Punk Before Punk Was Punk

Punk Before Punk Was Punk

In the early 1970’s three African American brothers living in Detroit, Michigan decided to do something that was pretty rare in the black community at the time. They went to a local music store, bought some instruments, and started a rock band. The guitar player, and leader of the band David Hackney came up with a name, which at the time was considered highly controversial. After some thought, David, Bobby, and Dennis all agreed on the name, and from then on the band became known as “Death.” Between the early seventies and early 80’s the brothers made loud, high energy rock music and made multiple recordings. The term didn’t exist at the time, but what this band made can only be described as Punk Rock. Needless to say, they were ahead of their time.

They managed to come in contact with a record label, recorded an album, and seemed to be almost destined for success until they hit a roadblock. Nobody was willing to promote, or release material for a band called Death. David had ascribed a lot of spiritual meaning to the name, and it meant a lot to him, so he was unwilling to change it. After numerous rejections, and relocating to New England, they couldn’t seem to find any luck. After a while, Death pretty much dissolved. Only a small amount of their material was released, and Death seemed pretty much dead, until thirty years later.

Before we skip ahead three decades, there’s a few interesting, almost eerie details. Upon departing from the record label, the brothers made a deal to have their masters returned to them. Over time, David Hackney developed some problems. He was considered an incredibly intelligent, creative, spiritual, and all around great person, but his troubles with alcoholism and chain smoking inevitably lead to some health issues. At one point, it became clear he seemed to know he didn’t have much time left, basically telling his brothers he wasn’t going to be around much longer. He gave his brother Dennis the masters telling him to hold on to them. The story goes that he told Dennis to keep them because the world will come looking for them someday. David passed away not long after.

Although his request may have seemed crazy at the time, thirty years later the few Death albums in existence managed to circulate, finding a way into the hands of some people who felt a need to get their music out. So after thirty years, and having almost forgotten about the band, they were catching on. Everybody who heard the music was blown away, three brothers from Detroit, playing Punk rock before it existed, blew a lot of people’s minds.

After all that time, the brothers were getting contacted by all sorts of people, and in 2009, after more than three decades, Death’s album “…For The Whole World To See” was released on a wide scale. The music spread all over, and fast. Recruiting a new member, Death began playing shows for the first time since the 70’s, and even started recording new material.

There are a lot of inspiring, and downright miraculous stories in music, but the story of Death tops them all. David Hackney told his brothers the world would come looking for that music, and decades later, he was right.

The New Era Of Hip Hop

The New Era Of Hip Hop

Throughout the 2000’s Hip Hop heads have been rather displeased with the state of the genre, and rightfully so. Countless songs about girls, money, and general materialism. Ignorance put on display as if it were the greatest thing in the world, and worst of all, image was seen as far more important than actual talent. Needless to say, for the better part of a decade, rap enthusiasts have been yearning to go back to a better time, where Hip Hop was an art form, a culture, and reserved for talented lyricists. Well over the past few years, the climate of the Hip Hop world has been changing.

In recent years, most real hip hop fans were limited to the underground world to hear the music they loved, but a new generation of artists are starting to gain a lot of mainstream attention. From rappers such as Kendrick Lamar, ASAP Rocky, Danny Brown, and numerous others, the mainstream is starting to flourish with talented lyricists. Much of this attention is due in part to how the Internet has become a staple for musicians looking to spread their creations. When it comes down to it, fans are growing tired of the same old materialistic mumbo jumbo the radio has been pumping into their ears for so long, and watching this evolution take place is a great thing for fans of rap music.

Think about it, in 2008 no real hip hop fan would be caught dead listening to the stuff on the radio, but now when you listen to it you might be pleasantly surprised. There’s something truly wonderful about hearing a talented and passionate artist who sees this genre for what it is. A culture, as well as an art, not just a way to make money, and it’s catching on. So the next time you hear a rapper flawlessly stringing words together, remember that this may only be the start of a serious shift in music. It may still be too early to say for sure, but we might be entering a second golden age of hip hop music, and the young rappers behind it have a lot of drive, and they seem determined to create a new era of hip hop music.

Why Burning Man Is No Average Festival

Why Burning Man Is No Average Festival

What do you get when you put over 50,000 people in the middle of the Nevada desert with numerous art projects, entertainment, and an overwhelming sense of community? You get an annual festival known as Burning Man, and there’s nothing like it. The event that would end up becoming Burning Man (BM) took place on a beach in San Francisco, California when two men, Larry Harvey and Jerry James, gathered at a bonfire with a few friends and burnt a nine foot tall wooden man. Over the years, this ritual grew into a huge festival, and eventually moved to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada where it became a cultural landmark of sorts.

