The punk subculture includes a diverse array of ideologies, fashion, and other forms of expression, visual art, dance, literature and film. It is largely characterised by anti-establishment views and the promotion of individual freedom, and is centred on a loud, aggressive genre of rock music called punk rock. Its adherents are referred to as "punks", also spelled "punx" in the modern day.
Punk politics cover the entire political spectrum. Common punk ethos includes non-conformity, anti-authoritarianism, anti-corporatism, a do-it-yourself ethic, anti-consumerist, anti-conservative, anti-corporate greed, direct action and not "selling out".
There is a wide range of punk fashion, including deliberately offensive T-shirts, leather jackets, Dr. Martens boots, etc., hairstyles such as brightly coloured hair and spiked mohawks, etc., cosmetics, tattoos, jewellery and body modification. Women in the hardcore scene typically wore masculine clothing.
An important aspect of punk was creating explicitly outward identities of sexuality. Everything that was normally supposed to be hidden was brought to the front.
Punk aesthetics determine the type of art punks enjoy, which typically has underground, minimalist, iconoclastic and satirical sensibilities. Punk has generated a considerable amount of poetry and prose, and has its own underground press in the form of zines. Many punk-themed films and videos have been made.
The punk subculture emerged in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States in the mid-1970s. Exactly which region originated punk has long been a matter of controversy within the movement. Early punk had an abundance of antecedents and influences, and Jon Savage describes the subculture as a "bricolage" of almost every previous youth culture in the Western world since World War II, "stuck together with safety pins". Various musical, philosophical, political, literary and artistic movements influenced the subculture.
In the late 1970s, the subculture began to diversify, which led to the proliferation of factions such as new wave, post-punk, 2 Tone, pop punk, hardcore punk, no wave, street punk and Oi!. Hardcore punk, street punk and Oi! sought to do away with the frivolities introduced in the later years of the original punk movement. The punk subculture influenced other underground music scenes such as alternative rock, indie music, crossover thrash and the extreme subgenres of heavy metal (mainly thrash metal, death metal, speed metal, and the NWOBHM). A new movement in the United States became visible in the early and mid-1990s that sought to revive the punk movement, doing away with some of the trappings of hardcore.
The punk subculture is centered on a loud, aggressive genre of rock music called punk rock, usually played by bands consisting of a vocalist, one or two electric guitarists, an electric bassist and a drummer. In some bands, the musicians contribute backup vocals, which typically consist of shouted slogans, choruses or football-style chants.
While most punk rock uses the distorted guitars and noisy drumming sounds derived from 1960s garage rock and 1970s pub rock, some punk bands incorporate elements from other subgenres, such as surf rock, rockabilly or reggae. Most punk rock songs are short, have simple and somewhat basic arrangements using relatively few chords, and they typically have lyrics that express punk ideologies and values, although some punk lyrics are about lighter topics such as partying or romantic relationships.
Different punk subcultures often distinguish themselves by having a unique style of punk rock, although not every style of punk rock has its own associated subculture.
The earliest form of music to be called "punk rock" was 1960s garage rock, and the term was applied to the genre retroactively by influential rock critics in the early 1970s. In the late 1960s, music now referred to as protopunk originated as a garage rock revival in the northeastern United States. The first distinct music scene to claim the punk label appeared in New York City between 1974 and 1976. Around the same time or soon afterward, a punk scene developed in London. Los Angeles subsequently became home to the third major punk scene. These three cities formed the backbone of the burgeoning movement, but there were also other punk scenes in cities such as Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, Vancouver and Montreal in Canada, and Boston and San Francisco in the United States.
The punk subculture advocates a do-it-yourself (DIY) ethic. During the subculture's infancy members were almost all from a lower economic class, and had become tired of the affluence that was associated with popular rock music at the time. Punks would publish their own music or sign with small independent labels, in hopes to combat what they saw as a money hungry music industry. The DIY ethic is still popular with punks.
The New York City punk rock scene arose from a subcultural underground promoted by artists, reporters, musicians and a wide variety of non-mainstream enthusiasts. The Velvet Underground's harsh and experimental yet often melodic sound in the mid to late-1960s, much of it relating to transgressive media work by visual artist Andy Warhol, is credited for influencing 1970s bands such as the New York Dolls, The Stooges and the Ramones. Early New York City punk bands were often short-lived, in part due to widespread use of recreational drugs, promiscuous sex, and sometimes violent power struggles, but the relative popularity of the music led to the evolution of punk into a movement and lifestyle.
Although punks are frequently categorised as having left-wing, revolutionary, anarchist or progressive views, punk political ideology covers the entire political spectrum. Punk-related ideologies are mostly concerned with individual freedom and anti-establishment views. Common punk viewpoints include individual liberty, anti-authoritarianism, a DIY ethic, non-conformity, anti-collectivism, anti-corporatism, anti-government, direct action and not "selling out".
Some individuals within the punk subculture hold right-wing views (such as those associated with the Conservative Punk website), libertarian views, neo-Nazi views (Nazi punk), or are apolitical (e.g., horror punk).
Early British punks expressed nihilistic and anarchist views with the slogan No Future, which came from the Sex Pistols song "God Save the Queen". In the United States, punks had a different approach to nihilism which was less anarchistic than the British punks. Punk nihilism was expressed in the use of "harder, more self-destructive, consciousness-obliterating substances like heroin, or methamphetamine"
The issue of authenticity is important in the punk subculture—the pejorative term "poseur" is applied to those who associate with punk and adopt its stylistic attributes but are deemed not to share or understand the underlying values or philosophy.
Early punk fashion adapted everyday objects for aesthetic effect: ripped clothing was held together by safety pins or wrapped with tape; ordinary clothing was customised by embellishing it with marker or adorning it with paint; a black bin liner became a dress, shirt or skirt; safety pins and razor blades were used as jewellery. Also popular have been leather, rubber, and PVC clothing that is often associated with transgressive sexuality, like BDSM and S&M. A designer associated with early UK punk fashion was Vivienne Westwood, who made clothes for Malcolm McLaren's boutique in the King's Road, which became famous as "SEX".
