Punk Isn’t Dead, It’s Just Dad Punk

The MenzingersA few months ago, I went to Nashville with some friends and we went to check out this Philly Punk band The Menzingers. After an evening of $2 dollar tall boys and some anthemic cuts, I found myself whole heartedly singing wildly out of tune alongside a crowd full of people basking in the afterglow of heartfelt lyrics and a damn good time. Talking with some of the other guys after the show we had a stark realization: Punk Rock is the New Dad Rock. Now hear me out, I don’t say this as an insult. I love Queen or Elton John as much as the next guy, but something has changed. Let me show you why (and share some music while I’m at it).

Henry Rollins

Let’s take a look at Henry Rollins, Patron Saint of Punk. Rollins led Black Flag through an incredible series of releases in the 80’s with Black Flag and then fronted an incredible solo career under Rollins Band. In this, Henry Rollins revitalized Metal and many of it’s subgenres, past present and future by giving breath to Hardcore. I’m serious guys, Keith Buckley said in a live interview that there wouldn’t be  Every Time I Die if it wasn’t for Rollins Band. Rollins has since switched from fronting Punk bands to Inspirational Speaking and generally being pretty chill compared to how he came up, often calling for cooler heads and advocating for more diversity and emotional growth beyond music life.

Bands like The Menzingers, The Lawerence Arms and Northington are showcasing Rollins’ same personal growth in their music, creating soon to be classics. Albums like After The Party and Cocktails & Dreams are familiar trips down memory lane, often focused on dealing with leaving their 20’s, what’s it’s like to lose friends to time instead of fallouts or how they’ve outgrown their favorite hole in the wall. A very common topic in Dad Punk is deeply considering where it all went wrong, generally leaving us to hold a mirror up and fill in the blanks ourselves.

While Post Core has dominated the not-so-mainstream market for the last 10 years, Punk has found its way home, arguably for the first time. I caught a showing of The Other F Word following avowed Punk Icons like Fat Mike from NOFX struggling with what it means to become a father. Imagine that, the man who wrote Six Years On Dope and New Boobs is now concerned with raising a child. Now while I won’t put on Pump Up The Valuum for my girlfriend’s son or my niece any time soon it’s important to note that these bands have grown as individuals, but by association the scene has expanded it’s focus into what it means to be. Personally, I welcome this change and the broadening of Dad Rock into Dad Punk. Now please excuse me while I go listen to After The Party and sing along.

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