The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday October 19th

Office DJ: Punk for nerds

My introduction to the word “punk” started with my mom, who used the term to describe kids who seemed like they were up to no good. The definition was later expanded when I caught reruns of Ashton Kutcher’s hit reality show, “Punk’d.” As it turned out, punk could also mean hilariously pranking celebrities on tape. 

A wonderful book called “Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk” came into my life in 2015 — NOT because of “Gilmore Girls." Thank you very much!!!!!!!

Sorry about that. I took a second and have since calmed down. Anyway, punk was never the same. It was suddenly a type of music steeped in history that I could read stories about and generally nerd out on. 

I got into proto-punk through stories of The Velvet Underground chilling with Andy Warhol. I learned about how Nico loved to stir the pot while getting some of history’s finest songwriters to write for her. I realized that while I would love to see him perform in 1967, I would be absolutely terrified to meet Iggy Pop in real life. 

I even began to like punky punk, a term I just coined for music I would never play in the car with my parents. The Ramones, The Clash, Dead Kennedys, Sex Pistols. Was I becoming … a punk? 

I was not. I liked punk music, but I was still a 15-year-old history nerd from Maryland. And that is why I’ve dedicated my life this column to showing people that punk is not just for an elite group of musicians with cool haircuts and edgy clothes. It is, indeed, for everyone. 

This playlist is punk for beginners — or punk for nerds as I like to call it. The songs are relatively tame and have truly fascinating stories behind them. Iggy Pop probably wouldn’t care if you liked them. But I hope you do. 


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