The punk scene is composed of an assortment of smaller subcultures, such as Oi! and hardcore punk. These subcultures distinguish themselves from one another through unique variations on punk culture. Several of these factions have developed out of punk to become youth movements in their own right, including straight edge, goth and psychobilly. Punk has had a tumultuous relationship with both popular culture and other subcultures.
The punk subculture first emerged in the United States and the United Kingdom in the mid-1970s. Exactly which region originated punk has long been a major controversy within the movement. Cities in Australia, South Africa, and Japan also played host to early scenes.
Early punk had an abundance of antecedents and influences, and Jon Savage has described the subculture as a "bricolage" of almost every previous youth culture that existed in the West since the Second World War "stuck together with safety pins". Various philosophical, political, and artistic movements influenced the subculture. In particular, punk drew inspiration from several strains of modern art. Various writers, books, and literary movements were important to the formation of the punk aesthetic. Punk rock has a variety of musical origins both within the rock and roll genre and beyond.
The earliest form of punk rock, named protopunk in retrospect, started as a garage rock revival in the northeastern United States in the late 1960s. The first ongoing music scene that was assigned the punk label appeared in New York City between 1974 and 1976. At about the same time or shortly afterward, a punk scene developed in London. Soon after, Los Angeles became home to the third major punk scene. These three cities formed the backbone of the burgeoning movement, but there were also other scenes in a number of cities such as Brisbane and Boston.
Around 1977, the subculture began to diversify with the proliferation of factions such as 2 Tone, Oi!, pop punk, New Wave, and No Wave. In the United States during the early 1980s, punk underwent a renaissance in the form of hardcore punk, which sought to do away with the frivolities introduced in the later years of the original movement, while at the same time Britain saw a parallel movement called streetpunk. Hardcore and streetpunk then spread to other regions just as the original subculture had. In the mid-1980s to the early 1990s in America, various underground scenes either directly evolved from punk or at least applied its attitudes to new styles, in the process producing the alternative rock and indie music scenes.
The punk subculture is centered around listening to recordings or live concerts of a loud, aggressive genre of rock music called punk rock, usually shortened to punk. While most punk rock uses the distorted guitars and noisy drumming that is derived from 1960s garage rock and 1970s pub rock, some punk bands incorporate elements from other subgenres, such as metal (e.g., mid-1980s-era Discharge) or folk rock (Billy Bragg). Different punk subcultures often distinguish themselves by having a unique style of punk rock, although not every style of punk rock has its own associated subculture. Most punk rock songs are short, have simple and somewhat basic arrangements using relatively few chords, and they use lyrics that express punk values and ideologies ranging from the nihilism of the Sex Pistols' "No Future" to the positive, anti-drug message of Minor Threat's "Straight Edge". Punk rock is usually played in small bands rather than by solo artists. Punk bands usually consist of a singer, one or two overdriven electric guitars, an electric bass player, and a drummer (the singer may be one of the musicians). In some bands, the band members may do backup vocals, but these typically consist of shouted slogans, choruses, or football(soccer)-style chants, rather than the sweet, arranged harmony vocals of pop bands..
Punk politics cover the entire political spectrum, although most punks could be categorized as having left-wing or progressive views. Punk-related ideologies are mostly concerned with individual freedom and anti-establishment views. Common punk viewpoints include anti-authoritarianism, a DIY ethic, non-conformity, direct action and not selling out. ther notable trends in punk politics include nihilism, anarchism, socialism, anti-militarism, anti-capitalism, anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-nationalism, anti-homophobia, environmentalism, vegetarianism, veganism and animal rights. However, some individuals within the punk subculture hold right-wing views (such as those associated with the Conservative Punk website), neo-Nazi views (Nazi punk), or are apolitical (e.g.horror punk).
Early british punk expressed Nihilism with the slogan "no future", which came from the Sex Pistols song "God Save the Queen". In the United States, punks had a different approach to nihilism based on their "unconcern for the present" and their "disaffection from both middle and working class standards". Punk nihilism was expressed in the use of "harder, more self-destructive, consciousness-obliterating substances like heroin, or ... methamphetamine" and by the "mutilation of the body" with razor blades.
Punks seek to outrage propriety with the highly theatrical use of clothing, hairstyles, cosmetics, tattoos, jewelry and body modification. Early punk fashion adapted existing objects for aesthetic effect: ripped clothing is held together by safety pins or wrapped with tape; ordinary clothing is customized by embellishing it with marker or adorning it with paint; a black bin liner becomes a dress, shirt or skirt; safety pins and razor blades are used as jewelry. Leather, rubber, and vinyl clothing are also popular, possibly due in part to the fact that the general public associates it with transgressive sexual practices like bondage and S&M. Punks also sometimes wear tight "drainpipe" jeans, Plaid or Tartan pants,T-shirts with risqué images, rocker jackets (which are often decorated by painting on band logos, adorning the lapels and pocket flaps with pins and buttons, and covering sections of the jacket, especially the back and sleeves of the jacket, in large numbers of carefully placed studs or spikes), and footwear such as Converse sneakers, skate shoes, brothel creepers, or Dr. Martens boots.
Some punks style their hair to stand in spikes, cut it into Mohawks or other dramatic shapes, often coloring it with vibrant, unnatural hues. Punks tend to adorn their favorite jacket or vest with pin-back buttons and patches of bands they love and ideas they believe in, telling the world around them a little bit about who they are. They sometimes flaunt taboo symbols such as the Iron Cross. Some early punks occasionally wore clothes displaying a Nazi swastika for shock-value, but most modern punks are staunchly anti-racist and are more likely to wear a crossed-out swastika symbol. In contrast to punks who believe the fashion is a central part of the punk subculture, there are some punks who are decidedly "anti-fashion," arguing that music and/or ideology should define punk, not fashion. This is most common in the post-1980s US hardcore punk scene, where members of the subculture often dressed in t-shirts and jeans, rather than the more elaborate outfits and spiked, dyed hair of their late 1970s UK punk predecessors.
Punks can come from any and all walks of life and economic classes. The subculture is predominantly male, with the exception of the riot grrrl movement. Compared to some alternative cultures, punk is much closer to being gender equalist in terms of its ideology. Although the punk subculture is mostly anti-racist, it is vastly white (at least in predominantly-white countries). However, members of other groups (such as Blacks, Latinos, and Asians) have also contributed to the development of the subculture. Substance abuse has sometimes been a part of the punk scene, with the notable exception of the straight edge movement. Violence has also sometimes appeared in the punk subculture, but has been opposed by some subsets of the subculture, such as the pacifist strain of anarcho-punk.
Punks often form a local scene, which can have as few as half a dozen members in a small town, or as many as thousands of members in a major city. A local scene usually has a small group of dedicated punks surrounded by a more casual periphery. A typical punk scene is made up of punk and hardcore bands; fans who attend concerts, protests, and other events; zine publishers, band reviewers, and writers; visual artists who create illustrations for zines, posters, and album covers; people who organize concerts, and people who work at music venues or independent record labels. Squatting plays a role in some punk communities, providing shelter and other forms of support. Illegal squats in abandoned or condemned housing and communal "punk houses" sometimes provide bands a place to stay while they are touring. There are some punk communes, such as the Dial House. The Internet has been playing an increasingly larger role in punk, specifically in the form of virtual communities and file sharing programs for trading music files.
Information from wikipedia, image found on deviantart and edited by me.