How to Be a Punk

Edited by Horses4Ever, Nadon, KnowItSome, Jen and 174 others

Article EditDiscuss

If you're a fierce individualist who has a bone to pick with the profit-driven world, you might be a punk. Here's a quick primer on punk fashion, lifestyle and music.


1. 1
Have the state of mind. Punk means resisting tyranny in any form and making your own decisions and own ways without what others say. It's associated with rebellion and anti-establishment.



Read up on classic punk topics like resisting tyranny, DIY, rebellion, antiauthoritarianism and anarchy. The more you know, the more easily you'll be able to express yourself. Find interesting ways to express what you know and why you think it's important. There is a difference between complaining about authority figures and being against the structure that allows for authority in the first place. Talk to like-minded people and different-minded people. You need to talk to both to really get comfortable with your own perspective. Also, if you're only talking to like-minded people, how will you deliver your radical message to those that need it most?

2. 2
Find your scene. Get to know other people who have the same beliefs. This way you'll feel comfortable exploring your punk side without judgement or conflict from squares.

Everyone was new once. people will like you whether or not you know every punk band on earth and have all the typical clothes. Figure out where punks in your area meet. 3. Don't be afraid to admit that you're new to all of this. trade MP3s.o o o o o Go to some punk concerts. be it a specific corner or landmark.check your local telephone poles. you can meet other punks world wide. Find new ways to enjoy yourself without giving your money to big corporations. find shows or discover new bands. Here. and they will probably understand. ask another punk on the street when the next gig is. Some venues put up posters . Punks usually don't meet at establishments unless it's for the sake of music they try to use public space as much as possible. 3 Avoid consumerism. Punks are very resourceful. . If all else fails. If you are friendly. Join a punk online community.

Outward Appearance 1. the websites of venues you like or using local event forums. less for the establishment. 1 . For each item you craft.o o o o o Enjoy the Even things like furniture can be found for free with sites like craigslist. Visit the mall or a big-box store only when necessity demands it. Find free events through friends. Learn to cook. It'll be cheaper for you and a little more and freecycle. be it hiking a mountain or enjoying the park with your friends.more for you. If you must buy something. try to find it used first. Get crafty. Not only is it an enjoyable way to spend your time but it also saves money . you haven't supported a store that sells a similar manufactured version.

Make your own clothes if possible. o o o Punks are known for being unique . make sure its relatively alternative. 2. Let that antiestablishment attitude show in your outfits. Invest in a sewing machine. If you're at a loss on how to build a punk wardrobe. it's always better to remake something old than support consumerism and buy something new. Punk clothing is iconic because it captures a a unique sense of rebellion and individualism. here are some items to consider: . 2 Start out with some punk staples. and you'll fit in with any punk crowd. This way you can create truly unique looks without supporting the establishment. A lot of punk clothing has a DIY look to it. For a punk.don't let yourself worry that you don't look like punk. DIY (do it yourself). Wear what you want.Express your attitude through your clothing.

bullet belts. chains. Mohawks or dyed hair Leather (or pleather) jackets with band patches. or painted-on details such as an anarchy symbol. Ripped clothing held together with safety pins Band T-shirts Punk band patches Black shirts Spiky hair. studded belts. or pants with added embellishments such as zippers going up the back of the legs. camouflage. metal rings. Bondage pants. safety pins. stars or spikes. animal print and blood stains.o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o Skinny jeans or tight jeans Black leather jackets or denim vests Studded or spiked clothing and bracelets Mostly black clothes Tartan. . Bullet belts Fishnets Classic accessories can include arm warmers. and wristbands with pyramid studs. or other add-ons.

or just cutting the neckline. or make them look more worn-in. Maybe by cutting off the sleeves. since its pretty common that punks ditch private transport whenever possible. or expose your layers. or back differently – these are all things that the traditional person wouldn't dare try especially not for aesthetic effect. or two. o o o o Rip or cut out a section of clothing. or run sandpaper over the fabric to make it look worn out. 4 Find punk footwear. Strategically drip bleach onto jeans or T-shirts to make interesting patterns. This is similar to remaking. Distress your own denim. long lasting pair of shoes. and replace it with a row of safety pins holding the fabric together. . sewing political patches on.3. Consider that you may be walking more given your punk lifestyle. Use scissors or an x-acto knife to make cuts. 4. but you need to obtain them in an a-traditional way. 3 Customize some of the shirts or jackets you buy. but with an eye for little touches that express your unique viewpoints. Stencil band names or symbols onto your clothes yourself. You need a sturdy.

