Monday, June 29, 2009


punk rock?

I do think it's a good thing, the whole do-it-yourself no-corporate-bullshit mindset that the (worldwide, but here I'm only really referring to Malaysia) punk/hc/grind/crust/etc scene promotes. I think it's a good thing that, here in Malaysia, corporate sponsorship and major-label backing isn't needed to be able to put on shows (even bringing some overseas bands in) and release CDs. I like that whole thing, I really do. I'm not enamoured with it, but I do like it.

But what I don't like, however, is how said mindset means that all many people are doing are looking inwards and turning everything into an "us vs. them" thing, and how there cannot be any sort of compromise or blurring between the two. I don't like how people are willing to soak themselves in that same stagnant pool of black-and-white photocopies, repetitive song structures and poser-ific buttons/patches/stickers/t-shirts (but, of course, no, it's not consumerism because it's not corporate!) just because "it's DIY man" and because "anything corporate sucks." I don't like how, for some, ideology has to take precedence over form. I admit, the DIY, anti-corporate mindset and punk/hc/grind/crust/etc are nigh-on inseparable (just like how, some might argue, anti-religious/nihilistic sentiments are a pre-requisite for black metal), and I also admit that said mindset is a Good Thing (to an extent), but does that mean that a band who play, say, righteously good hardcore punk but choose to discuss philosophical themes in their songs instead of rage against the media, government, god, politicians, capitalism and all the other Things Punk Bands Are Supposed to Shout About and who don't strictly adhere to punk ideology isn't worthy of your average punker's attention?

(And don't get me started on how a band "isn't punk" because, say, they don't play fast enough or because their albums actually sound good or because they have clean guitar breaks and long guitar solos in their songs.)

Punk rock isn't an island. It doesn't exist in its own little world (although many would like to think it does). Many would also like to think that this whole punk thing and its insistence on an adherence to DIY principles is breeding open-mindedness amongst "the kids," but come on. Sure, maybe it does open metaphorical doors for some, but at the expense of other doors being closed. And, for the unlucky ones, those same doors get locked and boarded up and, well, that's that (unless they can break said doors down, which is what I managed to do). Is listening to punk rock a sign of open-mindedness? No. Is shouting slogans like "fuck the police!" and "DIY 'till I die!" open-minded? No. Is sitting together with your punk rock friends talking about punk rock stuff while listening to punk rock music a sign of open-mindedness? Hell no. It's just as bad, and maybe even worse, than the spoilt kids sitting down with their silly friends talking about "that boy" or "that girl" or High School Musical and listening to whatever tripe radio plays nowadays. Worse because the punkers have this delusion in their head that they're "better" 'cos they're open-minded and rebels and whatnot, all because they're listening to/talking about Discharge instead of Disney.

(Man, that would make a great name for a d-beat band, wouldn't it? Disney? Preferably with an umlaut somewhere. Dïsney?)

I've always found it funny how the same people who harp on and on about how we should break away from culturally-determined values of right and wrong, good and evil, positive and negative and think for ourselves are the same people who also imply, through their actions and words, that anything that fits within the (perhaps arbitrarily determined) "rules" of punk rock is good and that anything from the "outside" is bad (and perhaps even, god forbid, evil) and shouldn't be touched, or ingested, or enjoyed, or compromised with. The world isn't as black and white, as "us and them," as "punk and not punk" as you'd like to hope, y'know.

I'm not saying that punkers (or anyone, for that matter) should accept anything and everything with open arms. Far from it. But, come on, just open up a bit, look beyond your self-imposed, restrictive, silly horizons and stop wallowing in that smelly pool of stagnant water all the time. Take a dip in a different pool once in a while, it'll only do you good.

+ This well written article made by Azzief Abdul Khaliq, originally as a note in his Facebook account and I put it here with permission from himself. Do agree with this or merely go die!

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