I remember once years ago explaining to a co-worker about how i felt that free and open source software (FOSS) in general - but linux (oh sorry, gnu linux) as a specific example - as being the punk equivalent but in tech. The person i explained it to was a techy at a large enterprise, and really understood it once i explained in those terms. My co-worker was your typical buttoned-up very nice guy, he had only been exposed to the conventional corporate ms windows platforms, etc...So, while he likely wouldn't go out and listen to punk nor go play with installing slackware or debian, etc...he really respected linux (and the rest of FOSS) BECAUSE of the context that i put them in as a comparison to punk. I haven't worked with him for years now...i wonder what he thinks now that linux and FOSS are everywhere - well everywhere but under blankets of corporations like google (android), and others, etc.? I wonder if he still thinks of linux as punk - as i had described to him long ago?
I lot of the tech communities around where I live seem to only be interested in "startupping", seed funding and networking rather than experimenting and pushing tech itself. Hackathons, where I used to find a few punks years ago, are now filled with people mildly interested in tech and big corporate sponsors.
Maybe it's the fact that technology keeps getting more complex and thus a few punk hackers are not enough to really disrupt it.
So much money has pushed into IT and 'innovation' that you are seeing Wall Street types in the field. We are now in a "PUNK IS DEAD LONG LIVE HAIR METAL" phase.
This is a component of it, but I believe the conclusion you draw is a faulty one. I can relate, though, because I once had the same lamentation.
Hackers, in the traditional sense, have just moved on to more specialized and niche communities because the technology space became more complex and specialized itself.
Generalized "hacker" communities are not going to draw in people with specialized skills and interests, unless they have an interest in content creation or pedagogy. You'll find them in other communities that interest them.
This means you had to bypass the whole QuickDraw API and overwrite the screen yourself, that was a fun time!
If not in a museum, what does it mean for records to be accessible? If you keep it physical, only a select relative few will ever access it.
Start digitizing it, then, if needed, auction off the interesting records to fund the rest of the effort.
I'm not sure how you came to that conclusion.
...obviously, you can digitize album covers and liner notes. I thought that was clear. You're right, there's culture around that, but it's not important to physically touch it to experience it.
Saying "you just had to be there", "you have to listen to this pressing of the record", "you must hold this in your hand", etc. is playing gatekeeper, which is antithetical to punk and DIY.
There is a pretty strong reverence for the roots and evolution of punk among, at least, the musicians who make the music. I recommend reading Our Band Could Be Your Life for a really wonderful biographical snapshot of some of America's most important punk bands (it spans late 70s to early 90s, through the stories of a handful of the most influential/interesting bands), and the ties that bind them to earlier and later punks.
There may be a subset of fans that don't care about the historical context, but it's not what defines "punk". Collecting (45s, stickers, patches, zines, posters, etc.) has always a big part of punk culture.
And, the fact that punk bands can reform after a couple of decades and tour and even make new records and have some success even among younger audiences seems to indicate there's people valuing that history. e.g. The Pixies, Mission of Burma, Black Flag, The Stooges, have all had success in recent years, after being dormant for decades. Of the shows I've seen in this category, there's always a pretty good mix of old-timers like me, who are there partly out of nostalgia, and younger folks who weren't even alive when those bands were first doing their thing.
 - https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-38120496
You can throw Avril Lavigne in there are a curveball but they'll probably know you're taking the piss if you do.
(Damn it, I've become my father.)
I find it almost impossible to classify bands as a single specific genre. They're almost always in a spectrum of multiple genres. You can try to say "X band is more punk than Y band", or "X band is more Y genre than Z genre", but to say "Agnostic Front is punk" would be problematic; Is it hardcore punk? Is it just plain hardcore? Crossover thrash? Who cares? It is more punk than Adelle, though.
This isn't even close to the reality. You might enjoy reading a book entitled, "Please Kill Me: The Unauthorized Oral History of Punk Rock", by Legs McNeill (he coined the term Punk).
The Ramones were kids who had an intense love of post-war Americana. Inspired by late '60s/ early '70s glam-rock & proto-punk scenes, they wanted to bring back to the garage which had been lost to 10 minute soloing prog-rock bands and soulless disco music. I feel like "We Want The Airwaves" is the "Why?" section of /ramones/README.md.
The Clash? Mick Jones and Topper Hedon were very well-versed musicians. Joe Strummer was a passable rhythm guitarist, but was an amazing lyricist.
Sex Pistols? They were the boy band of the MacLaren empire.
Everyone needs an onramp to discovery. There are WAY worse things to be into than Green Day. But please, don't let me stop you from telling Hacker News how you're too punk for Green Day...
I never was a big fan of Dookie but their next album, Insomniac, is still an immensely enjoyable album to this day. Whether it's technically not 'punk' and is instead 'pop-punk' or just 'rock' makes no difference to me. The fact that their music isn't overtly anti-establishment doesn't affect the quality of the music.
