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Punk for a Day Day

Punk For a Day Day is a day for people to dress up like punk rockers and listen to punk rock music. It is also a day to celebrate the history of punk rock. The birth of punk rock is seen as happening in the mid to late 1970's, with the rise of bands such as the Ramones in the United States, and The Clash and the Sex Pistols in England. But, it traces its roots to early rock and roll. Early rock and roll artists such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, and Elvis Presley influenced British bands such as the Beatles, who brought their music to the United States with the British Invasion. The Beatles, along with more hard-edged bands from the Invasion, such as The Kinks, The Animals, and The Rolling Stones, influenced American teenagers to start garage bands. In the mid to late 1960's, many of these bands popped up, such as The Sonics, The Barbarians, The Seeds, and The Standells. Some of these groups even had big hits, such as the Kingsmen, with "Louie Louie". By the end of the 1960's, and at the beginning of the 1970's, bands were formed that were influenced by the early rock and roll, as well as by the garage bands. These are now known as proto-punk groups, and included bands such as The Stooges—fronted by Iggy Pop, The Velvet Underground—fronted by Lou Reed, The New York Dolls, and the MC5.

The birth of punk came from all these influences, and the Ramones, The Clash, and the Sex Pistols were at the forefront of the movement. Although punk rock has always been an underground musical and cultural movement, it was much larger in England, specifically in London, than it was in the United States, when it first came about. The epicenter of the original movement in the United States was in New York City, centered around CBGB. In the mid 1990's, punk influenced bands such as Green Day, The Offspring, and Blink-182 broke into the mainstream, bringing punk rock music and culture to a larger audience. Some punk rock purists see the mainstream success of punk rock as being contrary to its ethos.

There are many subgenres of punk rock, such as Oi!, street punk, horror punk, celtic punk, hardcore punk, anarcho punk, ska punk, and pop punk. These subgenres vary in their sound, as well as their lyrical messaging. In general, punk rock is identified by its fast drumming, loud power chord influenced guitars riffs, hard-edged vocals, and simple song arrangements. Lyrical content is often politically oriented—most often left wing— and has an anti-establishment tinge to it. Punk rock has long been associated with DIY, with bands and fans recording their own music, and distributing it themselves, eschewing major labels. Authenticity and attitude are two other themes that have long been associated with punk rock. Clothing has often been an important aspect of punk rock as well, with ripped clothes with safety pins, leather jackets, and altered hair being important elements. Pogoing, moshing, and stage diving are common at concerts, and the breaking down of barriers between bands and audiences is an important aspect of live punk rock shows.

How to Observe

Celebrate the day by dressing up as a punk rocker. Maybe you are an older punk rocker who can go back to their roots, or maybe this is all new to you. You could cut your hair into a mohawk or just make it spiky, or dye it a crazy color. You could wear a leather jacket, or put a bunch of patches of band names on a sweatshirt. Don't forget to wear t-shirts with band names on them too. You could tear holes in your clothes and use safety pins to hold them together, and wear spiky bracelets. You could sport combat boots or Chuck Taylor shoes. Watch out today though, there's a good chance you might be called a poseur!

You should also celebrate the day by listening to punk rock. If you don't know where to start, here are some ideas of bands and albums that are seen as influential or important in the history of punk rock:

Influences

  • early rock and roll such as Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley
  • harder edged British Invasion bands such as The Kinks and The Rolling Stones
  • garage rock such as the Nuggets compilation

Proto-punk

Early Punk

More Punk

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