Punk’s Not Dead ft. Interviews from the Ramones, Sex Pistols, Ian MacKaye, Henry Rollins, and more
Directed by Susan Dynner, Punk’s Not Dead is a cinematic thrill ride that covers the wide subject that is punk rock. What is it, what does it mean, where did it happen, how did it break out into the mainstream, and will it last forever are questions answered with interviews from those who were a part of it, from the originators like the Ramones to the pop-punk sensations (can I say that?) Good Charlotte.
The movie, Punk’s Not Dead, opens with footage of the Ramones, specifically Johnny Ramone, explaining that, “Punk is just a rebellious rock for all kids, all over. Not a bunch of old men playing music for your mothers and fathers.” From there – Paul Cook, Johnny Rotten, and Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols, Captain Sensible, and Dave Vanian of the Damned, and Joe Strummer of the Clash all give similar quotes to reference what punk is all about. Each one of these originators laid the groundwork for the genre – be it the attitude, the fashion, or the music.
From there, you head into how the movement from these early punk rock gods created an identity and community that swept the nation by storm. Rebellious kids with “weird” clothing, using music as vehicles of expression, and overall damning our perfect society in the eyes of every “good” mother, or father, in the land. The punk’s need to go against conformity caused riffs and hate with the “normal” people, which in return only made the community that much stronger. For you knew, if you saw another punk walking down the street – you had a friend, a non-formative, think-for-yourself, human being willing to accept you for who you are. And who explains all this? No better than a cast of characters that played punk rock in underground venues during the 70s & 80s like Ian MacKaye, Henry Rollins, Keith Morris, Steve Whale, Brian Baker, Jay Bentley, Monkey Jack Grishon, and many more.
As most know, punk rock does get into the mainstream around the 90s. The rise of bands like Rancid, The Offspring, and Green Day laid the groundwork for pop-punk bands like Good Charlotte & Sum-41. Whether or not these bands are punk is debated by both past legends and people who have strong roots within the punk rock community. Regardless of how you feel, I find it important to hear both sides of the story and the documentary, Punk’s Not Dead, does a great job of explaining.
Beyond the live footage and interviews, one sees throughout Punk’s Not Dead, the ending is truly what makes it. A multitude of interviews from all sorts of punk rockers reveal how punk rock became part of their life, this rebellious moment that lead them to turn up the tunes. A spirit each and every single person has experienced, even if you don’t consider yourself a punk. As each person speaks, you understand that as long as there is a f**k conformity spirit, punk will never die. It can’t die. To further prove the point, they (the creators of the film) asked people to submit videos of their local scene to be featured in the film. And, no doubt, punk rockers from around the world obliged. They gained footage from New Zealand, Serbia, Iceland, Indonesia, Lithonia, Belgium, Russia, Israel, Finland, France, Italy, Australia, and so many more. F**king, right?! Seeing it all, it gave me chills. Hopefully, it does the same for you and …
Long live punk rock.