I spent my entire childhood practicing for a future occupation as Brian Padilla, the Punk Rock God. I watched grainy, shitty Sex Pistols performances, made my mom cop four electric guitars and played five chords repeatedly, as loud as physically possible, every single night. I was, and still very much am, a power chord aficionado. I knew at a young age that becoming a punk rocker was the pinnacle of success. Blame it the MTV generation or the stale stereotype of millennials dying to be famous, but let’s be real, no one is trying to grow up and be a fucking teacher when you can be Johnny Rotten. Why deal with bullshit meetings all day when you can do coke for free backstage?
Being a punk rock star meant that I had to be in a punk rock band, but that shit was far from easy where I'm from. The dudes I knew weren't trying to play any type of engaging music and I was the type of kid who would rather perform Bad Brains' songs in the mirror than hit the garage with some fuccbois who thought Simple Plan was edgy. I do remember one afternoon covering Nevermind in my boy's room with three of the cutest girls in our grade watching on. Playing music, even if it wasn't my own, was so cathartic and mind-blowing I felt like I had mainlined a kilo despite not knowing what the fuck any of that meant at the time. I eventually ended up dating one of those groupies in training for, like, four years and I'm certain it was wholly because of my better than average Cobain impression. Not that I speak with her now or anything, but how dope is that? I had a long, somewhat meaningful, real life relationship because of punk rock.
At that time, like most kids my age, I thought punk was limited to music and attitude. I never considered that I could live punk or write punk or dress punk. Okay, fine, I knew I could dress punk. But the older I got, the more I appreciated that punk had no, and never will have, boundaries. It didn't just sit in a room behind a drum kit and a couple of cute girls. Punk was everywhere. It was in my junior year creative writing class when my teacher said we weren't doing any of the standard assignments because they weren't going to teach us shit about the art of writing. It was in my house whenever my parents blasted James Brown because, although he's the godfather of funk, JB's message is the quintessence of punk rock. It was even on the field when I got to knock someone's head off for talking trash. I was surrounded by punk culture constantly. And you probably were too.
As life continues, hope fades and people change. One would presume that the punk rock dream dies. But for me, it didn’t. It only grew. Knowing that adulthood is coming may cause that fierce desire to avoid responsibility and rebel, but that's a lazy reaction. I generally enjoy responsibility and anyone who pays their own bills will admit that freedom is much better than living off your parents. Why bother escaping reality when it provides you with the idiosyncratic personal freedom that is synonymous with punk? Truly comprehending that you can be whatever you want, whenever you want and running with it is a gift. I can play a game of pick-up this afternoon and hit Trash Bar with you at night. I can wear a crisp pair of Air Force Ones today and some dusty ass Chuck's tomorrow. Liberation from social conventions is so inherently punk I just smashed a fucking guitar thinking about it.
Today, as a 25-year-old living in a 2014, this dream is larger than ever. In fact, I don't even want to call it a dream because that implies some sense of waking up. Every day of my life, and yours, has the potential to be so inconceivably punk it's fucking absurd. Just yesterday I saw a dude in Bedstuy skateboarding with a Yankees fitted on that still had the New Era sticker. Punk rock shit is happening everywhere if you're paying any sort of attention. I may not be getting gratis drugs backstage, but I'm certainly living my own version of life as Brian Padilla, the Punk Rock God. I'd like to think my younger self would be impressed.
Brian Padilla is a writer living in Brooklyn. You can follow him on Twitter here.