I have seen the future and it is now. Technology has changed DIY punk rock forever. One single technological breakthrough has revolutionized punk, bringing it into the 21st Century with a bang. Not since Iggy stepped from behind the drums in '67, or since Dee Dee learned to count to four in '76, or since Discharge popularized the d-beat in the early 80s, has there been a development that promises to affect punk rock so profoundly.
What is this groundbreaking advance in punk technology I hear you ask? Is it online radio? Is it the mp3? Is it the availability of cheap home recording on PCs? No, it's not any of those things, but you're getting warm.
The single most important event for the future of DIY punk rock as we know it was the introduction last year of the Apple iPhone.
"He's lost his mind", I hear you say. "The iPhone costs four hundred dollars, how can anything that expensive be punk?" Well, punks have been known to buy guitars (and records!) that cost several times that amount, and an iPhone is five times more punk than a Flying V with a GBH sticker, and ten times more hardcore than a Fix 'Jan's Room' with insert. Bear with me.
Apple's iPhone allows you to go about all your punk rocker business, anywhere you want, any time you want. You're on the bus home from work and you want to check on the status of your eBay auctions? No problem! You can also surf message boards to keep up on the latest punk and hardcore news. No longer do you have to wait until you're home in front of your computer to enjoy the benefits of Terminal Boredom, Shit-Fi, or even Maximumrocknroll.com! You can stream your favorite punk podcasts, or download the latest hardcore hits right from iTunes.
No self-respecting punk rocker is without a MySpace page these days. Keep track of your friend requests and comment wars 'round the clock via the iPhone's wireless Internet access.
Going on tour with your band? Touring will never be the same again. From your iPhone, you can connect with other bands on MySpace to book the tour itself. Keep up with the bookings as you travel, and alert fans to any changes via MySpace bulletins–again, sent from your phone. Getting lost on the way to the show is a thing of the past: some hippy bands may prefer to 'wing it'... not so the modern iPhone-equipped touring unit. You've got maps and directions right there in the palm of your hand. And when you're onstage, don't worry about going out of tune - you can download an application that turns your iPhone into a guitar tuner. That saves you $100 on a regular guitar tuner right there. The iPhone just became an even better deal. (I realize that many punks regard tuning your guitar to be an unnecessarily frivolous show of rock-star like 'chops', so if you fall into this category, feel free to ignore that last part). Using the iPhone's 2-megapixel digital camera, you can document the tour as you go, and post the best pics to your blog. And speaking of blogs, let's face it–zines are a relic of the past. Rather than writing a zine about sitting in the 24-hour diner drinking muddy coffee all night, then wasting hours of your time at Kinko's trying to scam copies, wouldn't you rather just publish your thoughts and feelings directly to thousands of readers AS THEY HAPPEN from the diner itself? Talk about revolutionary.
I haven't even gotten to the mp3 player part yet. Your iPhone can carry thousands of songs. That's way more songs than anyone but the most pretentious of record collectors could ever need. (In fact, according to a list on Amazon.com, there are only ten essential punk albums. Those are:
1. RANCID - "And Out Come The Wolves"
2. NOFX - "Pump Up The Valium"
3. FUGAZI - "Repeater"
4. PENNYWISE - "Land Of The Free"
5. BOUNCING SOULS - "How I Spent My Summer Vacation"
6. RX BANDITS - "The Resignation"
7. BLACK FLAG - "Damaged"
8. GREEN DAY - "Dookie"
9. BOX CAR RACER - "Box Car Racer"
10. OFFSPRING - "Smash"
Shit, I'm only 2 for 10. But fire up the iPhone, and I could download the ones I'm missing from iTunes and complete my punk collection! See how easy and convenient Apple has made it to be punk? CRASS said pay no more than 2.99. Apple says pay no more than 99 cents (per song)!)
I don't think there's any aspect of the life of your average punk rocker that couldn't be improved by the use of an iPhone. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that if it's not already, in very short order an iPhone will be essential for any truly DIY punk. With the technology of the iPhone at our fingertips, there's nothing we can't do. We can finally and instantly mobilize to make a punk takeover of the online airwaves a reality. We've been waiting for this a long time. The struggle has been long and many have been lost along the way. But with the introduction of the iPhone, we have finally won.
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