some thoughts about punk rock..
Summer in Greece is such a great experience..not.
The heat outside is unbearable and I’m trapped inside a university with no lights
and a billion mosquitoes preying on my skin.
Alongside my existential issues, lately I’ve been thinking about the meaning of all this..Running a blog, playing music, going to shows.. Punk rock.
Is it plain lifestyle, where concerts turn into popularity contests and running blogs give you a prestige or something? I’m sure that is what it is for some people.
I’m not here to prove that I am a punk-rock-know-it-all, but I think that after 5 years of constant searching,reading and listening to all this shit I’ve figured what it means to me and what this whole thing really serves.
I used to be concerned about who is really punk and who’s a poser and meaningless crap like that, but I’ve come to realize that the real question is what has punk become and what it really means.
I consider punk to be the way to cope with all the shit around and I think of it as something that evolves through the decades and changes meaning all the time, which is why i think “no future” punks have no place in this scene at all.
It’s not about the way you dress, not about getting drunk and being stupid.
I believe that dressing in an unusual way used to make a statement, but nowadays we have all these stupid Lady Gagas that do it and make tons of money and don’t get me wrong I like getting shitfaced but we really need to have our minds in our heads, the times are too hard.
Punk is about unity&resistance,
a tool for spreading the word about injustice and the bastards that are trying to keep us down.
Had it not been for punk, I wouldn’t have slightly understood the oppression and the beating of our lives.
So we have to keep it this way, we have to work together to keep a scene that is alive and becomes bigger as the time goes by.
We have to keep doing it ourselves, together and we should never exclude anyone from this whole thing for whatever reason (age, sex or whatever issues we have with them).
When I went to my first punk show, I was 11 years old, about to turn 12. It was at El Corazon in Seattle. I went to see my neighbor’s band, Down We Go. That band is what really got me into punk rock. So I got there and saw a bunch of people with spikes and mohawks and shit and thought they all looked so rad. I went inside the venue, and it was dark and seemed like a really chill environment. The first band, Rough Chukar, came on and I thought they sounded amazing. I was moving to the music and feeling so at home. The next one, The Damage Done, came one and they kicked major ass. I loved their sound and I was able to pick up on the lyrics quick enough to sing along. Their singer is now a good friend of mine. My neighbor’s band Down We Go started playing and I recognized the songs from the CD I got. I was singing along and having a mega rad time. I got into my first moshpit and it was kick ass. I had to leave before the last two bands (Dreadful Children and The Flatliners) played, which was a little shitty. But I’ve seen DC many times since them and have become friends with the members.
Anyway, that was my first show. Summer of 2008. I had an absolutely amazing time and have gone to tons of shows since then.
Well, my first “dive” in this new world, that honestly changed my life was back in february 2004 (I was almost 14 years old), at Rodon club in Athens, and it was one of the last live shows organized in that legendary music center (a place where Wipers and Ramones had played, for example). Half a year ago I had bought my first punk albums, 2 cds of Ramones and Misfits, and I had been listening to them all fucking day, for months. So when I heard that Misfits are visiting my hometown, I got really crazy.
“The legendary Misfits, one of my favorite bands (back then), are visiting MY hometown??? Without the original line up, but with Marky Ramone (Ramones) on Drums and Dez Cadena (Black Flag) on guitar??? What The Fuck???”
I was a small, happy, crazy, bastard after the news…
I couldn’ t wait…
Finally the day had come. This was the day, dude! My best friend came to my house in the heart of our shittie, and we started by foot for Rodon Club early that night. It is so fucking hard to explain / describe what I was feeling on the way. A mixture of excitement, suspense and distress about the (beauty of the) unknown. Well, when we arrived and entered the club, I really got into a new world. New faces, interesting people, weird hair-cuts, black-dressed guys, beautiful girls and two kids. Me and my friend. Never mind! I remember that the speakers were playing Dead Kennedys before the show. Hell Yeah! After an hour, the three legends went up to the stage, grabbed their instruments, and started to rock (n roll) the whole place. Hybrid Moments, Haloween, Dig Up Her Bones, Rise Above (Black Flag) and many other hymns I grew up with… Almost two hours of dirty dance and loud sing alongs. I was in heaven, or better, in HELL. Hell is so fucking sweet, my dear!
Even if today I am thinking of the show, and realize that Misfits sucked that night, that Jerry Only (the original Misfits bassist) is a fucking retard bastard who sold his great band, I will never forget the experience, my first punk rock show.
Ohhh, come on, how can you forget the first time you did sex for example???
Punk changed my life. In a better way than sex :p
Cheers! (and thanx!)
MORE FIRST PUNK STORIES COMING AS SOON AS YOU SEND EM IN YOU LAZY BUMS!
But, since I’ve been so busy with new bands and records, doing reviews for the zine and preparing the 2011 Top Ten for the blog, i though i’d share some OLD kick ass albums with you. Bands i listened to before i turned to the unholy house of punk, bands that marked a much darker time in my personal history. A pre-punk prelude if you will.
