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Tell the Kids Punk Rocks (message de sollicitation trois)

I have been a lover of music my entire life, my father was constantly playing records around the house and not just “oldies� but current music, he has always kept up to date on music. When I was twelve years old I got in to punk rock or that is to say “new school� punk rock opposed to the older punk rock from the seventies that my father knew. Although I listen to all types of music punk rock has always been the most heartfelt for me and it has had a dramatic influence on my thoughts towards politics, society, religion and so forth. If I had the time I could probably create a mixed CD of punk rock songs for EACH of the millennium goals……but I guess I will just have to settle for the bare basics.

My favorite quote came to me via a punk rock record, a California band called Good Riddance had a style of putting various sound clips before songs on their albums, not every song, but a noticeable amount. Well one of the clips which has just stuck with me is a quote by Martin Luther King Jr., I know that it is attributed to him but I have never been able to identify exactly what speech this quote came from. The quote is “ When we look at modern man we have to face the fact, that modern man suffers from a grave poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to his scientific and technological abundance. We’ve learned to fly the air like birds, we’ve learned to swim the seas like fish, yet we haven’t learned to walk the earth as brother and sister….� This quote is very powerful I think in making a person understand the extreme contrast between the complex accomplishments of humankind versus the simpler things, such as the millennium goals, that humankind is yet to achieve.

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A band that has been one of my favorite bands for the past decade is Bad Religion, a southern Californian band who’s lyrics are rife with political and social commentary. It is interesting to note that Bad Religion lyricist/vocalist Greg Graffin received his Ph.D. in Zoology with an emphasis in vertebrate evolution from Cornell University and he currently is a professor at U.C.L.A. Of the many songs by Bad Religion (13 albums over 28 yrs) one that stands out to me in regards to the millennium development goals is song called “Suffer�, a song which reminds the listener that “the masses of humanity have always had to suffer�, that what our conception of life here in the U.S. or shall I say the “developed� world is far removed from the majority of the worlds population.

NOFX is another band which is a favorite of mine, but I fear that their social/political context is sometimes obscured by their almost immature sense of humor. Contrary to their fast distorted sound, they ended their 1995 album “Punk in Drublic� with a somber acoustic song called “Scavenger Type�. The song depicts the struggles of a seemingly homeless person who dies by freezing. A line from the song goes “a crow, a scavenger type, California redemption, provides him with his rent room and board inside of a fifth of comfort�, I have always taken this line to mean that the protagonist is collecting recyclables as a means of income and the “fifth of comfort� is a reference to a bottle of liquer. Another vivid line at the end of the song is “the coins don’t drop consistent as does the mercury� which leads to the death of the character.

One last band I would like to talk about is a band called Rancid. They are a bunch of street punks with tattoos and Mohawks, who all had heroin problems and were squatters or homeless for a period of time. But their close contact with this “underbelly� of society gave them a unique perspective and many of their songs advocate the needs of those who seem completely down and out, while exploring the reasons for this status. The song of theirs that I would like to talk about is called “Salvation� in which the verse of the song talks about living at the Salvation Army and everyday driving into a rich neighborhood to collect the old used things that the wealthy didn’t want, which they were donating to the Salvation Army, the verse ends with the line “used refrigerator for the suffering�. The simple and catchy chorus of the song asks a question about the donations, “Come on baby won’t you show me what you got there, I want your Salvation.�

I could go on and on about the punk rock songs(and other genres) which I feel have really influenced my thinking. But here I have discussed the bands which to me are the three most important punk rock bands of my generation.