No one finds punk music, and especially hardcore punk, in their 30s. That's utterly ridiculous.
Punk is for kids. It's music for young misfits and hormonal rebels, not grown-up professionals. Punk is music for skateboarding teenagers, hell-bent on getting at least two misdemeanors before their mid-20s. Punk phases are for spoiled trust-fund kids who dye their hair blue and mistake Nirvana for Minor Threat. It's for television celebrities who wear Black Flag T-shirts without knowing who Henry Rollins is. They also don't know that Henry Rollins probably hates them.
No one slips in at the ripe age of 31 and says, "I like punk music" all of a sudden. It just doesn't happen.
When I moved to Savannah, I thought I knew some things about music. The truth is, I didn't know much about life in general. I still don't. I know music, though.
I could tell you when the orchestra dips into a minor scale, and back to the tonic. I can describe to you how the cadence was formulated to give you all the feelings. But I didn't know who The Queers were. I could tell you the singer/songwriter was playing in the key of G Major, but started on the subdominant and only reached the tonic at the end of the verse, thereby building the drama and resolving the melody sweetly. But I had no idea Steve Albini produced so much good music.
I didn't know that most of my favorite albums from bands like Mars Volta and Modest Mouse had their roots in punk and hardcore. Fugazi wasn't my third favorite band.
Research is about 90 percent of journalism. The actual writing only takes 10 percent of the time. During my years in Savannah, I've spent hours and hours spanning through the 30-plus years of punk and punk-related music.
I've listened to a lot of music. But it wasn't just listening to the music that captured my attention. More than the stories I've written, it's been the live shows.
I owe my firm education to Crazy Bag Lady, Black Tusk, Forced Entry, Greta O & The Toxic Shock, Jeff Two-Names and the Born Agains, plus all the touring bands from the past six years (which is far too many to name). That's not to mention the venues: The indomitable Jinx, the beloved Hang Fire and glitzy El-Rocko Lounge have given a home to so much good music in Savannah.
I believe now that punk music, and all the related genres, exist best in live form. Watching Josh Sterno hang from the rafters at Dollhouse, climb over everything in The Jinx and play in the street in front of Hang Fire - while the Lynch brothers, Daniel and Derek, and Zak Barnum were chugging out bangers like it was candy - changed my whole perspective on music. Savannah gave me live punk music, for the first time in my life.
When I lived in Iowa, the scene was reggae and jazz with a little bit of metal, for some reason. Iowans are weird. In Tennessee, it was Americana and metal. A lot of metal. Tennesseans are by nature a repressed group. I was born there, so I can say that.
I am frustrated at life for not bringing me live punk music before Savannah. It doesn't matter, though. I have a working theory that if you love music - and I mean really love it - the right kind of music, the right album, the right song, will find you when you need it the most. I can note well over a dozen times in my life where this has happened.
My first real job in this city was a mixed bag of blessings and pain. The job gave me several new professional skills that have been powerful tools in my work box. However, it was a miserable place to work. I wasn't happy most of the time. I started going to punk shows around the same time.
All of that angst I felt at work from the madness that surrounded me was exerted in head-banging nights. I was frustrated and angry with my life. Punk was the perfect outlet. It found me when I needed it the most. I never dug my teeth into the genre before Savannah. I never had a reason to.
I've spent most of this year frustrated with the state of our union. Arguments with my conservative family have devolved into silence. The rage has been real and justified. You could argue that punk and heavy music in general is necessary or relevant again. Truth is, it never stopped being relevant. It is, historically speaking, good for rock 'n' roll when we elect a stupid president.
I also started playing in bands again, something I haven't done in close to a decade. I joined my first pop-punk band, The Ramages, this year.
I fell in love with punk music in my 30s, like a weirdo.
Joshua Peacock is a writer and musician based in Savannah. He studied music theory, jazz and playwriting at the University of Iowa. Empire of Sound has won two Georgia Press Awards in the past two years. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.