aving an older brother is like a personal time machine that lets you speed up your life. You get to taste a little bit of another world before you truly get there. Like someone handing you a jar of saltwater and saying, “This is the Aegean Sea. You’ll get to swim in it one day.”
It was 1989 and I was fifteen. My brother threw me in the back of his friend’s car and we were off to Lakewood, Ohio to see a punk show. He somehow convinced my parents it was cool. It was better than cool. Even though it was late fall, I put on my sleeveless Johnny Rotten shirt ‘cause I thought it was the best wardrobe to fit in to a punk rock show. Never mind snow flurries were in the forecast. I was impressionable, and the illusion of inclusion outweighed the discomfiture of a Lake Erie night in the fall.
We were already late when we arrived at a large warehouse on the edge of main street, a bit off the beat. It was nothing but a box on the outside, rented for the show; but whatever going on inside couldn’t be contained. The low hum of a neutron star met us as we opened the car door. We hustled through the crisp night to the back entrance and pulled it open. A rush of hot air bathed me and the noise hit us, a flood of music that knocked the wind out of my gut. The band stood at the back of the warehouse over a two-foot stage built with plywood and crates. A skinny kid with Converse All Stars and cutoff jeans at the desk collected our three bucks and we were in. Three bucks.
I had no idea what awaited me. It was a vortex into a world spun with pure, honest energy. A thousand vibrant, young people slamming into each other, moshing out their wild, adolescent angst in a cauldron of unpolluted freedom, all spawned by four skinny guys jerking around on stage with a couple of guitars and a drum kit. And suddenly I was part of it, absorbed like a drop of water into river flow.
A thousand bodies bouncing.
The infinite stench of boy sweat.
The energy of a hundred suns.
And we didn’t need permission.
When the show was over, we couldn’t get enough. Word had gotten out that the Lakewood strip hosted another punk band on tour. And we crossed the street and strolled up to the bar with the haughtiness of teenagers wiser than their years. A sign on the window said the show started at 11 o’clock, reserved entrance 18 or older. What the hell! That ain’t punk! That’s status quo. That’s following the rules. That’s exclusion and hierarchy. But that ain't punk.
What I learned that night was ownership, freedom of personal agency, ingenuity and grit. Putting it out there and turning it over to the world for three bucks so everybody can get a taste. That's punk! You see, punk isn't just edgy rock ‘n’ roll music. Punk is doing things your way—setting up the stage and playing no matter who shows up; building your skate ramps like you want them; writing the stories you want to write; recording the videos you want to make. Go down the list. It's up to you. And it’s the same reason this site came into existence.
You don’t need anyone’s permission.
Do it right. Punkwrite.
What is punkwrite?
what is Punkwrite?
Life is an individual experience.
Art is its expression.
This is my project and my story, done the way I want. And that's the point. That's punk.
Everyone needs something to own, something that comes from the gut and can't be stopped by anybody. Punkwrite aims to inspire you to do it in your own image.
That's right. I write. That's punk. That's