Many punks wear tight "drainpipe" jeans, plaid/tartan trousers, kilts or skirts, T-shirts, leather jackets (often decorated with painted band logos, pins and buttons, and metal studs or spikes), and footwear such as high-cut Chuck Taylors, trainers, skate shoes, brothel creepers, Dr. Martens boots, and army boots. Early punks occasionally wore clothes displaying a swastika for shock value, but most contemporary punks are staunchly anti-racist and are more likely to wear a crossed-out swastika symbol than a pro-Nazi symbol. Some punks cut their hair into Mohawks or other dramatic shapes, style it to stand in spikes, and colour it with vibrant, unnatural hues.
Some punks are anti-fashion, arguing that punk should be defined by music or ideology. This is most common in the post-1980s US hardcore punk scene, where members of the subculture often dressed in plain T-shirts and jeans, rather than the more elaborate outfits and spiked, dyed hair of their British counterparts. Many groups adopt a look based on street clothes and working class outfits. Hardcore punk fans adopted a dressed-down style of T-shirts, jeans, combat boots or trainers and crewcuts. Women in the hardcore scene typically wore army trousers, band T-shirts, and hooded jumpers.
The style of the 1980s hardcore scene contrasted with the more provocative fashion styles of late 1970s punk rockers (elaborate hairdos, torn clothes, patches, safety pins, studs, spikes, etc.). Circle Jerks frontman Keith Morris described early hardcore fashion as "the...punk scene was basically based on English fashion. But we had nothing to do with that. Black Flag and the Circle Jerks were so far from that. We looked like the kid who worked at the gas station or submarine shop." Henry Rollins echoes Morris' point, stating that for him getting dressed up meant putting on a black shirt and some dark pants; Rollins viewed an interest in fashion as being a distraction. Jimmy Gestapo from Murphy's Law describes his own transition from dressing in a punk style (spiked hair and a bondage belt) to adopting a hardcore style (i.e. boots and a shaved head) as being based on a need for more functional clothing. An punk scholar states that "hardcore kids do not look like punks", since hardcore scene members wore basic clothing and short haircuts, in contrast to the "embellished leather jackets and pants" worn in the punk scene.
In contrast to Morris' and Rollins' views, another punk scholar claims that the standard hardcore punk clothing and styles included torn jeans, leather jackets, spiked armbands and dog collars, mohawk hairstyles, and DIY ornamentation of clothes with studs, painted band names, political statements, and patches. Yet another punk scholar describes the look that was common in the San Francisco hardcore scene as consisting of biker-style leather jackets, chains, studded wristbands, pierced noses and multiple piercings, painted or tattooed statements (e.g. an anarchy symbol) and hairstyles ranging from military-style haircuts dyed black or blonde, to mohawks and shaved heads.
In the United Kingdom, the advent of punk in the late 1970s with its "anyone can do it" ethos led to women making significant contributions. In contrast to the rock music and heavy metal scenes of the 1970s, which were dominated by men, the anarchic, counter-cultural mindset of the punk scene in mid- and late 1970s encouraged women to participate. "That was the beauty of the punk thing," Chrissie Hynde later said." [Sexual] discrimination didn't exist in that scene." This participation played a role in the historical development of punk music, especially in the U.S. and U.K. at that time, and continues to influence and enable future generations.
Rock historian Helen Reddington states that the popular image of young punk women musicians as focused on the fashion aspects of the scene (fishnet stockings, spiky blond hair, etc.) was stereotypical. She states that many, if not most women punks were more interested in the ideology and socio-political implications, rather than the fashion. Music historian Caroline Coon contends that before punk, women in rock music were virtually invisible; in contrast, in punk, she argues "[i]t would be possible to write the whole history of punk music without mentioning any male bands at all -- and I think a lot of [people] would find that very surprising." Johnny Rotten wrote that ‘During the Pistols era, women were out there playing with the men, taking us on in equal terms ... It wasn’t combative, but compatible.’ Women were involved in bands such as The Runaways, The Slits, The Raincoats, Mo-dettes, and Dolly Mixture, The Innocents.
Others take issue with the notion of equal recognition, such as guitarist Viv Albertine, who stated that "the A&R men, the bouncers, the sound mixers, no one took us seriously.. So, no, we got no respect anywhere we went. People just didn't want us around." The anti-establishment stance of punk opened the space for women who were treated like outsiders in a male-dominated industry. Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon states, "I think women are natural anarchists, because you're always operating in a male framework."
For some punks, the body was a symbol of opposition, a political statement expressing disgust of all that was "normal" and socially accepted. The idea was to make others outside of the subculture question their own views, which made gender, gender presentation and gender identity a popular factor to be played with. Men could look like women, women could look like men, or one could look like both or neither. In some ways, punk helped to tear apart the normalised view of gender as a dichotomy. There was a notable amount of cross-dressing in the punk scene; it was not unusual to see men wearing ripped-up skirts, fishnet tights and excessive makeup, or to see women with shaved heads wearing oversized plaid shirts and jean jackets and heavy combat boots. Punk created a new cultural space for androgyny and all kinds of gender expression.
Some scholars have claimed that punk has been problematic towards gender by stating its overall resistance to expressing any kind of popular conceptions of femininity. In trying to reject societal norms, punk embraced one societal norm by deciding that strength and anger was best expressed through masculinity, defining masculine as the "default" in the world they were trying to create, where gender did not exist or had no meaning. However, the main reasoning behind this argument equates femininity with popular conceptions of beauty, which punk rejected.
One part of punk was a creating explicitly outward identities of sexuality. Everything that was normally supposed to be hidden was brought to the front, both literally and figuratively. This could mean anything from wearing bras and underwear on top of clothing to wearing nothing but a bra and underwear. Although that act would seem sexualised in a normal context, to punks it was just another way to be obscene in the eyes of "others". Punk seemed to allow women to sexualize themselves and still be taken seriously; however, many argue that this was always in terms of what the male punks wanted.
Conversely, the masculine nature of punk allowed many women to recreate an almost farcical masculinity by using their female bodies in the same way men tended to use theirs. Punk women could be filthy and horrible and use their femininity to make what they were doing even more shocking to their audience. It became popular for some punk women to accentuate their bodies in ridiculous ways, such as stuffing their pants to make exaggerated labia outlines, as if parodying male crotch stuffing. At one concert, Donita Sparks, lead singer of the band L7, pulled out her tampon and threw it into the audience. In many ways, female punks were showing unapologetically (and exaggeratedly) what it truly meant to be a woman, with nothing soft or "classically feminine" to hide behind.