Note that because these are owned by corporations. Martens.for men and women. 5.Ks. . You can also dye it. Because commercialism and materialism are frowned upon by punks.o o o o Boots .U. some punks refuse to buy from them despite the aesthetic and you may run into people who disagree with your shoe choice. Thrift stores are a good place to buy cheap shoes and boots. or even put it in a mohawk. Common punk shoes include black boots. Spike it up. and then you don't have to think about whether your money is going to a multinational corporation. you can find them on the cheap and the aesthetic works with the rest of your clothes. Stay away from shoe brands. 5 Get the hairstyle. Converse and some skate shoes like Draven and T. Boots are often dark and are usually the best choice: they last a long time. Dr. a lot of them choose to buy boots from the army surplus store.

beads. long hair is acceptable if you want to be a punk. Having random things . Be warned. "bitch" handles. .o o o o Both males and females can sport a mohawk. Trihawk. Bihawk. You might want a fanned Mohawk. his style is sometimes frowned upon by other punks since the look can adapt to the mainstream world so well. though.such as feathers. Research the different kinds and think about what best expresses you. ribbons and ties . or even liberty your hair also makes you stand out if that's what you're going for. there's always the "Fauxhawk" (a wider strip of stand up hair that can be combed down to hide the shaved sides of your head). If you're worried about fitting into a conservative work situation. Although it is most common for punks to have hair no longer than chin length. and (though a primarily 'guy' hairstyle) some girls can pull off a Devilock nicely.

Straightedge punks sometimes have X's on each fist. 6. o o o You will see many punks with their ears gauged with rings. . be prepared to stick with it for awhile (or try a temporary dye first).o o o There has also been a variety of 80s haircuts and even dreadlocks that have made appearances in punk subculture. often to quite large sizes. Consider dying your hair. bright red. 6 Get some piercings and tattoos. This is a huge message to others: you don't need to do what others do! A shaved head has always been a classic punk look. you will see a wide variety of images. Old-school-style tattoos (Sailor Jerry. or have spiderwebs on their elbows (please be aware that in the UK at least. Septum and lip piercings are predominant in both sexes. platinum blonde. spiderwebs on the elbow signify that you have been in prison). You could go jet black. and can be used for both men and women. Body modification is another outlet that punks use to identify themselves. or some unnatural color like green or blue. shave your head. A lot of punks sport their favorite band logos. Whatever you choose. If you don't want to hassle with complicated hairstyles. With tattoos. for example) are also very popular. especially for chest pieces and sleeves.

not just a current band that you like! 7. Many people will tell you to avoid going from preppy to punk in one step. or that it's best if you ease into being punk or you may appear like a poser. introduce yourself to other punks. Get to know your local scene. 7 Be patient with your style. 1 Go to punk shows to see bands live whenever you can. 2 .o Just remember whatever tattoo you choose. Punk Music 1. Go to shows. but there is no way to go from not punk to punk overnight. The energy is amazing. 2. Play safe and have fun. It is a large part of being a punk. You do not have to get in the mosh pit but it is fun to watch. you will probably see the same people and bands at shows over time. it will be there forever! Make sure that you choose something that reflects your personality. and gradually your style will develop from there. You can't buy knowledge of punk music and you can't get an entire punk wardrobe without searching hard. This is kind of true.

Overall. 3 Try some genres of punk: o Punk rock . Sex Pistols. 3. and some bands that influenced it. new and old. This is a list of each era of Punk music. heavy bass and began in the movement of rebellion. A lot of Punks focus on one era of this music genre as the style of music has radically changed over time. There are many different types of Punk music. it is loud hard rock music with electric guitars playing power chords. DIY and anti-establishment. energetic drum beats. Alkaline Trio. Green Day (mostly old). Normal punk rock: Ramones. the Clash.Familiarize yourself with the music. and it is important to remember that not every punk listens to every band here. Rancid and Against Me!. .

