Volume 96, Issue 11
Tuesday September 17, 2002

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Mainstream punk?
Oi! It's never gonna happen

Where's Chip
Dale Wyatt
A&E Editor

I'd be a liar if I said part of my original attraction to punk-rock had nothing to do with the "fuck the mainstream" mentality – a certain elitist feeling telling me everyone else just doesn't get it (whatever "it" is).

So, it's particularly difficult for me to fathom why so many punk bands are swimming into the mainstream.

There are certain punk bands who have always carried some global appeal such as Rancid, Bad Religion and NOFX. However, no matter how much attention bands like these got, you never heard them in constant rotation on major radio stations.

This limited radio success ensured that certain bands would always sell out concerts, yet never get too big or drastically change their sound in the hope of seeking further recognition. They were content with the way things were.

Now, with the recent explosion of garage punk-rock heroes The Hives, there are changes afoot – terrible changes.

Here's what I'm afraid of. I fear that the in-your-face, tattooed punk-rock attitude is going to catch on like stains to a wife beater.

In this month's Rolling Stone there was an article entitled The Next Generation in which they named a few bands that are being hailed as "the next big thing" and, to my horror, punk bands such as Division of Laura Lee and, more surprisingly, The Distillers were among the five listed.

I can understand Division being listed, since they've been swept up with the recent Swedish invasion, but The Distillers being on that list boggles my mind.

If you've never heard of them, it's because the band is comprised of three heavily tattooed individuals who are the complete opposite of TV friendly.

The Distillers' lead vocalist Brody Armstrong, the wife of Tim Armstrong from Rancid, would most likely be labeled insane by many. She spits, swears and yells her lyrics in true punk-rock fashion. There is absolutely no way she is going to change, either – some say she was born with a mohawk and came out giving the doctor the middle finger.

Hold on – I guess I'm not really worried after all. Sure, Rick the Temp insulted the entire punk-rock world when he sported that pathetic mohawk, but when idiots like him do things like that, it only makes them look stupid.

The majority of people will never be into punk-rock as a way of life and, in complete honesty, I'm glad. After all, like Rolling Stone magazine, they would only be trying to be cool and they just wouldn't get it.

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2002 THE GAZETTE