Riot grrrl is an underground feminist hardcore punk movement that originated in Washington, D.C. in the early 1990s, and the Pacific Northwest, especially Olympia, Washington. It is often associated with third-wave feminism, which is sometimes seen as its starting point. It has also been described as a musical genre that came out of indie rock, with the punk scene serving as an inspiration for a musical movement in which women could express themselves in the same way men had been doing for the past several years.
Punk aesthetics determine the type of art punks enjoy, usually with underground, minimalistic, iconoclastic and satirical sensibilities. Punk artwork graces album covers, flyers for concerts, and punk zines. Usually straightforward with clear messages, punk art is often concerned with political issues such as social injustice and economic disparity. The use of images of suffering to shock and create feelings of empathy in the viewer is common. Alternatively, punk artwork may contain images of selfishness, stupidity, or apathy to provoke contempt in the viewer.
Much of the earlier artwork was black and white, because it was distributed in zines reproduced by photocopying at work, school or at copy shops. Punk art also uses the mass production aesthetic of Andy Warhol's Factory studio. Punk played a hand in the revival of stencil art, spearheaded by Crass. The Situationists also influenced the look of punk art, particularity that of the Sex Pistols created by Jamie Reid. Punk art often utilises collage, exemplified by the art of Jamie Reid, Crass, The Clash, Dead Kennedys,and Winston Smith. John Holmstrom was a punk cartoonist who created work for the Ramones and Punk.
The Stuckism art movement had its origin in punk, and titled its first major show The Stuckists Punk Victorian at the Walker Art Gallery during the 2004 Liverpool Biennial. Charles Thomson, co-founder of the group, described punk as "a major breakthrough" in his art.
Two dance styles associated with punk are pogo dancing and moshing. The pogo is a dance in which the dancers jump up and down, while either remaining on the spot or moving around; the dance takes its name from its resemblance to the use of a pogo stick, especially in a common version of the dance, where an individual keeps their torso stiff, their arms rigid, and their legs close together. Pogo dancing is closely associated with punk rock and is a precursor to moshing. Moshing or slamdancing is a style of dance where participants push or slam into each other, typically during a live music show. It is usually associated with "aggressive" music genres, such as hardcore punk and thrash metal. Stage diving and crowd surfing were originally associated with protopunk bands such as The Stooges, and have appeared at punk, metal and rock concerts. Ska punk promoted an updated version of skanking. Hardcore dancing is a later development influenced by all of the above-mentioned styles. Psychobillies prefer to "wreck", a form of slam dancing that involves people punching each other in the chest and arms as they move around the circle pit.
Punk has generated a considerable amount of poetry and prose. Punk has its own underground press in the form of punk zines, which feature news, gossip, cultural criticism, and interviews. Some zines take the form of perzines. Important punk zines include Maximum RocknRoll, Punk Planet, No Cure, Cometbus, Flipside, and Search & Destroy. Several novels, biographies, autobiographies, and comic books have been written about punk. Love and Rockets is a comic with a plot involving the Los Angeles punk scene.
Just as zines played an important role in spreading information in the punk era (e.g. British fanzines like Mark Perry’s Sniffin Glue and Shane MacGowan’s Bondage), zines also played an important role in the hardcore scene. In the pre-Internet era, zines enabled readers to learn about bands, shows, clubs, and record labels. Zines typically included reviews of shows and records, interviews with bands, letters to the editor, and advertisements for records and labels. Zines were DIY products, "proudly amateur, usually handmade, and always independent", and during the "’90s, zines were the primary way to stay up on punk and hardcore." They were the "blogs, comment sections, and social networks of their day."
In the American Midwest, the zine Touch and Go described the regional hardcore scene from 1979 to 1983. We Got Power described the LA scene from 1981 to 1984, and included show reviews of and interviews with such bands as Vancouver's D.O.A., the Misfits, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies and the Circle Jerks. My Rules was a photo zine that included photos of hardcore shows from across the US. In Effect, which began in 1988, described the New York City scene.
Punk poets include: Richard Hell, Jim Carroll, Patti Smith, John Cooper Clarke, Seething Wells, Raegan Butcher, and Attila the Stockbroker. The Medway Poets performance group included punk musician Billy Childish and had an influence on Tracey Emin. Jim Carroll's autobiographical works are among the first known examples of punk literature. The punk subculture has inspired the cyberpunk and steampunk literature genres, and has even contributed (through Iggy Pop) to classical scholarship.
Many punk-themed films have been made. The No Wave Cinema and Remodernist film movements owe much to punk aesthetics. Several famous punk bands have participated in movies, such as the Ramones in Rock 'n' Roll High School, the Sex Pistols in The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle and Social Distortion in Another State of Mind. Derek Jarman and Don Letts are notable punk filmmakers. Penelope Spheeris' first installment of the documentary trilogy "The Decline of Western Civilization" (1981) focuses on the early Los Angeles punk scene through interviews and early concert footage from bands including Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Germs and Fear. The Decline of Western Civilization III" explores the gutter punk lifestyle in the 1990s. Loren Cass is another example of the punk subculture represented in film. Also, the documentary film AfroPunk covers the black experience in the punk DIY scene.
"[Glue] sniffing was adopted by punks because public perceptions of sniffing fitted in with their self-image. Originally used experimentally and as a cheap high, adult disgust and hostility encouraged punks to use glue sniffing as a way of shocking society." Model airplane glue and contact cement were among the numerous solvents and inhalants used by punks to achieve euphoria and intoxication. Glue was typically inhaled by placing a quantity in a plastic bag and "huffing" (inhaling) the vapour. Liquid solvents were typically inhaled by soaking a rag with the solvent and inhaling the vapour. While users inhale solvents for the intoxicating effects, the practice can be harmful or fatal.
Straight edge is a philosophy of hardcore punk culture whose adherents refrain from using alcohol, tobacco, and other recreational drugs, in reaction to the excesses of punk subculture. For some, this extends to refraining from engaging in promiscuous sex, following a vegetarian or vegan diet, and not drinking coffee or taking prescribed medicine. The term straight edge was adopted from the 1981 song "Straight Edge" by the hardcore punk band Minor Threat.
