I wasn’t punk but I wish I was. Neither was I rock or rap or metal or new wave. I had a country phase, but I was mostly tuned to the pop stations, and when I could afford to buy tapes and CD’s, I bought what I heard on the radio. Not college radio. Top 40 radio.
Whenever people ask me if I was into Pixies or The Jesus And Mary Chain, The Ramones, Tupac, or Nirvana I admit that I was not, and with some guilt, as if I would be a more well-rounded adult if I were. But I simply wasn’t exposed to most of it from my perch in the suburbs. If commercial DJ’s didn’t play it, I didn’t hear it. The Cure and Lemonheads T-shirts I saw at school were as foreign to me as the Hard Rock Cafe shirts–they seemed like something people were into who were in on a joke I didn’t get. It was intimidating.
The miracle of streaming music means it’s all there for the taking now. I can listen at 45 to the things the cool kids were listening to at 15, but for the first time. And there are podcasts to help you, like the Spotify original Bandsplain, which I love. Most of it I still don’t like; I’ve always had more of an ear for conformity than for transgression, and the undercurrent of rebellion seeded in most “alternative” music still jars my sensibilities.
I should probably stop trying to be a teenage punk.