Clit 45.Most of it is punk. treble guitar-based and had some blues-influence. thrashcore and grindcore. Cheap Sex. UK Subs. Beatdown bands: Madball. It is a hardcore punk style that had catchy choruses. Gallows. Conflict. Bands are Amebix and Electro Hippies. Street punk . Dropkick Murphys. I Am War. Often traditional metalcore bands (Hatebreed. skinny or tight jeans. Kill Your Idols. The drumming was also extremely aggressive.o o o o o o o o o o o o Modern punk . Skrewdriver (first album. it isn't. Bands of the genre who have played also metalcore include Terror.Fast. Unit 731. crust. Bury Your Dead) get called hardcore. Sham 69. Thrashcore . Often bands wore all black. Beatdown hardcore (or moshcore/beatdown/youth crew/tough guy hardcore) Hardcore punk made heavier with some more intense. Bad Brains. black combat boots and multi-colored mohawks. Ska punk . pub-friendly. The genre was played by bands like Discharge. Bands include DRI.Punk with some Irish instruments. before racism). Oi! . slogans. short guitar solos and usuly had bands who wore black leather jackets and clothes. Eg: Cockney Rejects.Often misconceived as a racist genre.Fast. the Virus. Bands include Iron Lung and Spazz. the Casualties. Agnostic Front. chants. Eg: Black Flag. Gallows. patches and dreadlocks. plaid pants. etc. Eg: Dropkick Murphys.Punk with some ska influences . Converge. GBH. It often has influences from hardcore.Against Me!. The Exploited. Metalcore is much heavier than tough guy hardcore and has elements of metal in it. Earth Crisis. shouted vocals and lowchugging breakdowns. Agnostic Front (later).Bands include the Dicks and Big Boys. etc. insane and blast beats-filled hardcore began in the early 1980s. Street Dogs. Suicidal Tendencies (although they are mostly thrash metal). Against All Authority and Operation Ivy . Flogging Molly. lots of studs and patches. D-beat . denim vests. Vision of Disorder and Stick to Your Guns. Powerviolence . wore black leather and denim. lyrics usually on antiestablishment/rebellion/politics/etc. the Briggs Hardcore punk (or hardcore): Faster and more harder punk with vocals usually lacking melody. 4-Skins. the Business.Heavy metal influenced hardcore with some metal traits but still pure hardcore. etc. Raw Power and Electro Hippies. Death Before Dishonor. etc. Bands include The Exploited.Hardcore punk that supported homosexuals and gay rights .Began in the UK82 era (1980s) of punk. Title Fight. Rise Against. Oi! is a punk genre in the scene of punks and skinheads (not racist ones) that were simple. AFI (early). etc. Youth of Today. Crust punk . It is usually extremely chaotic thrashcore with shouting and screaming and usually really short songs. insane and metal-influenced punk rock born in the 1980s in England. Queercore . Poison Idea. Celtic punk .Eg: Rancid. Minor Threat. Oi! is far from racism.

Jimmy Eat World. Horror punk . At first it was bands like Pg 99. and the hair put into devilocks (not to be confused with emo hair). pop melodies. Pop punk . Bands include Christian Death and Alien Sex Fiend. They aren't punk. Paramore. AFI (1998-2000). Underoath. The Hated and Embrace. the Get Up Kids.A loud pop rock style with power chords and punk influences. before Travis joined). Screeching Weasel.A subgenre of emo. Motion City Soundtrack. It had catchy choruses. Post-punk . It later got reinvented for a non-punk sound and for an alternative/indie/poppy sound. etc. Bands sometimes are seen wearing black. but more complex. Screamo . Blink-182.o o o o o Skate punk . it became Jawbreaker. introvertes and experimental.Fast punk rock with lots of guitar riffs. atmospheric and has haunting or gloomy lyrics and themes. Snowing. Yellowcard. only harsher and has some screams in it. A lot of people call it punk while some argue that they aren't. leather. The Cure (early) and Siouxsie & the Banshees. Guttermouth. Thursday. and was influenced by hardcore punk and post-hardcore. Deathrock . Eg: Misfits. all black. Bands also often have comedy lyrics. the Clash. Lit. Pennywise and was pioneered by Suicidal Tendencies. Thursday and Alexisonfire. Orchid (not the metal band) and Saetia. 4. At first it was bands like Rites of Spring. Sunny Day Real Estate. Murderdolls. My Chemical Romance. Balzac. happy melodies. usually teenage-tinged lyrics and was influenced by bands like Descendants. Now.A goth-punk style with a dark sound and horror-themed lyrics. Blink-182 (1992-1997. Green Day. it is bands like Senses Fail. The Offspring and Bad Religion.Like hardcore punk. Bands include Rise Against and Bad Religion. Bands include MxPx. Good Charlotte. Jimmy Eat World. It is enjoyed by punks and skaters. From First to Last. Bone Brigade. Later. Man Overboard. but stem from it. singing and a raw tone. I Hate Myself. Melodic hardcore . Dashboard Confessional and the Used. Ramones. Now it is bands like I Would Set Myself on Fire for You. but has melodic vocals and instrumentation. Bands include Sum 41. studs. New Found Glory. Bands include Joy Division.A type of music derived from punk/alternative with melody and emotional lyrics. big and shock-stylized makeup.Some type of goth-punk music which is extremely dark. American Football and Drive Like Jehu. 4 These genres are either derivatives of punk or fusion genres. Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. NoFX. Simple Plan. Emo . Millencolin and Fall Out Boy. Originally it was short for emotive hardcore. o o o More Information Click on the following: .Punk. sometimes solos.

