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Turning ten—lookout records celebrates a decade of punk

Woodlief, M. (1997, June). "Turning ten—lookout records celebrates a decade of punk." WARP, 6(2).

OVERVIEW

Punk is the wildly divers

Woodlief, M. (1997, June). "Turning ten—lookout records celebrates a decade of punk." WARP, 6(2).

OVERVIEW

Punk is the wildly diverse medium of musical expression which arose in the 1980s out of frustration with the world as we know it. The Lookout record label chronicles the progression of Berkeley-based pop-punk bands like Isocracy, Green Day, Operation Ivy, Crimpshine, Cringer, Yeastie Girlz, The Uptones, the Lookouts, and the Groovie Ghoulies.

East Bay (northern California) punk culture evolved in the late 1980s under the pressure of not having a place to call home. 924 Gilman Street became that home as a non-profit, volunteer-staffed performance space was established.

 

Gilman’s impact was immediate. The club’s all-ages, nonviolent, self-policed policy provided a kind of safe haven for fans not into the particularly vicious style prevalent at the time.

The whole notion of geek-core, or silly-punk, was very much a Gilman thing, says (co-founder) Livermore. It diffused that whole testosterone thing, and made a safe environment for people of all sized and both genders to dance and have fun and be themselves.

Band like Isocracy and Stikky could play metal riffs, but they made a complete mockery of them. The screamed in nerve-rating falsetto, had silly costumes and props, and Isocracy’s big thing was to throw garbage into the audience.

 

Gilman’s bonded the punk community together. Their shared philosophy of life, genre of music, and popular hangout glued an otherwise alienated group of young people together:

 

Rancid’s ‘Journey to the End of the East Bay’ declares, ‘All these bands and all these people. Al these friends, we were equals.’ Armstrong (the song’s lyricist) later told the East Bay Express, ‘I was so hungry for something like that.I’d never felt a part of anything in my life.’

 

These days Lookout Records, the label that gave rise to many of the now popular pop-punk bands, is the target of the purist of punk. Financial success is antithetical to punk culture. Yet the message of punk so reverberates in the collective soul of Generation Xers that they rush to buy the label’s CDs, thus at once making them famously rich and destroying punk’s edge, the very thing to which they were attracted. Major hostility hounds Lookout now that they have opened a retail store—a symbol of anti-punk! Livermore, Lookout’s reluctant mogul says, " It (moving on) evoked incredible hostility. It’s like challenging somebody’s religion."

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION

  1. What are the major tenets of punk culture?
  2. Must money corrupt, or is there a way to preserve punk values and be financially successful at the same time?
  3. In what ways might Jesus identify with punk? How might He challenge punk values?

IMPLICATIONS

Young people are frustrated and angry with the world as they know it. They need creative answers to the tough questions of life. We cannot blithely posit answers; we must listen carefully to what young people are saying. They need help, yet they must also learn to wrestle with their own pain, degradation, and suffering.

Ken Ball cCYS

e medium of musical expression which arose in the 1980s out of frustration with the world as we know it. The Lookout record label chronicles the progression of Berkeley-based pop-punk bands like Isocracy, Green Day, Operation Ivy, Crimpshine, Cringer, Yeastie Girlz, The Uptones, the Lookouts, and the Groovie Ghoulies.

East Bay (northern California) punk culture evolved in the late 1980s under the pressure of not having a place to call home. 924 Gilman Street became that home as a non-profit, volunteer-staffed performance space was established.

 

Gilman’s impact was immediate. The club’s all-ages, nonviolent, self-policed policy provided a kind of safe haven for fans not into the particularly vicious style prevalent at the time.

The whole notion of geek-core, or silly-punk, was very much a Gilman thing, says (co-founder) Livermore. It diffused that whole testosterone thing, and made a safe environment for people of all sized and both genders to dance and have fun and be themselves.

Band like Isocracy and Stikky could play metal riffs, but they made a complete mockery of them. The screamed in nerve-rating falsetto, had silly costumes and props, and Isocracy’s big thing was to throw garbage into the audience.

 

Gilman’s bonded the punk community together. Their shared philosophy of life, genre of music, and popular hangout glued an otherwise alienated group of young people together:

 

Rancid’s ‘Journey to the End of the East Bay’ declares, ‘All these bands and all these people. Al these friends, we were equals.’ Armstrong (the song’s lyricist) later told the East Bay Express, ‘I was so hungry for something like that.I’d never felt a part of anything in my life.’

 

These days Lookout Records, the label that gave rise to many of the now popular pop-punk bands, is the target of the purist of punk. Financial success is antithetical to punk culture. Yet the message of punk so reverberates in the collective soul of Generation Xers that they rush to buy the label’s CDs, thus at once making them famously rich and destroying punk’s edge, the very thing to which they were attracted. Major hostility hounds Lookout now that they have opened a retail store—a symbol of anti-punk! Livermore, Lookout’s reluctant mogul says, " It (moving on) evoked incredible hostility. It’s like challenging somebody’s religion."

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION

  1. What are the major tenets of punk culture?
  2. Must money corrupt, or is there a way to preserve punk values and be financially successful at the same time?
  3. In what ways might Jesus identify with punk? How might He challenge punk values?

IMPLICATIONS

Young people are frustrated and angry with the world as they know it. They need creative answers to the tough questions of life. We cannot blithely posit answers; we must listen carefully to what young people are saying. They need help, yet they must also learn to wrestle with their own pain, degradation, and suffering.

Ken Ball cCYS