Straight edge emerged amid the early-1980s hardcore punk scene. Since then, a wide variety of beliefs and ideas have been associated with the movement, including vegetarianism and animal rights. Ross Haenfler writes that as of the late 1990s, approximately three out of four straight edge participants were vegetarian or vegan. While the commonly expressed aspects of the straight edge subculture have been abstinence from alcohol, nicotine, and illegal drugs, there have been considerable variations on how far to take the interpretations of "abstaining from intoxicants" or "living drug-free". Disagreements often arise as to the primary reasons for living straight edge. Straight edge politics are primarily left-wing and revolutionary but there have been conservative offshoots.
In 1999, William Tsitsos wrote that straight edge had gone through three eras since its founding in the early 1980s. Bent edge began as a counter-movement to straight edge by members of the Washington, D.C. hardcore scene who were frustrated by the rigidity and intolerance in the scene. During the youth crew era, which started in the mid-1980s, the influence of music on the straight edge scene was at an all-time high. By the early 1990s, militant straight edge was a well-known part of the wider punk scene. In the early to mid-1990s, straight edge spread from the United States to Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and South America. By the beginning of the 2000s, militant straight edge punks had largely left the broader straight edge culture and movement.
Punks come from all culture and economic classes. Compared to some subcultures, punk ideology is much closer to gender equality. Although the punk subculture is mostly anti-racist, it is overwhelmingly white. However, members of other groups (such as African Americans, other black people, Latinos, and Asians) have contributed to the development of the subculture. Substance abuse has sometimes been a part of the punk scene, with the notable exception of the straight edge movement. Violence has also sometimes appeared in the punk subculture, but has been opposed by some subsets of the subculture, such as the pacifist strain anarcho-punk.
Punks often form a local scene, which can have as few as half a dozen members in a small town, or as many as thousands of in a major city. A local scene usually has a small group of dedicated punks surrounded by a more casual periphery. A typical punk scene is made up of punk and hardcore bands, fans who attend concerts, protests, and other events, zine publishers, reviewers, and other writers, visual artists illustrating zines, and creating posters and album covers, show promoters, and people who work at music venues or independent record labels.
Squatting plays a role in many punk communities, providing shelter and other forms of support. Squats in abandoned or condemned housing, and communal "punk houses" often provide bands a place to stay while they are touring. There are some punk communes, such as Essex's Dial House. The Internet has been playing an increasingly large role in punk, specifically in the form of virtual communities and file sharing programs for trading music files.
In the punk and hardcore subcultures, members of the scene are often evaluated in terms of the authenticity of their commitment to the values or philosophies of the scene, which may range from political beliefs to lifestyle practices. In the punk subculture, the epithet poseur (or "poser") is used to describe "a person who habitually pretends to be something [they are] not." The term is used to refer to a person who adopts the dress, speech, and/or mannerisms of a particular subculture, yet who is deemed to not share or understand the values or philosophy of the subculture.
While this perceived inauthenticity is viewed with scorn and contempt by members of the subculture, the definition of the term and to whom it should be applied is subjective. An article in Drowned in Sound argues that 1980s-era "hardcore is the true spirit of punk", because "after all the poseurs and fashionistas fucked off to the next trend of skinny pink ties with New Romantic haircuts, singing wimpy lyrics", the punk scene consisted only of people "completely dedicated to the DIY ethics".
In the discussion of authenticity it is necessary to recognize the origins of punk music. Proto-punk bands came out of garage-rock during the late 1960s. Usually white working class boys are credited for pioneering the genre, however there were many women and people of color who contributed to the original punk sound and aesthetic. Because the original subculture meant to challenge everything about the mainstream, usually in shocking ways, the "punk" that people usually picture became inauthentic once it was brought to the mainstream; “‘Inauthentic’ punk is a commercialized and debased form of an original ‘street’ form of punk”(Sabin, 1999). This is the paradox of punk; as a subculture it must always be evolving in order to stay out of the mainstream.
Punk Girls written by Liz Ham is a photo-book featuring 100 portraits of Australian women in the punk subculture, and it was published in 2017 by Manuscript Daily. Discrimination against punk subculture is explored with her photographs in the book; these girls who are not mainstream, but "beautiful and talented".
Glam rockers such as T.Rex, the New York Dolls and David Bowie had big influences on protopunk, early punk rock, and the crossover subgenre later called glam punk. Particularly, David Bowie himself supported the neophyte punk bands of this time, and he later said after punk somewhat fell out of fashion, "I think it's a crying shame that the category has dissipated its importance."  Punk and hip hop emerged around the same time in the late 1970s New York City, and there has been some interaction between the two subcultures. Some of the first hip hop MCs called themselves punk rockers, and some punk fashions have found their way into hip hop dress and vice versa. Malcolm McLaren played roles in introducing both punk and hip hop to the United Kingdom. Hip hop later influenced some punk and hardcore bands, such as Hed PE, Blaggers I.T.A., Biohazard, E.Town Concrete, The Transplants and Refused.
The skinhead subculture of the United Kingdom in the late 1960s – which had almost disappeared in the early 1970s — was revived in the late 1970s, partly because of the influence of punk rock, especially the Oi! punk subgenre. Conversely, ska and reggae, popular among traditionalist skinheads, has influenced several punk musicians. Punks and skinheads have had both antagonistic and friendly relationships, depending on the social circumstances, time period and geographic location.
The punk and heavy metal subcultures have shared some similarities since punk's inception. The early 1970s protopunk scene had an influence on the development of heavy metal. Alice Cooper was a forerunner of the fashion and music of both the punk and metal subcultures. Motörhead, since their first album release in 1977, have enjoyed continued popularity in the punk scene, and their now-deceased frontman Lemmy was a fan of punk rock. Genres such as metalcore, grindcore and crossover thrash were greatly influenced by punk rock and heavy metal. The new wave of British heavy metal influenced the UK 82-style of bands like Discharge, and hardcore was a primary influence on thrash metal bands such as Metallica and Slayer. The early 1990s grunge subculture was a fusion of punk anti-fashion ideals and metal-influenced guitar sounds. However, hardcore punk and grunge developed in part as reactions against the heavy metal music that was popular during the 1980s.