These days festivals are common, and widely known occurrences, but Burning Man is an entirely different beast, different from anything else that happens anywhere. While most festivals simply focus on music, BM is a giant gathering of radical self expression, community, unconditional acceptance, art, and in a sense is a reaction to the outside world, which most attendees hold in contempt. Burning Man is a week long event, and while it was once free, due to now requiring permits and other rather expensive things the price has grown quite a bit, but that doesn’t stop burners (people who attend Burning Man) from showing up every year.

The feeling people get when they go to Burning Man for the first time is described as shocking. People sharing everything with each other left and right, instantly accepting each other, as well as a lot of nudity. It is certainly a lot different in the desert than the world that exists outside of it. There are a lot of events, as well as workshops that take place during burning man. From playing music to a ton of art, all sorts of educational presentations and classes of sorts, and even an orgy booth (yes, it is exactly what it sounds like). There are countless things to see, and participate in for everybody who attends. It’s a nonstop party of epic proportions, and nobody can deny that, but there’s much more. BM is a gathering of people who truly want to change and better the world, and during that week everybody tends to try to be the change they would like to see happen. However, it’s no vacation, either. There are dust storms, some pretty crazy people, and dehydration is a huge issue for those unprepared. All that aside, the event is truly beautiful.

During the last day they set the giant statue of a man aflame, which represents “the man” a metaphor for everything burners see wrong with the world. BM is an expression of community, radicalism, acceptance, and love. Unlike other events in the world, it may not be something everyone enjoys. For those who do enjoy the event, it is truly a life experience that is hard, if not impossible to experience anywhere else.

What Are Traveling Kids

What Are Traveling Kids?

There are many subcultures, fringe groups, and other sorts of underground communities. One that struck my interest over the years is a loosely knit culture of young adults known as “Traveling Kids.” Also known as crusties, oogles, gutter punks, and a variety of other terms. Essentially, traveling kids are a fringe subculture of people who trade in a more socially accepted lifestyle of having a routine job, and permanent residence to well, travel.

Whether by hitchhiking, hopping freight trains, or any other means of free or very cheap travel, they’re modern day nomads. Homeless adventurers who go all over the country, or sometimes even to other countries, with whatever they can fit in a backpack. Usually they migrate according to warm weather patterns. Like the Hippies in the late 60’s, traveling kids survive by whatever means necessary. Short term work in whatever city they may be in at the time, busking (playing instruments in urban areas for money), or simply panhandling, it’s a lifestyle where adventure trumps financial stability. The yearning to see new places, and meet new people is put ahead of worrying about a steady place to live.

Some people may judge this lifestyle as laziness, although the behavior seems to be far from the case. While there can be a lot of fun to be had traveling about, living a free lifestyle, there are certainly many dangers, and things to worry about besides bill collectors, and being late for work. Whether it’s finding your next meal, worrying about running into someone with bad intentions, or not being able to find a place to sleep, there is no adventure without peril. There are mixed beliefs on living this kind of life.

Certainly, it’s an interesting way to live, and see the country without paying for plane tickets. Everyone has reasons for doing whatever they choose with their lives. However, in the 21st century, to know traveling kids exist and are true adventurers is still a breath of fresh air.

The Anti-Social Generation

The Anti-Social Generation

Remember when you were younger and wanted to hang out with your friends? You’d wake up in the morning, walk over to a friend’s house, and knock on the door to see if he or she were home. These days, if you show up at someone’s house unannounced it’s almost considered rude. What about having a conversation? You called a person on the phone (remember landlines?) to hear his or her voice! On the phone, you would decide where to meet, show up at a set time, sit down, and converse face-to-face.

Today, seems like the kind of communication described is almost a thing of the past. If you talk to somebody, you text them or message them on FaceBook. Why bother going to see someone in person if you can video chat through your smartphone, or with a webcam on your computer? Although there are plenty, excellent uses for these kinds of technology-to ask somebody a question, instantly tell something in words seen on a smartphone, or communicate from long distance-issues arise when technology becomes the go-to method for socializing.

When people become used to communicating through technologies, and real life human interaction becomes less common, what does that mean for the generation growing up with smartphones, and computers as the standard way to carry on a social life? Social anxiety and generally awkward communication habits are more prevalent in today’s youth than years past. When leaving the house and seeing your friends in person becomes infrequent, and kids grow up with a social life that mainly consists of texting, many problems may develop.

Technology can accomplish great things. However, we can’t dependent on it; there are some things that the digital world will not replace, and human interaction should not be limited to text messages. If we want to have a healthy society, and real communities, sometimes we have to close our laptops, shut off our phones, and get out and live in the real world.

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