I've been thinking a lot about this lately. I read zines and internet articles on punk music most of the time, and for majority of the time, most of the articles are based on late 70's and 80's punk band. Ohh I wish i was a teenager in those days, but I wasn't. It's very rare to find articles talking about the rise or reborn of punk in the mid 90's, I think many people has forgotten about it, even though it was only 15 years ago.
Punk its a very weird kind of music, that somehow it keeps coming back fresher all the time, as well as taking a break every 5 to 7 years. We all know it started in the mid 70's and thousands of bands came out till the late 80's. It started as punk 77, then picked up some more speed and attitude having a UK82 sound, and in the early 80's Oi! was the new voice of real punk. Punk to me it has always been about the aggression, about how it belong to kids that felt rejected from society, rebellious kids, kids that came from working/lower class families. I've never seen it as a political "movement" or any of that bullshit. I mean, if the people in our society don't have the right to say what they want, who the fuck is gonna listen to a bunch of filthy punk kids? hahahaha, no one! But all that was back then, I love all of those bands from the 70's and 80's, but as much as I love it, I'm not part of it, neither I'm never going to be.
As the 80's go on, it seems to be self destructing the scene on its own. Either if they were a punk band or an Oi! band, by the end of the 80's, either you had to be Red or a bonnehead. Like I said before, none of the shit that I like, neither give a shit about it. The 90's started and it seem that punk was a thing of the late 70's and the 80's, or maybe just too a break from all the bullshit. I say around '94 is when it starts to pick up. In my opinion, The Casualties gave it that push to bring back again, at least in American soil. This time punk seem fresh, with a whole new look, way of thinking, a sound that stick to the kids and brough unity between punks and skins once again. No! it wasn't Oi!... it was Street Punk. Street Punk was the new face of punk, it re-created it self again. It was a mixture of Oi! with American Hardcore, and best of all this time was not about politics. It felt like we had our own music again, for the ones that didn't live it in the 80's, it seem that we went back to the pass and it started all over again.
Even though The Casualties had shitty ass lyrics and still do, hahahaha, most their songs were dedicated to the punks, drinking and having a good time, and unity between skin and punks. As the mid-90's picks up, more bands started to come out, and most of them had the same sound and the same ideals. This time there was no politics behind, instead it was more of a protest against our government and everyone else that pissed us off. Around '97 'Punkcore Records' came out, and sign 4 of the greatest bands that you HAD to listen to. The line up was The Casualties, A Global Threat, The Unseen and The Virus. In my opinion they were the ones that brough back Punk in the mid-90s and even early 2000. I remember going to shows waiting for any of those bands to play, and you see kids, they all kind of look the same, in a way it was like an uniform, hahahaha. Most guys had spikes or mohawks (some more than one), hair had all kinds of diferent color (blue and green most preferable), some ripped band shirt with no sleeve, stud belts (some wore 2 to 3 at once), others prefered the bullet belts and that shit was heavy, I don't know how they could wear that, hahahahhaa. Tight jeans was preferable by most kids, or jean fucked up shorts, as well as boots (any kind), vans and converse always came in handy too. I also remember some kids always had a big Oi! in their shirts wearing it with thing suspenders and the rest of the outfit that I just described. Basicly most kids were Oi! Punks. The girls had a look of their own as well, leopard print pants (any color), boots or some kind of shoes that look hot (haha), jeans or skirt depending on how much of a skank they were, also they cut it the neck of their shirts and turned it into a wifebeater kind of looking. Belts never missed, and of course, I remember it was a competition who wore better make up, hahahahaha. Specially the ones that were a Devotchkas fan, most of them they all liked like Alaine. Ohh, how I miss those girls. Also, the jackets it look like they made it in art class or something, everyone painted their favorite bands in the back, front, sleves of the jacket. I also remember some kids were too "Oi! Punks" already and use to have a British flag in their jacket, or just wore the sleveless Union Jack shirt, hahahahhaa they were a bunch of queers, specially when they faked their british accent by saying "give me a fukeeen beeaaaar".
To me this was the golden days of punk, no one really cared about anarchy or fascism or any of that shit. I also remember going to local shows and see the crappy bands that use to play, and as phonney as it sounds, we still had a good time especially when they played covers. Most bands were pretty shitty so they covered The Casualties a lot. Songs like "Oi! Song", "Policy Brutality" and "Punk Rock Love", and the ones that were a little more "diversed" played "Oi! Punks" by the Oi! Scouts, hahahahhaa. Looking back it brings so much good memories, especially the girls, they were sooo hot and skanky as shit, most of them were just fashion whores though, I don't think most of them knew more than 10 bands, hahahahhaha.
Anyway, everytime any of 4 bands that I mention played in your town you knew it was going to be a big party, specially when other Street bands from Europe came and toured in North America. In a way it seems weird on how once again it just happen with out being planned out, we were all blind kids, we didn't know what was going on, and all the bands that were coming out they all sounded the same in a way with out even noticing or attempting to sound like the rest of the others.
By 2000 it just kept getting better, New York was the home of The Casualties and CBGB's kept having punk heroes everyweekend. California and the rest of the West Coast was more a European-style of scene, specially because most of the European bands toured on that side of the country. I really thought punk was here stay this time, but I guess I was wrong. As it arrived to '03 and '04, most of the bands that I looked up to, started to split apart, or had continously changes of members. The Virus was basicly over, they had 3 diferent singers and that was it. Mike Virus went to start that gayass band Cheap Sex, which in my opinion they were one of the first bands to kill Street Punk. They were and still so fashionable, they sound was so mainstream and inflenced a lot of the bands that are coming out today. Punk in my opinion dies in late '04 early '05. It seem that no one cared anymore, like I was saying, most of the bands we're splitting and record lables like Punk Core started signing bands that were horrible. It came to an end. Most kids jumped quickly into 'Hardcore', I guess they felt they needed to be part of something, and others quickly became crusties. The whole crusty punk to me its pathetic, they are not punks and never going to be. To me they are long hair hippy/metalheads living in the streets, and for the most part they are rich kids, hahahahhaa. The whole idea of sticking together, seeing thousands of punks and skins in one pit pogoing or skanking together it was a dream that one day I hope it comes back. But oh well, I really don't see a comeback this time. Punk became so comercial it's not the sound of working class kids anymore, but it became a music of the rich kids.
Well, I leave you with this then. It was just something that I remembered and everytime I look back it fills my eyes with tears, remember the good days. I guess the only thing I have left now is my record collection. R.I.P. Street Punk, Oi! Punks, Skins and everyone else that lived it through that time.