5. 1 Ready for a punk hairstyle? 2. 2 Do punk style as a girl. 3.                  Bands with Punk: Alkaline Trio Ramones Sex Pistols The Clash Minor Threat Rancid Against All Authority! Anti-Nowhere League Bad Brains Gorilla Biscuits Crass The Exploited AFI Fugazi GBH Guttermouth The Offspring (mostly old) . 3 Take your punk look to Prom.1. 4. 6. 5 Start making your own punk music. 6 Punk out your wardrobe. 4 Try steampunk style.

                                           Blink-182 (Scott Raynor era) Siouxsie and the Banshees 45 Grave Killing Joke Joy Division The Casualties Clit 45 Anti-Flag Black Flag Gallows Title Fight Yellowcard (early) MxPx Bone Brigade The Runaways Dead Kennedys Street Dogs Bad Religion Rise Against NoFX Social Distortion Aiden Murderdolls The Creepshow Calabrese The Misfits Samhain Scream Gray Matter The Descendants Screeching Weasel Teenage Bottlerocket Dropkick Murphys Hot Water Music Discharge DRI Suicidal Tendencies Balzac The Vandals Skrewdriver (debut album) Against Me! The 4-Skins The Business .

. They represent the lowest common denominator of a greater whole and better role models are out there. If you have a Kelly Clarkson album next to the Misfits one be proud. don't be/act like them because they are a part of something that you want to be a part of.  Be an individual. keep it long. This is the whole point of being a punk. spelling. There are smart. accept that jerks are everywhere. Don't "dumb yourself down" for anyone. If you want long hair. cool punks everywhere and if the first ones you meet are jerks. etc. history.                              Cockney Rejects Conflict UK Subs Blitz Anti-Heroes Blood on Blood Agnostic Front Madball Comeback Kid Death Before Dishonor Terror Youth of Today The Queers The Dicks Jawbreaker Buzzcocks Millencolin Pennywise Cock Sparrer Sham 69 Cro-mags Beastie Boys (only a few EPs) Chaos UK Suicidal Tendencies Flogging Molly Operation Ivy The Damned Blanks 77 Less Than Jake Green Day (mostly early work) EditWarnings & Tips  Dumb punk is unattractive.geography. and you will bust some people's stereotypes of what punk is! Punk is an ever-growing. smart punk is brilliant.  Never be afraid of what people might think. Know your grammar. evolving community.

