A Riot Of My Own

By: Andrew Lyman

I now know something that I had spent my life ignoring. Punk Rock did not create new people. Staggering, I know, but to my best efforts, the truth. I think there is a common perception that any new form of music turns all of these other people into metal fans, or techno enthusiasts, or goth kids, or punks. It is now my humble opinion that this is a patently false assumption. The various forms of music succeed because they connect with people in need. Everyone who fell into that initial wave of punk was already a punk before the Sex Pistols first single came out, or the Dead Boys played their first show. They were mutant rock and rollers with nowhere to turn. New music is people up against the ropes needing some form of release desperately, but not knowing what it is.

This realization came after years of disenchantment with the state of things - after going to show after show of people standing around with their arms crossed; after watching bootlegged video after bootlegged video of old Dead Kennedys or Germs shows where they are playing to seething crowds of lunatics with bleeding wounds and sweat covering every exposed surface in the venue - the need for physical music and the desire for a sense of involvement with a certain type of revolution.

Where have all the mutants gone? The terminal thing about the here and now of underground music is that there is no underground. As far as we all know, any itch can be instantaneously scratched from any number of sources. There is no more extreme. There is nothing (musically anyway) to rebel against anymore. All the other exciting music breakthroughs in history have come about from the fact that popular music sucked. Now everything is just a degree of popular on a sliding scale of preference, and a lot of it’s good! How can we get pissed off and do something about it if there’s a thousand different sounds that we’ve never heard at our fingertips at any second of any day no matter where you live? Metal has burnt out, punk has been chewed up and spit out, noise is getting acceptable, hip-hop supports the status-quo, and indie is popular. What are we to do? I don’t even know what different sounds sound like anymore. It’s all fair game, and it’s a damn shame. If only we had a common enemy like Disco again, but we must always look to the future. What do those new sounds sound like? Movements are over, it’s just moving now; shifting about in a constant state of overwhelmed confusion.

You can’t demand people be interested in your music. You can’t force conviction, and you can’t create punk rock fans. What do we want? What do we need? Our generation needs to connect with something; otherwise we’ll have to settle for everything, which is the point we’re at now. But maybe that’s why today is more exciting than any that have come before.



All opinions expressed by Andrew Lyman are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.