Punk's Not Dead

Punk's Not Dead

2007, Performing Arts  -   28 Comments
Ratings: 8.00/10 from 34 users.

Punk's Not Dead is more than just a tribute documentary. It takes you on an era-by-era journey that puts punk rock's non-conformist reputation under the knife.

Officially sanctioned by the bands in the film who donated personal photos, fliers and home videos, Punk's Not Dead follows the evolution of punk music from its anarchic roots, to its use as a corporate marketing tool and acceptance into popular culture, to its reinvention in today's underground scene.

It is self-financed, independent documentary true to the D.I.Y. spirit of punk culture and combines intelligent, insightful commentary with live performances, behind-the-scenes anecdotes and a killer soundtrack.

Punk's Not Dead takes you into the sweaty underground clubs, backyard parties, recording studios, and yes, shopping malls and stadium shows where punk rock music and culture continue to thrive.

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28 Comments / User Reviews

  1. winter

    Video started off slow
    turned into a great show
    thumbs up

  2. bluetortilla

    I was lucky enough to be 16 in 1980 in Mid-America. I got a spiky haircut, bought the soundtrack to 'The Decline of Western Civilization' and listened to the local college punk radio station. Just about every other day someone in my high school threatened to kick my ass. It was great.
    This documentary just goes to show just how dead punk is as a musical style. However the message lives on. I think now the best way to make music is to grab an instrument and play something yourself. Besides listening to the great composers, who the hell needs commercial music anyway?

  3. nathalie villalvazo

    Great documentary! Thought it was going to be lame but was very interested through out the whole film. They didn't mention some of my favorite bands though such as JFA,CRASS,The Germs, Agent Orange,Cockney Rejects,etc..

  4. Randy Young

    decent doc....only problem is they don't realize that the real reason all those "Epitaph" bands sold large is because they were watered down versions of the real thing....Offspring punk? hahahahahah puhleeezzz

  5. pusspussbangbang0555

    Had a band called The Xhileratorz in the early 80s, with Robb Heaton on drums (left and joined New Model Army) Ive also worked as a roadie for The Clash The Damned and Eddie and the Hot Rods, later in life I became a pro musicien, playing Columbian Vallenatos, Mariachi and Zydeco. Last Friday I jammed with a young band, at a pub here in rural France violin, banjo,hurdy_gurdy and accordian and me on guitar,we did Neat,Neat,Neat... I guess old habits die hard

  6. ISA

    love punk even though I am ancient, but was a punk for a short time it was great.

    1. Randy Young

      no such thing as a punk for a short time...if you still aint one now then you never really were.....you don't change this culture like you do your socks

  7. AntiTheist666

    Punks not Dead

    A great doc showing the history of punk and why it still thrives today.

    @Richard T

    “it's not even a type of music - it's the attitude you have behind it". Best definition of punk ever. This is the way I feel about it.”

    I totally agree, Johnny Rotten often stuck out an extravagant V sign when asked what Punk meant to him. I was in my teens when punk kicked off in the uK in the mid 70’s and for many of my age group it was all about energetic rebellion...and being able to pogo over someone’s shoulder into the middle of a mosh pit.


    “Do you have the time to listen to me whine about nothing and everything all at once?”

    And the next line?

    Keep letting the music charge your soul and forget those who p!ssed you off in the past. There are good and bad people in all walks of life. Put a tune on and dance away the heartache.

  8. Richard T

    "there is just something in certain peoples guts that tells them this is way they have to be. It's not a way of dressing, it's not even a type of music - it's the attitude you have behind it". Best definition of punk ever. This is the way I feel about it.

    I was heavily involved in the punk scene in the mid to late 1990's and loved every moment of it. I have never met such a interesting group of people in my life. Punk rockers can be the kindest, most compassionate, smartest people in the world. At the same time, within the same culture you can find some of the dumbest, least compassionate, uninformed people you will ever meet.

    What is odd about that is you will very often find people that exist on both ends of that spectrum existing with each other side by side without issue because they have something in common. Wouldn't it be great if the rest of the world could take a cue from the punk rock movement? Sadly, outsiders looking in would never pick up on such things due to the fact that you will not understand that connection. All outsiders see is the superficial outer layers of the movement. Now you can buy motorcycle helmets with a mohawk attached to it. There was a time not too long ago where most of the fashion symbols people associate with the punk movement were actually shocking. You had to make your own studded belts, patch covered leather jackets. Anyways, I could go on and on and waste my time typing a super long comment.

    In regard to this doc, it is one of the better ones I have seen. Great interviews with Dick Lucas (Subhumans/Citizen Fish), Ian McKay (Minor Threat/Fugazi/The Evens), Henry Rollins (Black Flag), and many many more. What did surprise me is no mention of some of the current bands still carrying the banner like Leftover Crack, Morning Glory, etc. Having a doc called punks not dead, but then not mentioning some of the modern day bands seems odd. Also would have been nice to have a bit more talking about a band like Fugazi - who became huge but did everything on their own terms and released their own records without the backing of some major label.

    1. sknb

      It's interesting that you say you had such a positive experience with the "punk community". As a young person I was constantly teased, berated and demeaned by people who considered themselves goths and punks. (I now date an ex- goth). I know that with any group those I experienced do not reflect the entire group, but I found it really sad that I tried to be friends with them, even let some who were down on their luck stay with me in college for a bit. For thanks, I was robbed and had my futon pissed on. They teased me in high school because I didn't know their music, and made fun of me when I told them I genuinely liked what I heard. I was either a loser or a poser and there seemed no way for them to empathize or be friends with people who looked differently then they did. In general I find that if you solely define your friends by the kind of music they listen to then you are acting with the supreme air of snobbery. It's really sad too because punk music charges my soul. No, I don't know every song by every underground band, and apparently that is a capital crime that means I should be hated and derided. I just don't get it. So much of it seemed to be a pursuit of "cool" and deep need for tribalism.

  9. dmxi

    good doc even for peeps that were/are not involved.
    @earthwinger...great post!
    @racoon...certain rap artists are getting more political,but few loose them selves in conspiracy theories due to jay z's alleged illuminati ties & tupacs 'prophecies'.

  10. Rocky Racoon

    Well Disco and Margret Thatcher-Don't forget how political punk is was whatever. Very very political we could use a good wave of political rock banks right about NOW!

  11. Rocky Racoon

    I think it was hatred of Disco more than anything else that propelled punk. And what greater motivation. The stadium bands maybe but those guys all got their roots from people like Buddy Holly as did many punks. Besides those stadium bands were smart enough to produce their own records with their own labels lol That's how they got the big bucks and their master tapes. Nothing stupid about that aint' EMI then is it?

  12. Kenny Redd

    Punk rock enthusiasts appear to be trying desperately to be different - the artists and the fans. Nevertheless, they look and sound the same. They become established when they adopt anti-establishment ideology in concert with others.

    1. Earthwinger

      With all due respect Kenny, I think that's a bit of a nonsense argument. Punk was a rebellion against the established order, and to do that, you need some sort of tribal identity. That's a big part of how any group defines itself.

      The real difference though lies in the music, and in that respect, they were totally different to all that had gone before them. Until punk came along, the music scene was very elitist, and for anyone to be taken seriously as a musician, they had to be technically very proficient. Punk changed all that and democratized music. It didn't matter if people only knew three chords. If they were prepared to get up and have a go, and had the right kind of attitude, they were applauded. That's where the real difference lies, not in the clothes.

      Of course, it can be argued that punk like all things tend to, became a victim of it's own success. But the fact is, the punk scene shook things up at a time when quite frankly, it was sorely needed.