In punk's heyday, punks faced harassment and attacks from the general public and from members of other subcultures. In the 1980s in the UK, punks were sometimes involved in brawls with Teddy Boys, greasers, bikers, mods and members of other subcultures. There was also considerable enmity between Positive punks (known today as goths) and the glamorously dressed New Romantics.
In the late 1970s, punks were known to have had confrontations with hippies due to the contrasting ideologies and backlash of the hippie culture. Nevertheless, Penny Rimbaud of the English anarcho-punk band Crass said that Crass was formed in memory of his friend, the hippie Wally Hope. Rimbaud also said that Crass were heavily involved with the hippie movement throughout the 1960s and 1970s, with Dial House being established in 1967. Many punks were often critical of Crass for their involvement in the hippie movement. Like Crass, Jello Biafra was influenced by the hippie movement and cited the yippies as a key influence on his political activism and thinking, though he did write songs critical of hippies.
Power pop music (as defined by groups such as Badfinger, Cheap Trick, The Knack, and The Romantics) emerged in mostly the same time-frame and geographical area as punk rock, and they shared a great deal musically in terms of playing short songs loud and fast while trying to emphasize catchy feelings. More melodic and pop-influenced punk music have also often been wrapped alongside power pop bands under the general "new wave music" label. A good example of a genre-straddling 'power pop punk' band is the popular Northern Ireland group Protex. However, stylistically and lyrically, power pop bands have tended to have a very "not-punk" top 40 commercial pop music influence and a flashier, heavily teen-pop sense of fashion, especially modern power pop groups such as Stereo Skyline and All Time Low.
The punk subculture has spread to many countries around the world. The fluidity of musical expression in particular makes it an ideal medium for this cross-cultural interpretation.
In Mexico, punk culture is primarily a phenomenon among middle and lower class youth, many of whom were first exposed to punk music through travel to England. Because of low fees at public universities in Mexico, a significant minority of Mexican punks are university students. It is estimated approximately 5,000 young people are active punks in Mexico City, hosting two or three underground shows a week. These young people often form chavos banda—youth gangs—that organise subculture activity by creating formal meeting spaces and rituals and practices. In Tepic, Nayarit there are 1,200 active punks.
Oral nicknames are a distinguishing feature of Mexican punk, where the tradition of oral culture has influenced the development of nicknames for almost all Mexican punks. Patches are widely used as an inexpensive way to alter clothing and express identity. Though English language bands like the Dead Kennedys are well known in Mexico, punks there prefer Spanish-language music or covers translated into Spanish. The slam dance style common in the California punk scene of the early 1980s is in the 2010s very popular.
Performance practices reflect socio-economic circumstances of Mexican punks. Called tocadas, shows are generally held in public spaces like basketball courts or community centers instead of places of business like bars and restaurants, as is more common in the United States and Europe. They usually take place in the afternoon and end early to accommodate the three or four hours it takes many punks to return home by public transit. Mexican punk groups rarely release vinyl or CD recordings, preferring cassettes.
The anti-establishment punk sub-culture has appealed to Russians for decades, with punk media, fashion, and albums becoming enormously popular underground items in the late 1970s onwards. Musically, the sound of punk rock became a clear protest against the disco influenced, heavily electronic official Soviet regime songs. The government suppressed punks and ruthlessly censored their music.
The founder of Russian punk is considered to be Yegor Letov with his band Grazhdanskaya Oborona, which started performing in the early 80's. Letov also invented a word chanted by punk fans during concerts, Hoi (a mixture of the Oi! movement and the Russian profanity word Hui (literally penis).
In the late 80's Sektor Gaza formed, reaching cult status. They created a genre called "Kolkhoz punk", which mixed elements from village life into punk music. Another cult band which started a few years later was Korol i Shut, introducing horror punk, using costumes and lyrics in the form of tales and fables. Korol i Shut became one of the best selling and most highly regarded bands in the history of russian Rock.
Punk arrived slowly in South Africa during the 1970s when waves of British tradesman welcomed by the then-apartheid government brought cultural influences like the popular British music magazine NME, sold in South Africa six weeks after publication.
South African punk developed separately in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town and relied on live performances in townships and streets as the multi-racial composition of bands and fan bases challenged the legal and social conventions of the apartheid regime.
Political participation is foundational to punk subculture in South Africa. During the apartheid regime, punk was second only to Rock music in its importance to multi-racial interactions in South Africa. Because of this, any involvement in the punk scene was in itself a political statement. Police harassment was common and the government often censored explicitly political lyrics. Johannesburg based band National Wake was routinely censored and even banned for songs like "International News," which challenged the South African government's refusal to acknowledge the racial and political conflict in the country. National Wake guitarist Ivan Kadey attributes the punk scene's ability to persevere despite the legal challenges of multi-racial mixing to punk subculture's DIY ethic and anti-establishment attitude.
In post-apartheid South Africa, punk has attracted a greater number of white middle-class males than the more diverse makeup of the subculture during the apartheid era. Thabo Mbeki's African Renaissance movement has complicated the position of white South Africans in contemporary society. Punk provides young white men the opportunity to explore and express their minority identity. Cape Town band Hog Hoggidy Hog sings of the strange status of white Africans:
Post-apartheid punk subculture continues to be active in South African politics, organising a 2000 festival called Punks Against Racism at Thrashers Statepark in Pretoria. Rather than the sense of despondency and fatalism that characterised 1970s British punk subculture, the politically engaged South African scene is more positive about the future of South Africa.
In Peru punk traces its roots to the band Los Saicos, a Lima group that played the unique blend of garage and break dance music that would later be labeled punk as early as the 1960s. The early activity of Los Saicos has led many to claim that punk originated in Lima instead of the UK, as it typically assumed. Though their claim to be the first punk band in the world can be disputed, Los Saicos were undoubtedly the first in Latin America and released their first single in 1965. The group played to full houses and made frequent television appearances throughout the 1960s. Throughout the 1970s, the band was completely forgotten. Years later, a plaque that declares "here the global punk-rock movement was born" was placed at the corner of Miguel Iglesias and Julio C. Tello Streets in Lima.
