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The Death of Punk Rock; or, They Finally Pulled the Plug on the Old B****

I have this thing where I try to focus on an anticipated event in the future with such concentration and detail that it's the next best thing to time traveling. And then, for fun, when the actual event arrives, I try to remember with all possible clarity the past time when I imagined the moment I am currently living. In this way, I will myself unstuck in time.

Back when punk rock meant a lot to me, I tried to imagine the point at which culture will completely consume and digest my musical obsession. And, by "digest", I'm not indicating "cutting edge" advertising (that is, of course, an oxymoron, but you get the point), but the nexus where any possible semblance of the counterculture is bleached out of punk. I had a hard time imagining that happening with punk - but, then again, in 1972, I never thought I would get sick of the greatest rock -n- roll song ever, "Stairway to Heaven".

Today, waiting in line to make a deposit at a Chase bank in Elizabethtown, KY, I heard the original version of the Ramones' "Rock -n- Roll Radio" playing softly in the background. It was followed by Bryan Adam's "Summer of '69".

This isn't Iggy and William Burroughs on Nike commercials. This is at a bank, in a military base/bible belt town. This is it - the end of punk as a countercultural marker. This was the coffin nail. Punk is now only music.

I must admit I felt nothing. Nothing, that is, except the vertigo of sliding back and forth between now and when punk mattered to me.

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Comment by mike whybark on September 5, 2009 at 3:18am
Otis, that is an awesome story. Get a song out of it, sir. Seriously, that is novel-grade material.
Comment by John P. Strohm on September 4, 2009 at 3:51pm
Otis - in T-Town no less! That story doesn't surprise me having lived in the South for over a decade. It's impossible to miss the contradictions - animosities bubbling under the surface and rarely directly expressed, while on the surface people are incredibly warm, generous and hospitable. You know what? After living in New England where everyone's ideology is spot on but they're rude as hell, I'll fuckin' take it. I'll take the superficial kindness. It keeps things more pleasant. And the tensions bubbling under? They go back centuries; It's a long process.
Comment by Jeb Banner on September 4, 2009 at 2:52pm
love that episode, great show!
Comment by mike whybark on September 4, 2009 at 2:39pm
Zac: no, it's a joke from the 'Nightman' episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Which must insist everyone go watch on Hulu right now.

wrong clip, so the joke's not in it, but hey! Nightman!
Comment by Jeb Banner on September 4, 2009 at 2:30pm
man what a great story!

love sinner but not the sin, right?
Comment by otis on September 4, 2009 at 2:20pm
**Sorry for the thread drift***

I opened for Molly Hatchet in Tuscaloosa about 12 years ago. We were sitting back stage after our set and the MH guys were starting to get "psyched up" for their gig. These were old, fat hillbilly dudes wearing tight pants and fancy shirts. They all started doing these kung fu moves, and screaming out loud about how hard they were gonna rock the house. They were doing leg kicks into thin air, shadow boxing, and hitting each other on the shoulders. The fellas in my band were making contact with me from across the room trying to figure out if this was real. We were convinced that Molly Hatchet was gonna beat us up. They went on stage and I stepped out front to give it a listen. The singer came out waving the biggest confederate flag I'd ever seen. It was freakin' enormous and the crowd erupted. I can't describe how bad I hated that band as I stood there. I was convinced they were the devil incarnate.

After the gig the Hatchet dudes started chatting us up, and were being pretty down to earth. The singer asked us where we were staying and I said that we had yet to get a hotel. The truth was, we had been on the road for two weeks and pulled into town broke. We were going to sleep in the van and put the money from the show in the gas tank. The singer dude said that the venue gave them six hotel rooms and they were not using any of them. They were driving to the next town in the tour bus. He then handed me all six hotel room keys. He said something about remembering what it was like back when they started and gave me a hug. I'm still conflicted about the whole damned thing to this day.
Comment by Jeff Weiss on September 3, 2009 at 11:16pm
I remember playing the Ramones on the radio in 1980 every week. That always got the phone lines to light up with death threats from the good ol' boys if I didn't play some Seger. Memories...misty water colored memories.

No, punk rock didn't change anything except muzak Ramones.
Comment by Marvin P. Goldstein on September 3, 2009 at 8:39pm
Bill Zink killed PuNk! (I don't even know who you are dood, so just kidding)
Comment by Bill Zink on September 3, 2009 at 8:06pm
Comment by Zac Burke on September 3, 2009 at 3:55pm
Mike: Is that an imported cereal?

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