Hot Topic Punks in a Fake Punk World
Punk is dead. Actually, it died a long time ago once the Sex Pistolsimploded and The Clash's Joe Strummer had the temerity to kick Mick Jones out of the band and then release the career-killing record "Cut the Crap."
No, scratch that. Punk died when the first Hot Topic store opened in 1988.
What started as a way to capitalize on the early MTV craze has become pre-fabricated shorthand for something that is supposed to resemble punk in some sanitized, VMA world. Now you can now have that punk rock feeling without ever leaving the safety of the shopping mall. It's the Hot Topic-ing of America.
Punk was born on the street but is now bred in major label board rooms with clothing manufacturer tie-ins. Here's a reminder of pre-Hot Topic punk when the safety pins came from a dirty rehearsal room instead of an online catalogue.
There's something wrong about a publicly traded company (over $741M in revenue in 2006) selling "Blood Is the New Pink" wristbands. Or maybe it's right. Maybe it's just as punk as Johnny Rotten schilling butter on a British commercial. Maybe Hot Topic just figured out what other '70s punks were too dumb to realize: it's better to be the man than fight him.
And now…the Hot Topic Top 5
They began as the shining stars of 924 Gilman Street (a Berkeley, CA punk club dedicated to independent punk music) and wound up as poster boys for major label sellouts. Certainly, any band who's sold over 20 million albums and won three Grammys is having the last laugh. Still, they're not doing the punk legacy any favors.
The Canadian "pop punk" singer claims the following as her punk bona fide: working to establish equal rights for skateboarders and marrying fellow Hot Topic punker Deryck Whibley (Sum 41). Two words that should ever go together are "pop" and "punk." Her and Whibley split in September, which can only help their cred. Divorce is very punk.
Tattoos do not the punk make.
If it weren't for the Madden twins' dating Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton, I'd be convinced. Any true punk wouldn't be within 10 miles of those two chicks.
What is it with French Canadians and pop punk? Another Hot Topic band who committed yet another cardinal punk sin. Band members Pierre Bouvier and Chuck Comeau started brainstorming about forming a band while attending a Sugar Ray show. 'Nuff said.