big/loud/whatever else you want to be. It is about being honest in the face of societal norms, and expectations. Whether that expectation is that you keep your amps at 9 and not turned up to 11, or that you play with two guitars, a bass, and drums as opposed to a lead Keytar, double bass, and drums, it’s grounded on truth.

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I shared a thought by way of writing advice above that I stand by, if you can’t be creative honesty is the best way to produce art of merit. This is a given about any medium/movement of art, that is should be founded on honesty of some sort. If it’s founded on weirdness, it’ll just fade away or lose that shock value. Punk has survived decades now not on creativity alone (although that’s certainly adds extra power to it), it’s survived thanks to the honesty of the artists propelling it.

I’ll always enjoy punk rock. I have since I was an angry kid back on the East Coast, and hope I always appreciate the honesty and energy of it.

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