Get it right, punk

Posted: Sunday, February 19, 2006

Perhaps Mr. Keeker (This Week section, Feb. 9) needs a history of punk rock lesson, because his quote "Two albums, 'Telephone Free Landslide Victory' and 'Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart,' are lauded as two of the best punk records of the mid-1980s," reflects that his knowledge of punk rock is not up to snuff.

Punks are proud of their punk ethos and claim the moniker made famous by Lester Bangs. Camper Van Beethoven never claimed to be punk. Just because a band plays fast or breaks into a ska song once in awhile doesn't make them punk.

Though Camper should be lauded for being independent of corporate rock, they shouldn't be lauded for two of the best punk records of the mid-1980s. That distinction should be for the many punk rock bands of the mid-80s, say any band on the SST, Dischord or Alternative Tentacles labels.

Stating that Camper recorded two of the best punk records in the mid-80s is like saying R.E.M. was punk and totally original. This is not to diminish either band as great pop bands, but neither are punk, neither claimed to be or ever will be punk. Anyone who states otherwise is grossly mistaken.

You don't learn about rock 'n' roll by seeing Hair. You listen to the Kinks or the Stooges. You don't inform anyone about punk by calling it something it's not. Punk rock is not only rock, but also a form of folk music like hip-hop, Wu-Tang Clan and the Clash being the best folk music groups ever.

To learn about punk rock you listen to the Clash, the Ramones, the Dead Kennedys, Minor Threat, the Hard Ons, Bad Brains, Minutemen, Black Flag, Descendents, Poison Idea, Crimpshrine, Superchunk, Jawbreaker, Screeching Weasel, Lifetime, Propagandhi, Against Me! or come see the Shoe Whores, Oh! the Band, and What Remains on March 10 at the VFW, not Camper and Cracker.

Ryan Sotomayor


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