You're Lucky to Be Alive

With the arrival of Punk Planet's final issue in my mailbox yesterday, I wanted to share some more thoughts about the closing of the magazine. Sure, it was great to see my interview with John Congleton on page 18, along with my featured review of Bob Pollard's Normal Happiness and Kyle's article on SXSW, but there's something deeper I wanted to discuss.

I always had a sense of pride going into a Borders or Barnes & Noble in some of the richest areas in town and seeing copies of the magazine on the newsstand. Why? Because the distribution went beyond where the converted shopped. That idea may break rule #1 in certain people's Rules of Punk, but it's not in my rule book.

The way I saw it, Punk Planet was out there sitting between copies of Alternative Press, Rolling Stone, and Spin. Similar to a record store carrying a Sunny Day Real Estate record filed near System of a Down records, it was visible and available to those that had never heard of it. The magazine did not bend over backwards or compromised anything to get to that spot on the shelf. That's a testament to sticking to one's proverbial guns.

I've mentioned before that the magazine was a very helpful source of research for Post. With interviews covering Deep Elm Records to Jawbreaker, I couldn't find this coverage anywhere else. I connected the dots that a number of articles and interviews would help unlock a lot of stuff I hadn't really known about the '90s post-hardcore/emo scene. So I'm eternally grateful; referencing a number of its articles and interviews in the book is just the start.

What I'm proud of with issue #80 is that there isn't a sense of, "It's over. We should have never done this in the first place. I'm going to cry in the corner." Though the magazine has ceased operation, that doesn't mean we should stop thinking the ways we have been. It's like what Ian MacKaye says in American Hardcore about the Bad Brains influence on him when he was in the Teen Idles: "Take it seriously. Don't settle for a bunch of shit. Push it." Though the Teen Idles broke up in '80, MacKaye still sticks by this attitude (or positive mental attitude if you like).

This is not some rallying cry to stamp out the cruelties of the world or live on the fringes of town off the grid. Rather, this is the spirit that started countless zines, labels, bands, blogs, and newspapers: if you really want to say something and share it with people, say it. Don't outright dismiss sharing your thoughts. Why? Because I doubt there will ever be a lack of people that don't want to fall into a box of mediocrity or unbalanced compromise.


K said…
I thought the issue was a fitting send-off as well. Plus, I love just about everything John Congleton says or does.
Paul M. Davis said…
As sad as it is that the magazine has ended, after picking up the new issue of No Depression and seeing Mandy Moore listed on the cover, the first thing that came to mind was something along the lines of "my god, I'm so glad PP stuck to its guns and never ran a Fall Out Boy cover feature or started running Yaris ads."