When you think about the punk rock music scene, what normally comes to mind first? Is it the supposed anarchy that was described in the 70s and 80s? Is it the spiky and crazy colored hair? What if I told you that neither of those descriptions is right. There has been a bit of misguidance towards what punk rock is or what the scene looks like, and over time that definition of punk rock has changed whether it be the bands that make the music or the scene itself. Today, I want to take a look at what bands helped shape the punk music scene that it is today.
When you think about punk bands, what the first one that comes to mind? For most people when you ask that question, the first band that people normally think of is Green Day. The Californian triplet released their debut album in 1990, under the title 39/smooth on Lookout! Records. It wasn’t until 1994 that they had their first major label release with Dookie. This album helped launch Green Day into the mainstream audience with the singles of “Longview”, “Basket Case” and “When I Come Around”. These three singles would pave the way for the band to have success on radio and into mainstream media. During this time, it was still a little surprising to hear a band like Green Day on the radio considering this was the beginning of the boy band era and the tail end of the grunge period. The band would go on to release 9 more albums that would find varying degrees of success. During this time, another band quickly rose to prominence, Blink 182.
Releasing their debut album in 1992, Blink 182 would quickly launch into stardom and success. However, it wasn’t until the 1995 release of “Dude Ranch” and the single “Dammit” that the band really took off. According to ex-frontman Tom Delonge, the band was supposed to be nothing more than enjoying playing music. This would be evident in the way they would act on stage, songs on the albums and even the way they carried themselves in interviews. This was unfortunate in many ways because, beneath all the goofiness that went on with the stage antics, the songs had very telling meanings behind them. Songs like “Adam’s Song” that dealt with suicide, “Stay Together For The Kids” that dealt with divorce, and even the songs that may be fun in nature had some deep meaning behind it if you looked hard enough for it. The release of “Enema of the State” is still regarded as one of the best punk albums of all times.
A new generation of punk rock would soon start up with acts such as New Found Glory and Good Charlotte. These two bands changed how punk rock can sound. New Found Glory started out in the shadows of the punk behemoths, Green Day and Blink 182, only to have caught up with them in terms of respectability and influence. This new wave of punk music would turn more radio friendly with both bands getting a considerable amount of airplay on top 40 radio bringing in the term “pop-punk”. The albums “Catalyst” and “Sticks and Stones” would prove to be two of the best and most successful for New Found Glory and would make them a household name in the music circle. Good Charlotte set the world ablaze with their debut album and would gain even more traction with the release of “The Young and The Hopeless”. These albums would be the driving force behind both bands success and would eventually have them touring/working with some of the biggest bands in the rock scene such as Linkin Park and Avenged Sevenfold.
A new genre popped up in the early 2000s with post-hardcore getting into a subgenre of punk music. Bands such as Hawthorne Heights, Story of the Year, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and Emery were considered the heavyweights of the genre with all the radio and tv success they were given. TRL and Fuse, which usually featured a live performance helped push these bands onto the general public. Hawthorne Heights is considered to be one of the first post-hardcore bands to ever play on TRL, this would help them with the release of “The Silence in Black and White” and “If Only You Were Lonely”. Getting punk music and post-hardcore music out in the general public was also made possible by Myspace with the ability to have profile songs that would play on on a user’s page. This genre would have a tough time with the staying power of bands such as Blink 182 and Green Day due to their radio-friendly approach to songs and already establish themselves as household names.
Radio has changed so much in the past few years to where more and more alternative music acts get as much top 40 play as pop and hip-hop gets played on the radio. Alternative music has gotten so popular in the past 10 years that there are some now dedicated to playing solely alternative music and even stations that play just strictly punk rock. This wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for bands like Blink 182 and Green Day. This scene has a lot to be thankful for with these two bands and with Green Day being inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, it’s only a matter of time before Blink gets inducted with just how influential these bands have been.