Jan 16, 2013

Small Town Punks

It is great to be up and running again here on AAP. Here is this week's question, with apologies if it sounds like I'm patting myself on the back:

Dear ASK A PUNK -  
I figured it would probably be a pretty good idea just to mail you and tell you that the blog (er.. whatever) is great! I've been searching for a site or something similar that covered mostly punk subjects. That search, being a major pain in the ass for a 16 year old newfound punk. The constant reminder from so many people that "punk is dead" was really almost getting to me (not that I'd give it up) until I found coincidentally within a 2 day period the Dead Kennedy's album Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables and this site.

So, yeah, man. Really, a young small town punk who is the backbone of the total 2 man scene amongst an ocean of pop and "Post-Hardcore," anti-self expression fourth Reich bullshit wanted to tell you that you're great for doing what you do! Maybe a few question answers are due, wouldn't you say?
But yes! Thank you very much for doing this and you better get back on top of it! As unlikely as it very well may seem, there are still some young people out there who need to know stuff. Word of mouth is a dead form of syndication so the internet's our next best choice.
Thanks a lot, man.
Cheers from an aspiring musician from Nowhere, New York
Have a good one! -

P.S. Sorry if anything here is less than coherent. I've drunk.

Dear LT -
Thank-you for checking in. I'm glad I left the site up during the hiatus and that some people were still finding it and reading it. I'm sorry it has taken so long to respond to your email, but here it is.

I came from a small town too, so I know you probably can't wait to escape the place. But instead of thinking of your current situation/life as some kind of purgatory to escape from - try thinking of it as an incubator you'll eventually emerge from. - The change in wording DOES make a difference. Don't sit around waiting for your life to start "once I'm out of this place" ...start it NOW. When I was discovering punk I had to go out looking for it... miles and miles and miles in every direction from my tiny-ass hometown, just to find a record store with a Ramones album. Now you can have it all delivered to your computer... take advantage of that. You said you're a punkrocker, but do you play an instrument? If not, WHY NOT?! You can go on youtube and find FREE guitar lessons, drum lessons, bass lessons, etc etc etc and of course there are 1000s of other resources - like my site or even Henry Rollin's column for LA Weekly - not that I'm comparing myself to him... or if you're anti-Rollins (and I understand some are) keep looking elsewhere. It is all out there, and it costs nothing. When you're ready to start recording your stuff you can do it at home - on 'garageband' if you have a MAC or, if you have a PC you can download (for free) a program called 'audacity' which is almost as feature-rich as Pro Tools. You and your generation don't HAVE to run off to 'The Big City' like we all had to... so take advantage of that. If your town doesn't have a "scene" guess what?  That means YOU are the scene. It is yours. Create it yourself. And...at the risk of sounding like your parents: stay in school, get that HS diploma ...and then you'll at least have the option of maybe escaping to a small college somewhere, or if not, at least you'll be better prepared for the long fight ahead (ie: life.)

I have caught a lot of crap here on AAP from people who said I wasn't punk-rock enough because I have a huge 'live and let live' streak - but I'll say this anyway: Even if the seemingly brain-dead pop and 'mainstream' folks have no respect for your music etc, try to find something redeeming in them and theirs... or ignore it, but don't REACT to it. Life is an F-ing struggle for EVERYone and even if it seems like 'they' all have their shit together etc... trust me: "They"  don't. "They" never really do. Everyone in their teens is shit-scared, they just use different tactics to hide it, and some are quite intimidating and impressive.

I won't judge on the under age drinking but I should warn you about it. I started at 16 but I've been sober since I turned 31... and that was a long time ago (I'm not quite as old as Rollins, but I'm close.) Be wary and try not to  throw all that new-found punk rock passion down the bottomless pit of illicit chemicals. There are too many bodies at the bottom of that pit already.

Stay Strong and again - thanks for visiting the site. Tell your friends.

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