What can i say?It was the day that my whole world turned upside down.October or november 2005?Poor litle memory,it fucks with my head.Anyways.The gig took place at a skate park where a bmx contest was taking place the same day and the band playing was Vodka Juniors.I learned about the gig from my closest(at that period of time) friends cousin,she was a 26 years old girl into californian punk bands,she used to bring us compilations with a variety of bands such us propagandhi,the ataris,rufio,nofx and all that great melodic stuff!My friend called me and told me about the gig.He used to ride a bmx and i used to skate so the contest combined with the gig was meant to be a blast.As i travel back in time i can still feel the same excitement i felt that day.
We woke up early in the morning with all of our senses telling us that this is THE day.We got some music for the road,some melodies to keep us steady while my friends dad was driving us to that magical spot where everything started.Finally we arrived and went straight to the contest.The skate park was full of people,some guys doing their thing with their bikes while others hanging around talking and drinking.We watched all this charming madness for 5 or 6 hours until the time came for us to feel the vibes of this thing called punk rock show.We were offered some beer from my friends cousin but we said “no” cause after the gig my friends dad was coming to get us so we thought “We wont drink cause we’ll propably stink booze and yer dad is gonna get mad”.Fucking innocent times.After the waiting,the talks and the refusal of drinking beer VJ started doing their thing..I was stocked.My eyes were fooling me.For the first time in my life i experienced such energy and passion.Everything was in perfect balance.All of my senses were flowing perfectly in my body and i had a BIG fucking smile.Also the first time i joined the pit,such an amazinf feeling!After 6 and a half years i ve changed my views on various punk-centered subjects and i ve also changed as a person but the flame that conquered my heart that day still burns.I love punk rock cause it shaped me as a person in many ways and helped me see things clearly but to limit myself onto that can be harmfull and even painfull when it comes to things such as evolving in life.
The legendary band Toxic narcotic once had a line on a song called “fuck you”,it goes like that..”Punk with rules is punk for fools”and since i ve heard it i stuck with it until forever!Thanx the VJ guys for being sincere to what they do through the years.
A guy smashing ex-jumbo games while his bandmate was experimenting with drown sounds of metal.and then the locust showed up for a 15 min show.I consider it to be diy because there was a 10 euro ticket price for a band coming from san diego on a european tour. p.s. the drummer was asleep on a couch next to us before the show! Great merch with a locust belt buckle included :)
The first show I can remember, was when Propagandhi played in athens in 2002 with vodka juniors.I was waiting all summer long for that night playing over and over each record..It was fuckin awesome, the place was packed…The venue was overloaded with people all ecstatic going nuts..When I got inside vodka jr were playing, the crowd was mad… shortly after propagandhi came on stage…and the first song went off….”fuck the border” the whole place was up in the air…all the place a giant mosh pit…..I remember struggling to get to the stage and the hesitation before my first stage dive…I remember the faces of the people around dancing through the songs…smiles and -(….πόρωση τέλοσπαντων πως το λενε δε θυμαμαι)-.After the show I had a huge smile on my face that I could hardly wipe out for days or maybe weeks, the same smile I have now as I think about that concert…..The concert that I remember as my first punk show…..
What’s my first punk show?? Yeah, like I remember. But, ever since L. decided to make this blog, I haven’t stopped thinking about it and discussing it with people. So, I may not remember my first punk rock show (it’s possible it wasn’t something that great since I can’t retain anything about it) but I do most definitely remember the first punk rock show I stepped foot in at THE punk rock place in town. Villa Amalias squat 14/10/2002. For me, up until that day, diy punk meant badly recorded albums, wild screams with no ounce of melody, buried bass lines and guitars that sound like a vacuum cleaner. At least that’s what my friend made me listen to every so often, when he’d receive a package in the mail, with new records from some Latin American country.
My ears weren’t used to this kind of thing and I would go a bit sour whenever I heard anything that wasn’t like the California punk I was into at the time. Before I had a chance to dig a bit deeper, I arranged to go to this show my friend had informed me about. It was also the first time I went to a squat and I really didn’t know what to expect. I’d never heard of the band before and I didn’t go to the trouble of finding out before the show either. By the end of the night, I felt like I’d discovered America.
Endstand were simply sensational. The guitars were going up and down like the fists in the air and the singer had me stoked with his on-stage movements and the intensity with which he spat out the lyrics. Melodies followed badass hardcore riffing and the sing-along parts made you shout your own words into the crowd. People were dancing like crazy, jumping on and off the stage and often someone would fly over our heads. The stage dives and crowd surfing they were talking about……
The end of the show found me with a smile on my face, wondering if there really are diy bands that play this awesome? Who publish their own records on independent record labels (or even their own labels), that tour all of Europe, playing at squats and diy spots with a low/voluntary entry fee (or no fee at all), booked and organized by people within the independent diy network, who have no economic gain …
Right, that’s my kind of thing – Αυτή είναι η φαση μου λοιπον
Much Respect and Love for the “big” house and my good friend Yiannis!!!
