Punk Rock Retirement HomePosted: September 14, 2012
When Rebellion Becomes Weird, Creepy, And Kind Of Sad
By Josh Tuper
I feel like everybody must have that awkward talk at some point with their elderly loved ones. When grandma starts driving off the road, or grandpa mistakes you for your younger sister even though you’re a man. Maybe they need a little assistance, for lack of a better word, for the rest of the time they have with us. It’s a sad and often times difficult conversation that could potentially stir up debate between the rest of the family. However, it is necessary and I believe we need to have this talk for a few men we hold near and dear to our hearts. Grandpa Green Day.
If you look past the wild hair, eye liner, and devil-may-care ‘tudes that don the men in the photograph above, you may see something more. Wrinkles. Confusion. Poor posture. An overall sense of exhaustion. Surely these can’t be the same youthful men that released some of the most recognizable anthems of 90’s subculture history. And while Green Day hasn’t really been “punk” SINCE the 90’s, they’re still holding on to it oh so tightly.
Until about last week I honestly had no idea Green Day was still even remotely relevant. If you were to ask me to assume what they were up to, I would probably say the same thing most people in their 40’s are doing. Family, relaxing, boat trips. I actually don’t know what people in their 40’s do. My parents are in their 40’s but they just complain about not having money, and I doubt the members of Green Day have that problem. I digress. But last week I saw a video that proved me very wrong. Their single “Oh Love” has an accompanying video of the fully punked-out Green Day guys rocking out as they’re surrounding by hot chicks with tattoos. Yikes.
Granted, I’m sure the members of the band don’t actually live a wild rockstar lifestyle anymore, and that the video is probably a “mockery” of said life. Or something. I don’t know. Regardless, I thought it was weird and I said to myself these guys are far too old for this! I felt like the old man who was telling the kids to turn down the music. But then a second thought popped into my cynical little brain- does it matter how old these guys are? Shouldn’t I think- good for them for making music for so long? Aren’t there bands who’s members are far older than these guys? (The Rolling Stones are like 90 and still rockin’.)
Perhaps the reason I have a problem with Green Day isn’t actually because they’re old and still making music. I think they could make music until they literally couldn’t pick up guitars anymore, and I would either a) be impressed or b) not really care. My beef is that they insist on dressing like 20 year old’s. I don’t even think 20 year old’s dress like this anymore. Any other self-respecting band who is making music past their prime usually dresses the part. Not to mention that they didn’t even dress like this when they were in their 20’s! Green Day started wearing makeup and dressing like punk rock caricatures of themselves with the release of American Idiot in 2004. WHEN THEY WERE IN THEIR THIRTIES!
There’s always an assumption of maturity when a band or artist starts to get old. Sure, some stay exactly the same, but it seems as if Green Day isn’t the same as when they first started making music at all. I grew up listening to punk rock, including early Green Day albums. But I, and millions of others, realize that the punk rock that was is dead. As is the Green Day of old. It’s almost offensive that these guys are milking the punk thing for so long, far past the point of selling out. I don’t believe that they are making music for music’s sake anymore, but to exploit a dying fashion for the newest generation of skateboarders and Hot Topic shoppers. (Note: I’m not even sure if Hot Topic’s still exist and I just felt really old.)
Punk rock was about rebellion and youth. It was about a sub culture of degenerates and outcasts who didn’t give a fuck about people in their 40’s. But now it’s about the mall. It’s about commercials. It’s about fashion. It’s about money. And hey, no one loves commercialism and money more than this guy! But come on, Green Day. It might be time to tone it down. Maybe even just in the eyeliner department. Baby steps.