Thoughts on Being a Grown-Up Punk

Malcolm X was once asked what he thought of Socialism. His response; “Is it good for black people?”

It’s a simple, yet very profound sentiment.

The Buzzcocks are playing the Ottobar this Wednesday. The Chop will not be in attendance. We’ve already been very clear about our feelings on aging punk bands, and the Buzzcocks are definitely aging. The big idea on this tour is that they’re making it well-known that they intend to play their first two records in their entirety, and they’re not going to try to recycle any of that crap from the ’90’s that they tried to foist off on our generation of teenagers 15 years ago. We love the Buzzcocks, and they can really do no wrong in our eyes, but they make us consider what it means to be a grown-up punk.

One of the world's great punk bands was also high on style. The Buzzcocks in the late '70's.

Being an adult punk can’t just mean going around doing a pale impression of your teenage self. It can’t be listening to the same records over and over again. It can’t be tattoos, middle fingers, and a ‘no future’ mentality.

But it can’t mean giving up either. Grown up punks can never be satisfied with becoming their parents. Sitcoms, malls, and SUV’s are no way to live. Growing up punk has taught us all that we shouldn’t, cannot accept the status quo. In a lot of ways that old saying is true: If you’re not now, you never were.

We still feel conflicted though. So many times we feel like an undercover punk. Most days now there’s not so much as a one-inch button on our jacket by which we’d be recognizable. While we’ll never outgrow punk, we have outgrown high school tribalism.

To our mind though, a great example of how to be a grown up punk is Mark Andersen. Here is someone who has made himself a way to live out his ideals every day, and to continue fostering community and effecting change in so many positive ways. Being punk never meant changing the world. It means changing your world.

So now when we’re asked what we think of something, we’re forced to consider; “Is it good for punk people?”


Buzzcocks play the Ottobar Wednesday, 5/10 5/12 with the Dollyrots and DJ King Gilbert. 2549 N Howard St. 8 pm doors.



Filed under Baltimore Events, Chop Rants!, shows

9 responses to “Thoughts on Being a Grown-Up Punk

  1. ApeMummy

    Wednesday is the 12th, mon frere. I only note this out of love.

  2. Nice post. I think anyone who’s embraced a musical subculture to that degree is gonna have to face this one down at some point. For me it was metal, not punk. But still. I’ve had similar thoughts. If Sepultura somehow had a reunion tour next year, I’m not sure I could go, no matter how bad part of me would want to (and god I would want to).

    • I’m still sore at my parents for not letting me go see Ministry, Helmet and Sepultura at the Civic Center in7th grade. If that bill came around again, I would have to go, no question.

      • For me it was the Pantera, Sepultura, Biohazard (at least I think the third was Biohazard) show that was the one that got away. When Dimebag got shot, my dreams of a reunion evaporated. *nostalgic sniffle*

  3. Good post! Funny thing is, I dont think I will ever feel completely grown up and sometimes I think its because of the things I like. Maybe I just dont wanna grow up!

  4. I’m a little late to the party but this is a great post. I’m starting to have a lot of the same feelings- trying to balance obligations and ideals. It’s about growing-up without selling-out.

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