because cool kids are boring

Stories in pictures

with 2 comments

I think I may end up just biting the bullet and putting up a Lizz category. Seriously.

Wrock Fans by ~lizzilicious on deviantART

The above picture is one Lizz took at a Harry and the Potters concert. Props have to be given to Lizz for taking a great picture, but that’s not why I’m posting this.

Someone, for the love of god, back me up when I say that this picture really reminds me of the work of Glenn E. Friedman, especially his punk concert pictures. I mean it isn’t just me, right? Someone else out there has to see what’s happening here.

For those who are wondering who the hell Friedman is, he is a photographer. He’s primarily known for the fact that he always seemed to be in the right place at the right time in the late 70s and 80s. He was in LA in the mid to late 70s, when the local skaters there were redefining the sport. He was there for the early days of hardcore and punk rock, both on the west coast and the east coast (his pictures of the DC punk scene are some of the best known). He was also there in NY as hip hop came into its own. In each case, he was one of the first people to take serious photographs of scenes that would shape the future of the US underground.

That isn’t why I’m posting this picture though. The Friedman connection with this picture underlined something that I’ve felt for awhile now. If punk has any real life in it, it is definitely on its last legs. What life was left in it after the rise of Nirvana and Green Day, is currently be beaten to a pulp by the current hipster scene. While punk itself is gasping its last breaths, the ideals and inspirations of punk, especially hardcore, are popping up in some of the strangest of places.

In my mind, Wizard Rock is definitely one of those places. Its youth focus. Its use of alternate venues. Its empowerment of people who typically feel left out of their own culture. Its unwillingness to compromise its values for “respectability.” Its whole hearted embracing of the importance of expression over talent. I’m sorry, this is hands down more punk rock then anything Pitchfork has even written about.

The Whomping Willows are probably the most obvious example that people would point to of the punk in WRock. With all due respect to Matt for being unwilling to compromise his vision though, in this regard I tend to find him the least interesting. This shouldn’t be taken as a slight against Matt in the least. If you’ve spent any serious time in the punk underground though, a lot of the message that comes from him is kind of old news. Not that it isn’t important, especially since so many of the kids involved in WRock have never had any contact with the punk underground, but I’ve heard it.

What really interests me in this regard are the kids in the scene. The ones who aren’t making artistic statements. Who aren’t attempting to subvert any dominant paradigms or change the world. The ones who came across WRock and thought, “that looks like fun, I want to form a band.” That, right there is the most punk rock thing in the world. And that it comes from a place that has no ulterior motives beyond having fun, makes it that much more powerful.

When people talk about the good that the WRock scene has done, they tend to talk about promoting literacy or the HPA or something like that. All good things, but the most important thing is those 300+ bands out there that formed for no other reason then to have fun and enjoy themselves.

Revolutions are messy affairs. They’re loud and and overwhelming. And when they are done and the dust has settled, then the real change begins. The change that happens when no one is looking and that no one notices until it is to late. Punk made for a grand revolution, but it’s done. Now it is time for us to get to work.

Written by Matt

April 1st, 2008 at 9:39 pm

Posted in Wizard Rock