P.S. I shouldn’t forget to point out that this show was the first in a series of shows, which would mark a very active period for live gigs in the city and I am of course very lucky and proud to have been a part of it. I don’t think I missed a single show at Villa Amalias for those next three years, which was full of ripping punk shows from bands from all over the world like outcold, deadstop, born dead icons, imperial leather, the now denial, kafka, annihilation time, madame germen, vitamin x e.t.c. . I sincerely thank D. who, after almost a decade, gave me a DVD with Endstand’s whole show from that night, so that I might remember that very special day in my life.
My first punk show took me by suprise really,I was at the tender age of 13 and it was the year 1999…along with my best friend we had recently discovered records from Green Day,Nofx,Bad Religion and had firstly shaped our music taste towards the punk side. One day as we’re sitting in the school yard we see some people setting up a p.a, a drumset,guitar and bass amps just right in the middle of the yard. The band plays three Green Day covers and one from Bad Religion plus one of their own that I fail to recall if it was good or not…just after that they packed their things and left the yard never to be seen again,as a band at least ‘cause most members were from our school. The break was over and we had to get back to class but that was nearly impossible because all we wanted to do from then on was to play in a punk band and I’m happy to say that I still get that feeling when I see a great band!
Another show that is also considered “first” in my list is Propagandhi playing with local bands, Vodka Juniors and Volume 96 (I might be wrong for the second band!) in 2002. Totally awesome show with no room to breath,sweat running down the walls and the whole place screaming : “fuck the borders!” For sure a show that urged me to go deeper within the punk realm and reminded me to stay young in mind….
Well the story starts back in the November of the devastating year of 2000 (check out Rising Terror’s booklet for more information) in a small city at the north – west of Greece called igoumenitsa. Igoumenitsa is one of the biggest ports in Greece and only one hour (before the trip?) distance with the ferry to corfu. Corfu back then had an interesting sub-scene of hardcore (in general) punk with bands such as ALT T.C, Chaotic Disaster, Nuclear Survive and Anti-Social Corpses. A phone call from doros (mastermind of Alt T.C) some days earlier offered me a mind-fucking burn-out ‘coz he announced me that Alt T.C would play with their +texnia- (an anarchist collective that runs till today concerts and albums of bands in non-commercial, anti-merch style) colleagues Smerna (a great punk band that combined lots of elements from the whole rock genre).
So, we arrived in corfu (me and my best friend) and go straight to the university would took place (we are in 2000, remember?). We arrived there 5 hours earlier than the show propably starts, so it was a nice time to meet other punk fuckers of the island. We slowly started to help each other out with the cleaning, the gear and the stuff and finally some hours later the gig took place.
I can’t remember if Chaotic Disaster demolish their proto-non-technical thrash metal but for one thing I’m sure. Alt T.c were the best band in the whole world for my childhood (they had released their second demo “akoma zontanos” back then, a truly mid-tempo diamond). They started their set with all their hits (!!!!!!!!) and the crowd that consisted of 30 young kids between the ages of 14 to 25 years old starting moshing like no-tomorrow. The first time that I can remember myself gasping for air and the first time I got a knee between my legs (yep, balls/thing). I still remember guys delivers two cover songs, Genoktonia (genocide) from Stress and Stratodikeio from Ex-Humans three times faster, I couldn’t even sing along.
Later, smerna send us to hell with their visual effects (projectors and and crazy videos) with their tremendous lyrics and romantic yet passionate melodic punk. I was so fucking exhausted that the last thing that I remember is my sleep on a broken couch and the sweet taste of Music beauty I had on my lips.
Still today I can’t describe anything as punk – consider how many assholes or major bands describe their selfs as “punk” or “hardcore”. Tll today I believe in diy and running the things yo like – music included – by yourself with your friends. No fucking money, no posers, no shitty stuff…The time is now…
-mikxxx (hit me up: )
* THE NOW-DENIAL
On the night of October the 15th 1998 was when I witnessed my first punk show. Nofx played in Athens for the first time ever and where probably the fastest growing punk rock band of the whole Epitaph - Californian punk rock movement. Having released one of their best albums, “So long and thanx for all the shoes”, they delivered a great and memorable show to this day. To me at least. Great set, amazing sound, good jokes and an ecstatic crowd made this the best ” first show ” one could ever hope for. People jumped from everywhere in the room on to the crowd for fuck’s sake. I still can’t believe I didn’t appreciate teen idols’ show, cause I hadn’t heard of them yet !! At least I wasn’t a total idiot and took the bus home after the show, unlike the mass of kids jumping into their parents car after the show…