Punk culture has developed various subcultures that diverge significantly, yet most punks share similar core values.
These include being an outsider and staying outsider; attending shows to bring information back into the scene; supporting independent record labels and zine makers; and using fashion to express themselves.
The pioneers of punk music were New York-based leather-jacketed wise-guys known as The Dictators. Drawing upon British glam band songs with tongue-in-cheek humor and American junk culture influences like pro wrestling personality Handsome Dick Manitoba as lead vocalist; together these bands and garage rock pioneers like Velvet Underground, Who and Stooges helped establish punk as its own distinct subculture.
Punk music gave children an escape from parental authority and the corporate culture that produced popular music solely for its profit. They could create their own fanzines and newspapers as well as start bands of their own.
But punk was initially an anticommercial movement; however, as it moved from “anarchy and mayhem” into leftist politics it eventually succumbed to its own hype. Harron attributes this transformation to bands’ misdirected hostility towards rock stars from prior generations as well as their exploitative media strategy.
Punk clothing was often customized or worn in ways that expressed individualism, in keeping with its DIY ethic. Tight “drainpipe” jeans and tight jackets with painted or metal spikes or chains were frequently customized in this manner; other garments included tight “drainpipe” jeans, tight ripped jackets featuring paint or metal spikes or chains and T-shirts featuring band logos, political slogans or anarchic messages; alternative outfits could include Kutten vests, bondage trousers (often plaid) and T-shirts featuring band logos, political slogans or anarchic messages; Punks also preferred various footwear such as high-cut Chuck Taylor shoes military boots skate or brothel creepers and Dr Martens work boots; hair would typically spiked into mohawks or liberty spikes while dyed bright or unnatural colors to express individuality in expression of individuality.
Punk rock was defined by its rejection of social norms, particularly regarding sexuality and gender. Early punks donned clothing featuring sexualized images or symbols like crossed-out swastikas for shock value – with iconic examples like Vivienne Westwood’s DESTROY shirt featuring an upside down Crucified Jesus and crossed out Swastika for shock value. Punks also took part in pogo dancing, an early form of moshing where participants push or slam into each other at music shows – or something known as pogo dancing which involves participants pushing or slamming into each other to stay warm!
The punk movement is an eclectic combination of music, lifestyle and politics that gained widespread appeal among young people during the 1970s and 80s. Characterized by an aesthetic marked by disaffection with authority figures and convention, punk represents an ideology with antiauthoritarian elements.
Punk artists often used appropriation to subvert or satirize popular culture, politics, and iconography. A Sex Pistols T-shirt featured an upside-down crucified Jesus and crossed-out swastika symbol; similarly Vivienne Westwood and Jamie Reid created punk designs from appropriated images.
Punk music has traditionally been perceived as a working-class phenomenon, emphasizing values such as honesty and humility. Yet punk has also been seen as having self-destructive undertones – such as Sid Vicious who became addicted to heroin before assaulting members of his audience before dying from an overdose in 1978.
Some punks embraced various symbols to express their displeasure: John Lydon donned both swastika earrings and safety pin piercings in reference to his childhood experiences of racism; in response to monarchy, Reid used a swastika to cover up a portrait of Queen Victoria while singing an alternative version of God Save the Queen with it covering only her eyes.
Other punks sought to outrage propriety through highly theatrical use of clothing, hairstyles and cosmetics. Early punk fashion made use of everyday objects for aesthetic effect: ripped clothes were held together with tape, marked up or sprayed with marker; black bin liners became dresses or shirts; while leather, rubber, and PVC clothing became associated with transgressive sexual practices.
Punk was propelled forward by enthusiastic impresarios who ran venues such as New York’s 100 Club and CBGB and London boutique owned by Malcolm McLaren known as Sex. Punk spread globally thanks to bands that combined anti-establishment politics with highly energetic hard rock.