Hey, PUNK. Hey, I’m talking to you, PUNK! No, I am probably not, because to me calling someone a “punk” is a real, and rare, compliment. I don’t just give that out to anyone, oh no. If I think you are a punk, you are close to my little rebel bird-flippin’ heart.

Now, do not misunderstand me. I am not talking about the old-style juvie delinquent punk ala Rebel Without A Cause, nor the safety-pin-in-the-nose-and-bondage-pants punk. I hate fake punk, but I understand why some people buy into it. It’s easy to cop a ‘tude, and put on the right clothes, and express your dullard angst. Being a real punk is something that comes from within. It is a fierce independence, a uniqueness, a sense of the absurd, and an untamable sort of proud and bold craziness from which many good things can come. Real punks are usually fairly odd folks, it is true, and may not make the best pals. But I like you, punks. I do. Let me think of some punks vs. not punks.

Mick Jagger and Joe Strummer = Not Punks: Two middle-class dudes who just really liked music, charismatic and great in front of a crowd, but weren’t really crazy whatsoever. Strummer did more to obscure his thoroughly-decent and privileged upbringing, which takes him down a notch further from punkdom. Jagger dumbed down his accent pretty fast, too. Also, peeing in public is not really punky, just kind of gross.

Benjamin Franklin and Leonardo daVinci = Punks. Here’s a couple of wicked smaat, prolly-ADHD nutballs whose creativity and brilliance could not be contained. They knew the world and played with it, they persevered despite criticism, and were never afraid to be themselves. Real punk energy.

Henry Rollins and Charles Schulz = Punks. Henry is more of a punk away from music than in it, I think. He shows more of his sharp, witty, relentless mind with more words to work with. He’s unafraid to tell you what he thinks, in a hardass way that is still somehow quite charming. And dear Mr. Schulz, a lifelong depressive, found a way to turn his self-loathing into a zillion-dollar industry of anxious, depressed, narcissistic, and delusional children’s cartoon characters. Snoopy is a punk, believe it.

Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen = Not Punks. Just dumbasses.

Ray and Dave Davies = Punks. Noel and Liam Gallagher = Not Punks.

David Lynch = Punk. Quentin Tarantino = Not Punk.

Paul Newman = Punk. Liberace = Punk. Walter Cronkite = Punk.

Punk is at its core, being able to show all the deep-down gunk and wonder and mess that is inside, bring it out, slap it on the ground, and say HERE IT IS, CHECK IT OUT with no apologies, yet bring some kind of energy that you may or may not like, but might get you thinking. Punk is being able to write a tremendously run-on sentence like the one previous to this one, and not giving a shit. Punk has got a grin on its little devil face, just like I do now.