By the 1980s the punk scene in Peru was highly active. Peruvian punks call themselves subtes and appropriate the subversive implications of the English term "underground" through the Spanish term subterraneo (literally, subterranean). In the 1980s and 1990s subtes made almost exclusive use of cassette recording as a means of circulating music without participating in formal intellectual property and musical production industries. The current scene relies on digital distribution and assumes similar anti-establishment practices. Like many punk subcultures, subtes explicitly oppose the Peruvian state and advocate instead an anarchic resistance that challenges the political and mainstream cultural establishment.
The origins of punk rock in Brazil go back to the late 1970s, as in most other countries mainly under the influence of the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Ramones. However, particularly in São Paulo, more obscure names like Dutch band Speed Twins, as well as earlier protopunk artists such as MC5, The Stooges and The New York Dolls also had a big initial impact.
Brazilian punk emerged in part from the ideals of the musician Douglas Viscaino, who, imbued with the pioneering ideas and unity of young people that fought against the Brazilian military regime, formed a band of protest called: Restos de Nada (Remnants of Nothing). Their musicians already had their punk ideals before 1978.
Then came AI-5 and N.A.I. (later known as Condutores de Cadáver, "corpse riders") in São Paulo, as well as Carne Podre ("rotten flesh") in Curitiba (the capital of Paraná State), and Aborto Elétrico ("electric miscarriage") in Brasília (the national capital).
Before punk proper bands emerged, two relatively famous glam and hard rock bands, Joelho de Porco (literally "pig knee") and Made in Brazil, used elements of the punk aesthetic around 1977 or 1978, and were called punk bands by the media without really playing punk rock music or defining themselves as such. Both bands, however, were important to the pre-punk context of the 1970s that offered few alternatives to the Música popular brasileira (MPB) and progressive rock artists that dominated the Brazilian music scene at the time. Joelho de Porco's lyrics dealing with São Paulo's urban reality was also influential.
The emergence of punk rock in Canada followed roughly the timelines of both the UK and the USA, and was at first confined to Canada's largest cities. Since the mid-1980s, Canada's punk scene has spread over the entire country, including small rural towns and villages.
Gerry "Useless" Hannah of The Subhumans received a ten-year prison sentence (of which he served five years) for his involvement in the Direct Action urban guerrilla cell, also known as the Vancouver five and the Squamish five, which executed a series of attacks on civil infrastructure in BC and Ontario.
Animal rights are closely associated with two ideologies of the punk subculture: anarcho-punk and straight edge. This association dates back to the 1980s and has been expressed in areas that include song lyrics, benefit concerts for animal rights organisations, and militant actions of activists influenced by punk music. Among the latter, Rod Coronado, Peter Daniel Young and members of SHAC are notable. This issue spread into various punk rock and hardcore subgenres, e.g. crust punk, metalcore and grindcore, eventually becoming a distinctive feature of punk culture.
The inculcation of some concepts and practices related to animal rights in the collective consciousness has been substantially pioneered and influenced by the punk movement. This association continues on into the 21st century, as evinced by the prominence of international vegan punk events such as Ieperfest in Belgium, Fluff Fest in Czech Republic, and Verdurada in Brazil.Conservative Punk
Conservative Punk was a website that promoted conservative views in the punk subculture. It was created by Nick Rizzuto, an employee of a New York City rock radio station, partially in response to the left-liberal group Punkvoter (created by NOFX lead singer Fat Mike). The Conservative Punk website received significant press coverage during the 2004 presidential election. It includes contributions from talk radio personality Andrew Wilkow and former Misfits singer and Gotham Road frontman Michale Graves. Dorian Lynskey of The Guardian wrote about Rizzuto: "To his critics he's a crank bringing punk's good name into disrepute - but to his supporters he's the fearless voice of a formerly silent minority."In early 2010, Nick Rizzuto, without notice, stopped paying the hosting fees for Conservativepunk.com, causing the website and discussion forum to become inaccessible. Longtime members and regular posters created a replacement site, ConPunk.com, in order to maintain the community, but that site went offline in May 2013, in favor of a Facebook group which too has since closed as of 2014.Gutter punk
A gutter punk is a homeless or transient individual who displays a variety of specific lifestyle traits and characteristics that often, but not always, are associated with the punk subculture. Attributes may include unkempt dreadlocks, nose rings, Mohawk hairstyles, and tattooed faces. Gutter punks are sometimes referred to as "crusties", "crusty punks", or "crust punks"; "traveling" or "traveler kids", "traveling" or "traveler punks", or simply "travelers"; and "punk hobos", "hobo-punks", or "hobos", among other terms. Some self-identified gutter punks may distinguish themselves from "crusties" or "travellers", and vice versa; however, there is considerable overlap between the groups, and the terms are often used interchangeably.Hardcore punk
Hardcore punk (often abbreviated to hardcore) is a punk rock music genre and subculture that originated in the late 1970s. It is generally faster, harder, and more aggressive than other forms of punk rock. Its roots can be traced to earlier punk scenes in San Francisco and Southern California which arose as a reaction against the still predominant hippie cultural climate of the time. It was also inspired by New York punk rock and early proto-punk. New York punk had a harder-edged sound than its San Francisco counterpart, featuring anti-art expressions of masculine anger, energy, and subversive humor. Hardcore punk generally disavows commercialism, the established music industry and "anything similar to the characteristics of mainstream rock" and often addresses social and political topics with "confrontational, politically-charged lyrics."Hardcore sprouted underground scenes across the United States in the early 1980s, particularly in Washington, D.C., New York, New Jersey, and Boston—as well as in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. Hardcore has spawned the straight edge movement and its associated submovements, hardline and youth crew. Hardcore was heavily involved in the rise of the independent record labels in the 1980s and with the DIY ethics in underground music scenes. It has also influenced various music genres that have experienced widespread commercial success, including alternative rock and thrash metal.
