Angie Sugrim (The Obvious) on how she got into Punk, how it shaped her, and changed her life

Upstart Fest: The Obvious at Asbury Lanes, photo by Jeff Tamboia

Angie Sugrim, front-woman of Asbury Park’s The Obvoius, has released a wonderfully written piece reflecting on what punk rock means to her and many others, and how it has shaped her life and turned her into the person that she is today.

You can read Angie’s words below.

“Punk rock means Freedom. Punk is a will and a way, a means and an end. Punk rock is not lazy—it works it’s ass off. Punk is the powerful moment when you realize that you are not alone, that you are capable of so much more than what you have been assigned, and that there are people just like you creating a counter-culture in opposition to the greed, apathy, suffering, cruelty, and the nihilist banality of unexamined existence.

Punk is about necessary rage and the expressing that rage, it’s love where there was none before, it’s a celebration of what’s right and good and pure and true alongside a clawing, caterwauling rejection of injustice and well-that’s-the-way-it’s-always-been oppression. Punk is light and truth and honor among thieves. It’s meeting on the margins and setting fire to the page. Punk rock is a really good time.

Punk is hope. Punks know where they come from and even if we don’t know where we are headed, we know how to get there. We know that the only way to exist in the world is to confront the things that piss us off head on, and to love and exponentially spread the power to create our own futures, the way we see fit. Punks take care of each other. We judge but we do it critically and we don’t hold anyone to standards that we wouldn’t measure our own selves against.

Punk gave me shelter when the rest of the world was pelting stones. Punk saw me flailing in the water and threw me a lifeline. Pulled me in, took me on deck and asked if I wanted to try my hand at steering—helped me discover that I had the ability to steer.

That lifeline came in the form of blistering, euphoric rock-and-roll. Mainstream punk-inspired music at first: Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Hole, The Afghan Whigs, L7 and many more.  Bands with whose help I traced back through a fantastic lineage: Fugazi, Black Flag, Bikini Kill, Mission of Burma, Minor Threat, Minutemen, The Slits, The Raincoats, The Gits, … a thousand definitive Do-It-Yourself political manifestos, absurd jokes, sarcastic remarks, and eternally burning anthems.

Punk Rock is ship that we can sail towards any horizon we want. There are lots of us on board already, but there’s room for you, too.

Thanks, Angie

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