August 27, 2005

BEACON SIGHTED THROUGH THE FOG

I realized something watching the Minutemen doc tonight, about punk rock. About the word-meaning of punk rock, something that despite all the familiar screes we hear from oldsters (38+ holla!) about the freeness and unformalized definitions of back in the day version, is that when you hear Mike Watt, and D Boon (RIP) talk of their punk rock, esp. D--his punk is synonymous with hope. Hope, and promise for a new world with one's self and hope for everything else, but it's not a blinders-on hope, it is a hope anchored with a realism about what the world is really like, hope posit'd fiercely against certain cynicism. A hope for (then) El Salvador, and a hope salvaged in the face of the front row of the Cathay de Grande spitting in yr face while you yawlp, while you shout for history and speak for truth.

Maybe we know it still. Perhaps we know it better, now in 2005, as the kind of hope age and experience beats out of you, the kind of hope that reanimates in nostalgia or conjugal visits with our favorite singles from out 18th year. Maybe we have tattoos to remember easier by. But, still, there is Mike Watt, through the whole thing, showing off Pedro from the drivers side of his van, saying yes we can, yes we can still. Then there is all the footage from all the living rooms, everyone from Thuston, to Joe Baiza and people last spotted on the back of a Tom Troccoli's Dog LP , all these people - some deeply jowled and drug damaged and others bright and shiny, against backdrops of rooms piled high with records and 29 years deep into "punk" and still taking hard drags off their music-love , still going, still alive with it and excited. In a word, it was neat. Sometimes, punk as we see it now is so embittered and emphemeral, you wonder, how has it sustained this long, other than simply as an industry -- but yeah, yeah, hey there is something to it. You keep yr hed down and keep working, you trust the crackling embers in your heart. And, Yeah, hey, Mike Watt was born with a flannel shirt and Chuck Taylors on, jamming econo on the daily, still! Mike Watt manages to convey being an old-punk as simply - a real deep commitment thats based on hope and love-of-DIY, rather than a pathetic thing he never matriculated out of -- which is how other people seem to wear it.

Posted by Jessica at August 27, 2005 12:12 AM | TrackBack