While traditional hardcore has never experienced mainstream commercial success, some of its early pioneers have garnered appreciation over time. Black Flag's Damaged, Minutemen's Double Nickels on the Dime and Hüsker Dü's New Day Rising were included in Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003 and Dead Kennedys have seen one of their albums reach gold status over a period of 25 years. In 2011, Rolling Stone writer David Fricke placed Greg Ginn of Black Flag 99th place in his 100 Greatest Guitarists list. Although the music genre started in English-speaking western countries, notable hardcore scenes have existed in Italy, Brazil, Japan, Europe and the Middle East.History of the punk subculture
The history of the punk subculture involves the history of punk rock, the history of various punk ideologies, punk fashion, punk visual art, punk literature, dance, and punk film. Since emerging in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia in the mid-1970s, the punk subculture has spread around the globe and evolved into a number of different forms. The history of punk plays an important part in the history of subcultures in the 20th century.Liberty spikes
Liberty spikes is styling hair in long, thick, upright spikes. The style, now associated with the punk subculture, is so named because of the resemblance to the spikes on the head of the Statue of Liberty.List of punk films
This is a list of films about the punk subculture.Nazi punk
A Nazi punk is a neo-Nazi who is part of the punk subculture. The term also describes the related music genre, which is sometimes also referred to as hatecore. Nazi Punk music generally sounds like other forms of punk rock, but differs by having lyrics that express hatred of some ethnic minorities, Jews, homosexuals, anarchists, and other perceived enemies.
It is a subgenre of punk that contrasts sharply with the anti-authoritarian ideas prevalent in much of the punk subculture. While early punks including Sid Vicious and Siouxsie Sioux incorporated Nazi imagery such as Swastikas, this has commonly been interpreted as an attempt to shock, rather than as a genuine belief in principles of Nazism. In the long-standing band The Exploited, Wattie Buchan has been regularly questioned about his swastika tattoo and he has constantly denied being a racist.In 1978 in Britain, the white nationalist National Front had a punk-oriented youth organization called the Punk Front. Although the Punk Front only lasted one year, it recruited several English punks, as well as forming a number of white power punk bands such as The Dentists, The Ventz, Tragic Minds and White Boss. In the early 1980s, the white power skinhead band Brutal Attack temporarily transformed into a Nazi punk band.The Nazi Punk subculture appeared in the United States by the early 1980s in the hardcore punk scene.Punk Planet
Punk Planet was a 16,000 print run punk zine, based in Chicago, Illinois, that focused most of its energy on looking at punk subculture rather than punk as simply another genre of music to which teenagers listen. In addition to covering music, Punk Planet also covered visual arts and a wide variety of progressive issues — including media criticism, feminism, and labor issues. The most notable features in Punk Planet were the interviews and album reviews. The interviews generally ran two or three pages, and tended to focus on the motivations of the artist (or organizer, activist, or whoever) being interviewed. Punk Planet tried to review nearly all the records it received, so long as the record label wasn't owned or partially owned by a major label. This led to a review section typically longer than thirty pages, covering a variety of musical styles. Although much of the music thus reviewed was, expectedly, aggressive rock, the reviews also covered country, folk, hip-hop, indie rock, and other genres. The Punk Planet reviews section also encompassed independently released comics, zines, and DVDs.
A number of poor distribution deals and the collapse of the Independent Press Association resulted in mounting debts for the editors. As a result, issue 80 was shipped with a cover reading: "This is the final issue of Punk Planet, after this the fight is yours." Subsidiary business Punk Planet books remains in business.Punk ideologies
Punk ideologies are a group of varied social and political beliefs associated with the punk subculture and punk rock. In its original incarnation, the punk subculture originated out of working class angst and the frustrations many youth were feeling about economic inequality and the bourgeois hypocrisy and neglect of working people and their struggles. It was primarily concerned with concepts such as mutual aid, against selling out, egalitarianism, humanitarianism, anti-authoritarianism, anti-consumerism, anti-corporatism, anti-war, decolonization, anti-conservatism, anti-liberal, anti-globalization, anti-gentrification, anti-racism, anti-sexism, gender equality, racial equality, health rights, civil rights, animal rights, disability rights, free-thought and non-conformity. One of its main tenets was a rejection of mainstream, corporate mass culture and its values. It continued to evolve its ideology as the movement spread throughout North America from its origins in England and New York and embrace a range anti-racist and anti-sexist belief systems. Punk ideologies range from left wing views (e.g., NOFX) to right wing beliefs (e.g., No Remorse) or apolitical (e.g., Misfits).
Punk ideologies are usually expressed through punk rock music and lyrics, punk literature such as amateur fanzines, spoken word performances or recordings, punk fashion, or punk visual art. Some punks have participated in direct action, such as protest or demonstration disruption, political violence, ecotage, street barricades, squatting, pirate radio, off-grid energy, graffiti, vandalism and public and business property destruction. Indirect action through counter-propaganda, protests or boycotts. They support and squat in urban and rural collective house's with held group funds in common. Punk fashion was originally an expression of nonconformity, as well as opposition to both mainstream culture and the status quo. Punk fashion often displays aggression, rebellion, and individualism. Some punks wear accessories, clothing or have tattoos that express sociopolitical messages. They stage Punk Rock Food Drives such as D.O.A's Unity for Freedom. Punk visual art also often includes political messages. Many punks wear second-hand clothing, partly as an anti-consumerist statement.
An attitude common in the punk subculture is the opposition to selling out, which refers to abandoning of one's values and/or a change in musical style toward pop (e.g. electropop) and embracing anything in mainstream capitalist culture or more radio-friendly rock (e.g. pop rock) in exchange for wealth, status, or power. Selling out also has the meaning of adopting a more mainstream lifestyle and ideology. The issue of authenticity is important in the punk subculture—the pejorative term poseur is applied to those who try to associate with punk and adopt its stylistic attributes but are deemed not to share or understand the underlying core values or philosophy.
Because anti-establishment attitudes are such an important part of the punk subculture, a network of independent record labels, venues and distributors has developed. Some punk bands have chosen to break from this independent system and work within the established system of major labels. The do it yourself (DIY) ideal is common in the punk scene, especially in terms of music recording and distribution, concert promotion, and photocopying magazines, posters and flyers. The expression DIY was coined by commentators after the fact.