this is who you are. For all you know. If someone comes up to you in a suit and tie and tells you that they like your Misfits shirt. remember. Don't be a racist. didn't finish school. ska. make sure you are getting yourself the job. It doesn't matter what your race is and you should judge people by their attitude and on the inside. "White people" are not worth more than people with darker skin. . hard rock. and life you really want. always drunk. Other people may want to see you fail as a punk. they actually saw them play live in the '70s when the punk scene first started and they may have some great war stories. keep the old" rule pretty much stands for everyone. You're gonna get called out on how you dress if you "look punk". listen to whatever you want. so do the opposite and show them up. Don't go around calling other people posers. Remember. Don't let anyone take that from you. but this is a losing proposition. That is not good for either yourself or anybody else. if they deserve respect. some band suggestions that you would never have heard about. Punk isn't about the music played within the movement. The "make new friends. If someone makes fun of you. Branch out to other things like rockabilly.          The biggest part of punk is the beliefs. be cool and ask them if they are a fan. He finished school. in your life. though. fought his alcoholism. Respect your elders. There is someone that will always know more. and heavy metal (remember you may be rejected if you admit to listening to music not considered "punk enough" by some. so try to. This is an idea created by those who are not punk. psychobilly. All punks are against racists. or even better.) Don't think you know better than anyone. Even Johnny Rotten has been quoted saying modern punks are "clothes hangers". A good example of a successful punk that's done this is Tim Armstrong of Rancid. manner. This is what you love. you'll look like you're one of those people trying to do what it takes to not get called a poser and you'll look stuck-up. And don't say goodbye to your old friends and step into a new crowd. Be yourself Just because you are punk doesn't mean punk is your only music. When you doubt yourself. The common misconception about punks is that they don't benefit for themselves (ie: homeless. How you are treated should not depend on where you come from or your skin color. If you weren't punk before. people might freak out a little. Be nice. Fans of any number of the bands listed above would consider others listed as lame and vice versa. This will make you look like a "Nazi punk" and that isn't punk. ignore it. got himself a home. It is important to note that some punks will hold it against you if you like mainstream music. and works with countless producers and artists. etc. That's what matters most.). punk or not. Remember to live out loud. Remember that it's not about what you wear but who you are. Don't worry what others think. if you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything.

Consider their point of view. even if you don't agree with it. including hardened punks. some punks do often organize protests or riots when they got an issue with the law. etc were very mainstream in the 20th century but are still punk rock legends. and if you don't hate it.           Not all punks hate the government. Consider yourself an ambassador to a community. that is ironic since the Ramones. New Found Glory and Good Charlotte. gradually make your way into punk. present your argument in a way that accepts that others have a right to their point of view. If your parents or guardians disagree with your punk beliefs. Don't be afraid to like mainstream things if you do. Real punks like whatever they want and be themselves. Anyone who tries to be antimainstream is a poser trying to fit in and trying to be anti-mainstream is mainstream anyways since there are many people trying to do it. But even legends like Wattie Buchan and Jello Biafra said it was more of rebellion and DIY attitude. The difference between being a poser and a true punk is that a poser is always worried about how punk they are. the Clash. However. Play by your own rules and nobody else's. don't pretend to. will believe you. thank you and turn in yourhomework on time even though you don't "look like the . No one. listen to them. Remember. but consider that it is much more shocking/rebellious/subversive to say please. There are people who think that all of corporate America is evil. Some say it is all about going against the mainstream because it is mainstream. nothing more. However. They also listened to pop punk primarily like Sum 41. The "mall punks" were those kids who had black shirts. and those who buy their punk gear from the mall at Hot Topic. It doesn't necessarily have all to do with how you dress or what you listen. A lot of times people will not know what punk really means. if you just come out of you house one day looking like the punks on the street corner. Just do what you want. it will be a costume.. often accompanied by expressive music and clothing. spiked hair and piercings and they called themselves punk for it. If you're going to abuse the punk movement and use it only for it's fashion. Your mom may have a strong reaction to your newly dyed hair because the color you were born with is the color she gave you and it's hard for her to watch you grow up. Some people think punk is all about protesting and making change. etc. Always listen to whoever and if you disagree. Sex Pistols. then forget it. Listening to punk rock doesn't make you a punk necessarily. That's what punk is: Think for yourself. Always be respectful. may be threatened by punk aesthetics because they don't understand them. Punk rock means a lot of things to a lot of people. it's a way of mind. and explain to them what you believe. hate it for a reason. that "mall punk" might just be the next revolutionary activist and that "old fogie" with their obscure 30-year-old patches might have a thing to teach you. If you hate it. Parents/teachers/bosses/etc.

Sham 69 and The Exploited. If you play punk rock. looks. some think that punk must be obscure. not for selling out or just popularity. make music for the sake of it. a genre of punk referring to bands like The Business. 4-Skins. Do NOT mistake them as neo-nazis! Not all skinheads are racist! These skins are SHARP (SkinHeads Against Racial Prejudice) or working class skinheads. In fact. Looking punk isn't important. Remember punk rock began as a movement. fans. They often are into Oi!. Punk bands are punk because of their sound. . Popularity. There are skinheads in punk.    type" than it is to live up to the stereotype that mainstream media would like everyone to think that punk rock is all about. despite the popularity of Sex Pistols. but as a genre of music. However. Ramones and The Clash. etc don't affect how punk a band is. selling out is not the same as getting fame or changing sound.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful