The most punk band in the world right now

Theoretically, I like punk music. But here’s the problem with that: I missed punk’s heydey. I was born in the mid 80s and grew up in small-town Wisconsin. By the time I heard any punk besides Green Day or Blink 182*, it was 2003, and I was in college.

The people who invented the genre and came up with all the cool staples were OLD! All the bands have either burned out and scattered or come off as old guys trying to cash in on art they did when they were young and hip. I see The Refused or Rage Against the Machine getting back together, and I don’t think, “wow! This highly-influential group is going to shake up the music world again!” I think, “wow, those sellouts didn’t have the integrity to stay broken up.” And I'm pretty sure a Sex Pistols reunion tour would be the most depressing thing ever.

And younger bands can’t recapture that magic. Sure there are younger bands doing the same type of music, but to me that sounds the same as young bands trying to sound like Journey or Styx. It’s not new or original; it’s old and tired. Plus, the genre is mainstream enough that a band that sounds like The Ramones because they think it’ll make them money sounds just like the band that sounds like The Ramones because it’s what they enjoy playing.

There’s music that build on what punk did and tries to take it in new, exciting directions, incorporating new instruments and themes into the old genre. But that always opens up the debate as to whether or not that music is really punk?** If you want old-school punk raw anger, you can’t have sequencers and 7/4 time.

So where can I go to find music that captures that raw crappiness and state-smashiness of old punk without just retreading what other people have already done?

Then it hit me, Guns ‘n’ Roses is the most punk band around! They’re doing the exact same “let’s retread our glory days” crap that all the other bands from that era are doing, but they’re doing it badly! Everything Axl Rose does these days is a giant “f*** you!” to everyone else! He won’t work with the musicians that made his band worth listening to. He’s a jerk to the other musicians he tours with. He spends 10 years longer than could possibly be considered reasonable recording a mediocre album and then has the gall to try to sell it to his loyal fans.

He is sticking it to everyone! And that, my friends, is punk. Smash the system!

* I’m not going to debate whether or not those count as punk. That’s not the point here.
** Yes. If I’m going to keep calling RatF “nerd punk,” I really can’t take any other stance.

Update 4.11.12: Axl Rose just turned down an induction to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, saying essentially "Sure, you can induct the rest of GnR Classic if you want, but I hate those guys so much that I don't want you to include me with them. I would rather exclude myself from the company of rock and roll greats than to be in the same room as Slash."  He's so punk!

Sammitches and smashing the system. I like it!

OK, so my take is that punk was a "modern" movement, in the sense of modern art. It was a direct rejection of global values. These days, we're all "post modern" which is a rejection of the idea that global values exist in the first place, which includes rejecting that rejection. The hipsters are on board with this idea, so they will form a "punk" band, but they won't take it seriously. We can discuss anti-establishment music, but since neither the anti nor the establishment actually matter or even exist, really, we should probably do it over artisanal sandwiches because, hey, these sandwiches are delicious.

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