In fact, and this may get me into trouble here, I like the Dead Kennedy's 'Plastic Surgery Disasters' just as much as I like Green Day's 'Insomniac'. Is one punk and one not? Who cares? I quite dislike the purity tests in some genres of music (like punk and metal). That's something I've always appreciated about pop music - it doesn't have to adhere to some nebulous framework to qualify for the genre, it simply has to be popular (e.g. Beatles were pop, Madonna was pop, and Arianna Grande is pop - very different styles of music)
The difference between "Lookout! Green Day" and "Warner Green Day" is one of DIY vs Payola. These days, it's much easier and potentially more profitable to go the DIY route, but back then, you needed a sugar daddy to "make it big" fast. Taking the easy route meant Green Day were shunned by their original fan base (somewhat justifiably so,) but they had more energy, raw talent, and Buzzcocks hooks than anything else on top 40 radio with the exception of Nirvana (which is why Warner was trolling for talent in the first place.)
It's hard to call any "punk" bands sellouts after Nevermind. Were Hüsker Dü sellouts? They signed to Warner in '85 (almost a decade before Green Day.)
The music business is harsh. If you're in a band and into it for the long haul, own your masters and go the DIY route. Your fans will find you and are more likely to pay directly when they do. If you're in a band and want to make it big fast, consider this often cited article from Steve "Mr. Gold Bracelet" Albini on cashflow:
There's a reason you're seeing a lot of live music. Streaming doesn't pay the bills.
I listened to Offspring's album "Smash" a bunch in middle school, which made for an interesting revelation when I devoured Bad Religion's entire catalogue in high school.
Apparently The Monkees were also written up in Punk, are we calling them punk now?
I don't think Green Day counts as punk rock, because actual punk rock was about a lot more than the music... so Survival Research Labs, f'rinstance, was definitely punk in my book... and so were Nazi skinheads, although they sucked. But as you say, opinions vary.
If you've read the Monkees writeup in "Punk", it's a snide hit piece the thrust of which is "these guys represent everything we're not". Punks hated hippies, and fake Madison-Avenue canned hippies were considered about the lowest of the low.
Personally I'd rate the Monkees a bit better than that, once they started dropping acid... anybody who gave me Head surely can't be all bad!
Nazi skinheads are alcoholic sociopaths who dream of an authoritarian, fascist world dictatorship. I'm not sure how that fits the punk ethos?
What throws them into the "not punk" category? Making money? Growing older?
The real germ of punk rock was pretty close to "Fuck Thatcher's England and Reagan's America, and all they stand for".
Here's some actual punk rockers participating in the music industry...
I mean Jello's done ok, right? And I don't think anyone would argue Ian MacKaye or Brett Gurewitz weren't punk and they've got old and made a fair amount of cash...
Outside of a music genre, punk existed as a counter culture for a number of people who couldn't fit in or thrive in the monocultralism of the late 70s-80s. Punk isn't about a level of money or success. It's about contributing to counter culture rather than the monoculture! When that monoculture ceased to exist, the counter culture that was punk slowly splintered and evolved as well (but I think that's another topic altogether).
Anyway, to relate this back to Green Day, shortly after leaving their indie record label, they changed their sound (so they were no longer punk as a genre - compare them and how they evolved to another Berkeley band like Fifteen) and played for the mainstream crowd (so they were no longer punk as a counter culture).
Now, to relate this to MRR, and possibly explain why people care about the "punk" label, Tim Yo's attitude around once punk bands going mainstream certainly wasn't the best, and he did a lot to put forward this "punker than thou" type of image/attitude that (I think) hurt the punk counter culture in the long run. Most people really didn't (or wouldn't) care, but Tim did and was popular as the tastemaker of punk.
That school of thought was definitely well-represented in the punk scene, although I don't subscribe to it. There was a strong streak of self-destructiveness in punk.
The money itself isn't really the point, it's more like what you do to get it. Punk was about DIY, staying raw & real. Graduating from independent labels & playing for the scene into major labels, college radio, and playing for the masses is pretty much the opposite of that. That's when Green Day moved on from their roots.
I'm not hating on them; I'd very likely have done the same thing in their shoes. It's just not punk.
OTOH, DKs, Minor Threat, Bad Religion... their members continued to make their way singing that Sinatra song (although happily not ODing on smack). They're a good example of how to do it.
I'm pretty much with you. I've got very little time for the punker than thou crowd, but I think it's a pretty interesting area to discuss. I mean, if you're doing something unpopular and it becomes popular and you keep doing it - are you not 'punk' anymore? Equally, if you're doing exactly what the hell you want without worrying about it being a commercial success or not, isn't that about as raw and real as it gets?
Punk had specific ideas about what qualified as raw/real, and it was a lot closer to "shock the bourgeousie" than to "raising capital to create web apps". We can't claim everything we like under the banner of punk, strictly speaking. If you're not within spitting distance of someone disrespecting an authority figure, how is it punk?
But sure, the core ideas underlying punk are far more universal than punk rock itself. I've known people who claim Jesus as a punk. There's an argument to be made!
Just to draw some semantic boundaries as I see it:
Meat Puppets I - straight punk
Meat Puppets II - getting tired of the limitations of hardcore. Half punk, half not.
Up On the Sun - not punk. Closer in spirit to R.W. Emerson than "Jesus Entering from the Rear".
Same guys, same attitude, kept it real, grew out of punk.
Modern Lovers - punk before punk was even a thing (like, say, the Undertones).
Jonathan Richman - not punk. Same guy, pretty much the same attitude, grew out of punk.
In fact Jonathan's got a very charming bit about growing out of punk:
Fun to reminisce. Anyway, back to the 21st century and the bourgeouis concerns that occupy my sellout life (having failed to live fast and die young).
Can't get more punk than that.