On religious issues, punk is mostly atheist or skeptic, but some punk bands are theist and have promoted religions or spirituality such as Christianity, Islam, Umbanda, the Rastafari movement, Neo-Paganism, Buddhism, Vedanta or Krishna.Punk literature
Punk literature (also called punk lit and, rarely, punklit) is literature related to the punk subculture. The attitude and ideologies of punk rock gave rise to distinctive characteristics in the writing it manifested. It has influenced the transgressional fiction literary genre, the cyberpunk genre and their derivatives.Punk rock in Spain
In Spain, the punk rock scene emerged in 1978, when the country had transitioned from the Francoist State to democracy, After Francisco Franco's death in 1975, the country went through a “volatile political period”, in which the country had to try to relearn democratic values and install a constitution. When punk emerged, it “did not appropriate socialism as its goal”; instead, it embraced “nihilism”, and focused on keeping the memories of past abuses alive, and accusing all of Spanish society of collaborating with the "fascist regime".The early punk scene included a range of marginalized and outcast people, including workers, unemployed, leftists, anarchists, queers, dykes, poseurs, scroungers, and petty criminals. The scenes varied by city. In Madrid, which had been the power center of the Falangist party, the punk scene was like “a release valve” for the formerly repressed youth. In Barcelona, a city which had a particularly “marginalized status under Franco”, because he suppressed the area’s “Catalan language and culture”, the youth felt an “exclusion from mainstream society” that enabled them to come together and form a punk subculture.The first independently released Spanish punk disc was a 45 RPM record by Almen TNT in 1979. The song, which sounded like the US band The Stooges stated that no one believed in revolution anymore, and it criticized the emerging consumer culture in Spain, as people flocked to the new department stores. The early Spanish punk records, most of which emerged in the explosion of punk in 1978, often reached back to "old-fashioned 50s rock-n-roll to glam to early metal to Detroit’s hard protopunk", creating an aggressive mix of fuzz guitar, jagged sounds, and crude Spanish slang lyrics.The first references to punk in Spain, is usually cited as Kaka deluxe and La Banda Trapera del Rio. There was three big scenes in Spain of punk rock: in Madrid (some bands are considered inside of "la movida"), Basque country (also called Basque Radical Rock) and Barcelona (more oriented to hardcore punk) one of the most important punk bands in Spanish history was La Polla Records.Punk zine
A punk zine (or punkzine) is a zine related to the punk subculture and hardcore punk music genre. Often primitively or casually produced, they feature punk literature, such as social commentary, punk poetry, news, gossip, music reviews and articles about punk rock bands or regional punk scenes.Scene (subculture)
The scene subculture is a youth subculture that emerged in the United States and the United Kingdom during the early-mid 2000s. The subculture became popular with adolescents from the late 2000s to mid 2010s. Members of the scene subculture are referred to as scene kids, scene people, scenies, or scenesters. Scene people are known for their fashion consisting of skinny jeans, bright colored clothing, and straight, flat hair with long fringes covering their forehead, sometimes with hair extensions and bright colored hair dye. Scene people are known for listening to multiple genres of music such as post-hardcore, metalcore, crunkcore, deathcore, and pop punk.From the late 2000s to mid 2010s, scene fashion gained popularity among teens and the music associated with the subculture achieved commercial success in both the underground and the mainstream. Groups like Bring Me the Horizon, Asking Alexandria, Pierce the Veil, Metro Station, Twenty One Pilots, and Owl City garnered mainstream attention and large audiences while still largely being tied to the scene subculture. In the late 2010s, the scene subculture lost popularity. The scene subculture has been confused with the emo subculture.Skank (dance)
Skanking is a form of dancing practiced in the ska, ska punk, hardcore punk, reggae, jump-up (a drum and bass subgenre) and other music scenes.
The dance style originated in the 1950s or 1960s at Jamaican dance halls, where ska music was played. Ska music has a prominent backbeat played by the electric guitar on beats two and four of a 4/4 bar of music. When ska became popular amongst British mods and skinheads of the 1960s, these UK youth adopted these types of dances and altered them. The dancing style was revived during the 1970s and 1980s 2 Tone era, and has been adopted by some individuals in the hardcore punk subculture.Soo Catwoman
Soo Lucas, better known as Soo Catwoman (often written incorrectly as Sue Catwoman), was associated with the London punk subculture that sprang up around the mid-1970s.Straight Edge (song)
"Straight Edge" is a track from Minor Threat's 1981 eponymous debut 7" EP, later reissued both as part of the 1984 collection Minor Threat, then as part of 1989's Complete Discography. The song was the inspiration for the name of the punk subculture straight edge.Straight edge
Straight edge (sometimes abbreviated as sXe or signified by XXX or X) is a subculture originated from hardcore punk whose adherents refrain from using alcohol, tobacco and other recreational drugs, in reaction to the excesses of punk subculture. For some, this extends to refraining from engaging in promiscuous sex, following a vegetarian or vegan diet or not using caffeine or prescription drugs. The term straight edge was adopted from the 1981 song "Straight Edge" by the hardcore punk band Minor Threat.Straight edge emerged amid the early-1980s hardcore punk scene. Since then, a wide variety of beliefs and ideas have been associated with some members of the movement, including vegetarianism and animal rights. While the commonly expressed aspects of the straight edge subculture have been abstinence from alcohol, nicotine, and illegal drugs, there have been considerable variations on how far to take the interpretations of "abstaining from intoxicants" or "living drug-free". Disagreements often arise as to the primary reasons for living straight edge. Though Straight Edge politics have varied significantly, from explicitly revolutionary to outright conservative, the latter has mostly dominated, at least in public perception. Left leaning activists have often approached Straight Edge with skepticism, ridicule or even outright hostility in part due to what they perceived as the Straight Edge movement's self-righteous militancy. In 1999, William Tsitsos wrote that straight edge had gone through three eras since its founding in the early 1980s. Bent edge began as a counter-movement to straight edge by members of the Washington, D.C. hardcore scene who were frustrated by the rigidity and intolerance in the scene. During the youth crew era, which started in the mid-1980s, the influence of music on the straight edge scene was at an all-time high. By the early 1990s, militant straight edge was a well-known part of the wider punk scene. In the early to mid-1990s, straight edge spread from the United States to Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and South America. By the beginning of the 2000s, militant straight edge punks had largely left the broader straight edge culture and movement.Tim Yohannan
Tim Yohannan (August 15, 1945 – April 3, 1998), also known as Tim Yo, was the founder of Maximum Rocknroll, a radio show and fanzine documenting punk subculture. He also helped in establishing a number of DIY collectives, such as 924 Gilman Street, Blacklist Mailorder, and the Epicenter Zone record store.
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