By Christy Buena, 17, Los Angeles HS
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Christy says that she loves punk music, but wishes people had less rigid definitions of how punks are supposed to act and dress.

Punk music is the coolest. I first realized this at the Vans Warped Tour of 1998, when I saw Rancid on stage. Everyone was dancing and moshing in a dirt field. It was like a dust bowl and I couldn’t breathe. It was crazy. Even the guys on stage were coughing. And MotoCross bikers were flying through the air and the whole crowd was singing along to every song. I had never seen that before, everybody so hyper, so energetic, and I was a part of it.

It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what’s so great about the punk scene. Part of it is the punk rock kids—they’re my kind of crowd. They don’t care how they look. They don’t care what people say, what people think.

The band members are hyper guys running around on stage, making jokes, and you can tell they enjoy what they do. When they see the crowd having fun, the band just goes crazy. I let my best friend listen to a punk CD, (she usually listens to Kid Rock and Marilyn Manson), and she said, punk rock music is just so blunt. They just come out and say what’s on their mind. I can’t picture the Smashing Pumpkins singing about impotency.

But the main thing about punk concerts is the overall positive vibe. People are happy. I’ve seen people fall in the mosh pit and strangers came and picked them up and said "Are you okay?" Everyone’s really nice.

Once my dad tried to convince my brother Sean not to go to a punk concert. He said it was too dangerous.

My brother, who’s 15, said, "That’s not true. Punk rock concerts are all about unity."

My dad was shocked. "How can you say that?"

My brother said, "You don’t know! You’ve never been to one! I’ve been to so many anyway, and I’m still alive."

My dad just gave up—my brother went to the concert (and survived). When my dad’s around, my brother lets his mohawk fall down to the side. But otherwise, he spikes it up and sometimes colors it with blond tips. He wants to do his hair leopard-style, but so far my mom has put her foot down.

Last fall, Sean got kicked out of his friend’s house. His friend’s mom assumed that he was a bad influence. Little did she know that my brother does not smoke, drink, do drugs or have casual sex. Sean’s friends defended him, but I could tell his feelings were hurt. I think he just decided, "If you don’t like me, that’s your problem. I’m not going to change for you."

Christy says they're both in the punk scene, and that mohawk isn't as scary as it looks.

People shouldn’t judge others because of their appearance. Just because a person has a mohawk or spiky colored hair, doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is a crazy, violent or bad person. It made me really angry when I heard about Brian Deneke, a punk rocker from Texas, on the TV show 20/20. He was hanging out with friends when he got into an argument with a guy, who killed him by running him over with his Cadillac. And the guy, who was a real clean-cut jock type, got off with a manslaughter charge. He never even spent a night in jail. When the Leeza show did a story on the case, one of his friends said that if the tables had been turned and the punk rocker was behind the wheel and ran the jock over, there is no doubt that he would have gotten life in prison. Doesn’t that suck? Check out his Web site at

There are many kinds of punks

I think there are a lot of different kinds of punk rockers. I enjoy listening to pop punk music because it’s fast, loud, exciting and I can relate to most of the songs. Some bands I like are Home Grown, MXPX, Hi-Standard and Unwritten Law.
Jackie Tran, 15, of Santiago High in Garden Grove said she listens to Home Grown, Hoobastank, Fenix tx and Blink 182. "I like it because the concerts and CDs are really cheap and it’s great music."

Eddie Martinez, 16, of L.A. High, said he’d rather listen to Incubus and System of A Down than punk. "I just get bored of the same drum beats. I just like Home Grown and Pennywise."

My brother likes the hard core punk bands like Anti-Flag, The Unseen, Agent Orange and others. I’m not into the political punk music as much as he is. Hard core punk bands are more about getting their political message across. They mostly sing about all the negative things the government is doing. I don’t really care about that stuff. Some people might call me a poser but I don’t care.

It’s easy to be labeled a poser

When you start to like a punk band, there is a risk that you will be called a poser or a wannabe. Well, this is true at my school. If you’re trying to get into the scene, and you’re just doing it to be cool, and the only thing you know about punk is that you heard a Blink 182 song on the radio, they call you a poser. If your number one band is playing and you don’t go to the concert, they call you a poser. How could you miss your own favorite band? When a band is being played on the radio and then suddenly you act like you’re their number one fan, that alone will categorize you as a poser. They’ll make fun of you and talk about you behind your back.

Here’s my brother’s open-minded view: "If you don’t like punk, you suck."

Not too long ago at the Pennywise concert, I asked a few people what punks are like. Fernando Carbajal, 17, of Santa Monica High, said, "I know a couple of punks. Some of them are true punks that are not in it for the image. They actually care about the message behind the music, as opposed to the other so-called punks that I know that think they’re punk because they dye their hair or because they listen to something like Blink 182, which is definitely more alternative than punk."

Melissa Medina, 17, of Culver City High said, "I think a lot of people don’t know what punk means. They see Blink 182 and think that’s punk and now they’re punk. I think it’s all about a way of being … not just a stupid song about a girl who dumped you."

Melissa, who listens to Home Grown, FenixTX, Vandals and Hoobastank, got the "poser" treatment from the other punks at her school. "None of them know I’m into punk because I USUALLY look normal. But after I dyed some of my hair green and wore a bright pink fishnet shirt, I suddenly became a poser."

I’ve heard people say, "Punk is not an image … it’s a lifestyle." That confuses me. When I hear the word image, I think about how someone looks. If I see someone with weird hair, spikes on their clothing, safety pins, and piercings, I’m guessing they are representing the punk image. I know people who will argue with me and say, "Punk is not about how you look!" Then why do punks spike their hair that way? Why do they wear the clothes they wear?

My brother almost got jumped

One time, my brother and his friends almost got beat up by some gangsters on the bus. The guys were so big that my brother and his friends just sat there silently as they said, "What happened to your hair? Did you get electrocuted?" and they made fun of their clothes. My brother was so angry when he got home … My mom said, "What do you expect? You knew what you were getting yourself into when you got that hairstyle!" But my brother just got more hard core after that. In a way I think he likes the attention. He hates it when people make fun of him, but he likes to shock.

I think that people should listen to what they like and not care about what people say. Everyone has the right to listen to good music, and dress the way they want to.

  Who’s more punk … Christy or her brother, Sean?