I wrote this in 2008. I had just left a job in the financial sector right before the crisis. My close friend and writing partner had just died, and when that happened, I put away our Nesmith demos and talked all kinds of shit. I was feeling old, like I had better do something already, before I turned 30, God forbid, before I got too fat to look good on social media.
This year I turned 40. I feel much better now, and not so rushed. I credit that to maturity, to raising children, to getting some perspective. Fast as they’ve been, I know where the last twelve years have gone.
I’ve picked up the guitar again, and learned some ukulele. Anyway, here’s Wonderwall…
I remember this bumper on MTV from 1997, where Gibby Haynes was saying that music needed a new punk moment and he hoped to God it would be Beck. I saw Beck in Camden that June, and let me tell you, for that whole summer and into the fall, Gibby Haynes was right. But we never really got the new punk moment, there was no decade-end rejection of corporate rock and pop, no hard reset button. The industry, in general, lagged, college kids were file sharing instead of record shopping, our kid siblings and young cousins had all the buying power.
I’ve been thinking lately that if the financial crisis is as game-changing as the Depression, and if rock ‘n’ roll was birthed by the rise of the world’s first youth culture, by kids cutting the tension of poverty, a few wars, and then war-fueled recovery, maybe what we’re in line for now won’t be the next punk, either. Maybe someone is, right now, inventing the next real rock and roll. Isn’t that how hip-hop started? Punk music is great, but it’s not a revelation; no one ever did it better than Buddy Holly or Bobby Fuller. There’s a reason the Clash covering “I Fought the Law” is sublime but not ironic…
So anyway, new decade, now, new crisis. New complete disaster. Punk music won’t save us, indy gods will not intervene, but Julien Baker, who is smarter at 24 than I’ve been my whole life, says in a DIY lecture about the early church “Punk teaches the same inversion of power as the Gospel. You learn that the coolest thing about having a microphone is turning it away from your own mouth.”
I hope to God the new punk hip hop rock and roll is queer Christian socialism, the kind of art that rips down banks, transfigures lobbyists, chops down wrathful vineyards, presses us together, makes us something new.
Chris Cocca‘s work has been published at venues including Hobart, Creative Nonfiction, Pindeldyboz, elimae, Geeze, The Huffington Post, and O:JAL. He is a recipient of the Creager Prize for Creative Writing at Ursinus, and earned his MFA in creative writing at The New School