P027: There’s No Such Thing as an Old Punk Rocker

Tommy Ramone has died and so: not a single founding member of the Ramones lived to see their 70th birthday. For a band that released a greatest hits record titled Loud, Fast Ramones it’s not surprising that they would burn brightly rather than fading away. Still, it’s a sobering moment and another data point to support the idea that there’s no such thing as an old punk rocker.

In his seminal evisceration of punk rock culture, The Long Winters’ frontman John Roderick highlights the central failure of punk as an ideology:

To the degree that punk has a governing philosophy, it’s a fundamentally negative one. Punk only tells us what it hates. It has never stood for anything; it stands against things. It is not an intentional indictment; it is a reactionary spasm.

In Opposition of Oppisitionality

This oppositional definition is what makes punk attractive, but it is also what makes punk impossible to maintain. Anyone who has ever played Desktop Tower Defense knows that an oppositional position will eventually be overrun either by the unyielding onslaught of our culture or the exhaustion and boredom of endless vigilance. If Ian Mackaye can sell Minor Threat t-shirts at Urban Outfitters then maybe we can all be a little easier on ourselves. Life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Time spent questioning the motivations of the people you choose to have around you is time fundamentally wasted. All you do is alienate friends and wear yourself down. Maybe by building bridges instead of walls we can all move forward.

Periodically yours,

Bob Sherron