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What is punk?

Dear Reader,

This letter is not really a question and my response is not really an "answer." It  is just the beginning of a conversation that will continue off and on in the weeks to come. -- ct

Dear Cary,

I'm actually pretty skeptical you're going to respond to this. I'm 22 -- so I'm pretty used to being rejected by now; it comes with the territory of "youthful" inexperience. Most people ignore me, some don't -- I try not to take either one too personally. Anyway, I am glad you have recovered from cancer, and I am (sorry? what is the right word for "distantly but authentically sad and empathetic for a stranger whose column you read") about your dog.

You asked to speak to musicians, and I am not one. I am a writer -- I do a lot of things with my writing, but one of them is talk to a lot of musicians. (I could send you my interviews, but it seems tacky to pimp my writing in this letter...)

Anyway, from what I can tell you, this is how young contemporary punk bands work. First, the best ones all live together -- they get a cheap house, they name it something cool, they open it up for informal shows that get pretty wild. I live in Buffalo -- the biggest one (the Turnaround) just closed as the members are moving on and graduating and metamorphosing into beautiful punk-rock butterflies.

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