    2. Deborah Macaoidh-Selim

      It might start out with "wanting to be different". In my case, I was so disgusted by mainstream society that I just did the opposite to piss everybody off. That's ALL it was about to me back then. Once people do that, they tend to start bumping into others that feel the same. Rebellion takes many forms. [DISCLAIMER: Forgive the terms I'm about to use. Some of us are sensitive to labeling but for the sake of identification, I'll use ones everybody recognizes.] Punk has "rudeboys" and "riot grrls", first of all. Many of them are political and sociological in their critique of society. There are many branches of the social critique: alternative lifestyle sexuals and asexuals; the angry/destructive ones that get violent, which breaks off to become either drug/alcohol seekers or sXers; the ones that fall so in love with the music that voices their inner turmoil or enlightenment with aptly applied instrumentals and vocals, and that's an underground right there with its groupies, stoners, and truth seekers (spiritual and physical); the hippies who always get along with sexuals and stoners; activists and anarchists; geek-chic.... this is a large community of people that can actually be very diverse and bump into each other according to common interest, whether they like each other or not. Example: I run into a lot of skinheads and white supremacists at Celtic festivals and shows. I'm not racist by any means--I'm actually a pretty thorough mixture of races, genetically-speaking. Some of them are actually my friends and they usually take the racist/pride stuff elsewhere anyway, so I obviously don't run into them in such settings. One skinhead gave me a free tattoo and several piercings. He also taught me how to be proud of who I am, and I'd never done that before. I thought something was fundamentally wrong with me. Other punk friends of mine frequent those gothic/vamp clubs where they drink absinthe and basically have sex on the dance floor. They're usually the most spiritual people I know, other than hippies & ravers. Most punks have a fearless streak and no tolerance for injustice, which allows them to confront things most people never would (and I'm not talking about in comments sections). Many of us are revolutionaries. The ME and Information revolutions are about as punk as it gets. The Syrians in particular have used punk styles to compose protest songs that are spreading like wildfire in the underground, thus uniting a very sectarian society with a common message of solidarity. The composers of these songs are always in the most danger because they stand up with a mic and sing them for all to hear. The ones that do that are leaders and knowingly risk their lives, because they feel they have nothing left to lose of value. By doing this, they are actually regaining the one thing they value most of all: their freedom.

      Everyone can be free. We've always been able to make our own choices. It's not being afraid of living our choices in the open that defines true freedom, and that's the essence of punk. The revolution leaders take that concept and would go with it all the way to the death. Hardcore.

      So, it starts out being more on the homogeneous side as kids, but evolves into great diversity in how we live our adult lives. Sorry for generalizing; it's for expedience only.

      I love all of you. We're an awesome group that are untied on that one important thing that surpasses our differences, and if I can more easily identify you in times of turmoil by your "anti-conformist" appearance, what's bad about that? If we're ever being attacked by psycho aliens, and I'm looking at a bunch of people, I'm walking right up to Tony Stark without even knowing who he is because I can tell that guy does not give a f---!

  13. Earthwinger

    I think that the tag "heavy metal" was attached to them later, and at the time they really just considered to be rock bands. It was a term mostly used to describe the Black Sabbath type sound IMO, but it later became a bit of a catch-all term that was used retroactively to describe slightly earlier bands like Led Zep and Purple as well.

  14. AllanA

    This vid was actually pretty well put together! Lots of really good interviews and documentation of alot of bands. I really thought I was going to see another lame punk vid of the same parameters mentioned before when documenting punk rock. This turned out to show alot of old stuff and a good amount of newer stuff.

    Thanks for the good work!!!!!!!!

  15. oQ

    Is punk and metal from the same branch?

    1. AllanA

      Matters what you mean by same branch. Yeah both punk and metal kinda came up the same time and was both followed by a young crowd, but I never meet anyone that was going to both a punk and also metal shows. Doesn't mean it didn't happen, just was not very common in the 70s and 80s.

      So did both camps grow up listening to the same music before them? I would say probably yes. The punks kinda started when there was these stadium bands, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, ELP, etc etc. They hated what they represent and it was a reaction to that. I'm sure there was some characteristics that metal also hated about previous bands.

      (These are just my opinion, good or bad ;-))

    2. oQ

      Thank you.
      I am from the era (54) of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, seen all of them in concert in Montreal and many more.
      Punk and metal came out after i got kids and at the time didn't pay much attention to the bands that were performing such music.
      What aspect of their music would you say they hated?

    3. Pysmythe

      They hated that such groups were multimillionaire rock stars with little in common with their audiences, felt that they looked down their noses at said audiences, and were really only in it for the money. Also, that it was very self-indulgent, with long, virtuoso guitar solos, twenty-minute drum solos, etc.

  16. dmxi

    changed my looks but never my punk roots & my world view,i.e. anarchistic perspective.........cheers crass/conflict,subhumans,etc............

  17. GonChalabas

    what is a god?

    1. CapnCanard

      Consciousness. It is the ground of all being.

  18. chard01

    why no SNFU chi pig is a punk god

    1. Imightberiding

      You must be a fellow Canadian. Saw them several times & caught what was supposedly their final performance in Calgary back in the late 80's.