'You call yourselves one of us but you listen to shit like K-pop?!'
'You are not a real punk!'
Through the years, I have heard and received those sort of comments from the 'real punks' due to being in a punk band but not looking the part. First of all, just to clarify AGAIN, I have never, ever considered myself a punk. Why would I? I have lived a fulfilling life so far, good upbringing, great family, great friends and a great education. I never had to starve, I have a roof over my head and good company around me. In fact, playing punk music have never crossed my mind considering my love for indie music. I ended up playing in a band like The Misfit Ramones for a good 4 years and counting now because I have always love the energy and raw intensity of punk rock music.
But when it comes to walking the walk, me and a couple of friends including my good friend Justin who is also TMR's bassist, Raf (Blank Shot drummer) and James (ex-RPM, ex-Supertzar lead guitarist) headed up north to KL to watch Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg feat. Michael Graves, ex Misfits frontman. When I first heard the news of them touring SEA, my jaw dropped. 2 of the biggest names and icons in the history of punk will be coming to play near me. There was absolutely no way I can even contemplate to miss this. Justin, Raf and James shared my view and so comes the elaborate planning to travel there prior to the show.
And when we got there, mind you, the trip wasn't smooth-sailing at all. This is no holiday or vacation. This is a mission. 4 plain guys with a love and passion for The Ramones and Misfits to watch our legends in action in a foreign land. Bumpy bus ride from JB's Larkin to KL's Bandar Tasik Selatan, with the bus doing pit stops along the way, even stopping at Seremban in Negeri Sembilan! A supposedly 4 hr bus ride took 6 hrs with only one toilet break along the way. The train ride to the place we stay was hell with the crazy crowd and non-existent aircon. I swear one stranger ended up hugging my bag pack from the back to allow at least another person to squeeze in. We could settle for a proper hotel but we chose a potentially disappointing guesthouse to cut cost with shared bathrooms, kitchen and common smoking room with other guests (which ended up being the best decision we ever made). We settled for street foods and vendors instead of restaurants with air-conditioner for our meals.
There was also this one other tiny factor that could make our trip potentially disastrous. A planned mass demonstration called Bersih 3.0 was scheduled to happen that very weekend, the day of Marky Ramone's show in fact. 75000 people ended up participating in the protest and they were to gather at Dataran Merdeka, which is pretty close to our guesthouse in Chinatown. What started out to be a peaceful demonstration turned ugly midway with teargases being thrown and the protesters retaliated by burning a police car. Luckily for us, we were not affected by these heated battles as we're already out but our friends at the guesthouse we stay were affected by the teargas, which hurt their eyes for awhile despite them staying in. Crazy stuff!
Even though we are out, again the travelling was tough which the roads being closed, and as for the LRT, we had to miss at least 6 trains before we could board one with all the trains being occupied by the protesters. Our struggles continued even after we reached our venue at Bukit Jalil! Show that was slated to start at 6pm as per stated in the poster and concert ticket, started at 8pm instead. The wait there was mentally tiring as we already were tired from the crazy scenes in Chinatown and trains from earlier.
But once the show started, all the struggles seemed worth it. Seeing Marky Ramone and Michael Graves in flesh, was absolutely surreal. The many Ramones classics came fast and furious, one after another. Michael surprised all by playing a couple of Misfits classics include Descending Angel and Saturday Night on the acoustic, and the band played Dig Up Her Bones to the delight of the crowd. The band ended off a solid 1 and half hr set with the signature Blitzkrieg Bop and that was it.
So while we're out there struggling and chasing our dreams just to catch a glimpse of these legends live, the question I have is, real punks, where you at? Where are you guys when 2 of the greatest punk rock icons came to KL? If it's cash, well Raf almost didn't went due to monetary problems but he managed to find a short part-time job just a few days before the show to fund for thr trip. If it's time, I applied for leave from NS despite already using up a lot of my vacation leaves. Interest? Well that's interesting since James is playing in a Top 40s mainstream band but he loved Misfits when he was younger and that told himself he must watch Graves live, at least once in his life. We are all busy people but we made sacrifices to go there nonetheless.
I may listen to Kpop in my spare time, James may play Nicki Minaj with his band, we may have other interests that doesn't really fit into the punk culture or ideologies. But one thing we never do, is we never compromise. When it comes to our love for punk rock music, we go all out. Our other interests should never come in between that. Moral of the story is, as cliche as it sounds is that, we should never judge a book by its cover. A person who looks boring like us may know or love punk rock more than a guy who wears studded jackets, sports a mohawk or wears a boot. I did not write this post to brag or tell the whole how punk I am by going to a Marky Ramones concert. I just hope that these 'punks' should try to back up their claims instead of ranting about how someone is a real punk or not simply by judging instead of knowing.
But what do I know eh? I'm not a punk. I'm just an ordinary guy who plays punk rock. :)