Punk: Attitude is a Don Letts film that was, so far as I know, never shown in theatres and went from the Independent Film Channel straight to DVD.
It’s a real decent document of the origins of punk rock from its late sixties origins to, say, the early eighties. The DVD has an extra disc with a spotlight on the Los Angeles punk movement, and there are other features that talk about fanzines, the post-punk and indie movement, and so on.
The extra features aren’t really revelatory, at least not if you’re old enough (or, like me, almost old enough) to have been actually in the scene in the early eighties. But the actual documentary and the extra features together serve an important purpose: educate and enlighten the kids today who don’t have a clue as to whom the “punk” bands of today really owe their success.
I mean, just for example, let’s do a quick Google search on “punk rock.” The number one hit is Punk Music Explorer. They seem to have been fortunate enough to nab the “punkrock.org” domain name, and they’re using it as pretty much a link farm for “punk” band websites. I guess they sell a lot of advertising? Anyway, most of the bands are, in my opinion, valid.
But they also list…
Bow Wow Wow???? (Is it because Annabella Lwin had a mohawk?)
The Foo Fighters??
My Chemical Romance??
Reel Big Fish?
Soundgarden? (An album on SST does not a punk band make.)
Sublime??? (Having a lead singer who kills himself through self-abuse doesn’t make you the Germs.)
Ultravox? (Well, if New Order is…)
U2?????? (There aren’t enough question marks in the entire universe.)
The White Stripes???
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs???
Okay, I got a little carried away, there. But do you see what’s going to happen if some kid wants to get into punk rock / DIY and finds this site? Arrgh.
I know this post might raise the hackles of the some of the very small handful of people who might read it, and just to stifle some of that: I know, believe me, that punk is not a genre, or a particular sound. It’s an attitude, an ethic, an approach. You betcha. I got that.
Still, let’s not confuse extreme sports endorsements, giant festivals sponsored by megacorporations, Hot Topic, and “indie” radio with punk / DIY — and let’s do everything we can to make sure kids know what’s what, deal?
Point ’em here. Or here. Or even here.
Set ’em straight.
Okay. So. I guess I went off a little, there. So be it. Get Punk: Attitude for your little brother, sister, niece, nephew, kid next door with the skateboard and nose ring. Watch it with them, and spread the virus.