I Was a Punk Before You Were a Punk, Chris Walter
Chris Walter

I Was a Punk Before You Were a Punk

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The year is 1981 and the dangerous phenomenon known as hardcore punk rock has arrived in Winnipeg with a bang. The new bands, with names like Personality Crisis, The Unwanted, and the Stretch Marks, are an aggressive and rowdy bunch who vow to smash things up at all cost. What could possibly be better than punk rock? Why faster punk rock, of course.

Take a beer-soaked and nihilistic journey—back to the time when danger drove a Trans-Am, and a day without a fight or a foot chase was rare indeed. Take a trip back to the day when punk rock was not available at the local mall; when a mohawk and a black leather jacket was a standing invitation to rumble.

“The Yankees had recently elected Ronald Reagan as their president and now we really had something to fear. Ironically, if it hadn’t been for ol’ Ronnie, hardcore might never have exploded the way it did. I had never concerned myself much with politics, especially American politics, but there was something about the doddering old cowboy actor that really scared the fuck out of me. And I wasn’t alone. Punks the world over were afraid that Bonzo would mistake real life for the films and set the nuclear birds in flight at the first wrong sign from his Ouija board. Hardcore bred quickly in this dangerous political climate, and conditions were ideal for social unrest. To us, the problem was too large to ignore and compelled us to speak up, even if we did have a regrettable habit of repeating shop-worn clichés such as “Reagan Sucks” or “Fuck Authority.” Misguided rhetoric aside, the youth of North America had a cause and a very real adversary. From every state and province the bands sprung up, brandishing cheap guitars and an urge to raise some hell.”
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