We all have our own stories.  While our bodies, style, and habits may change over the years, our stories stay with us. Big or small, we all have that story of how we got into punk rock. Everyone remembers the details of that beginning. Who their early punk friends were. The first album they obsessed over. The transformative first gig. The first time in the pit. Everyone loves sharing that story over beers, around the campfire, with new friends, with the kids. These stories are timeless. They never lose their passion. We keep those stories dear to our hearts. We keep them alive by sharing. 

This project started brewing in the back of my head years ago. When I started painting portraits, I had the thought that combining punk rock origin stories with portraits would be an interesting project. Two things I love so much. So Here we are.

If you are interested in my project, contact me!

Stephanie SilkStephanie Silk

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, in the suburbs of Los Angeles. I went to Catholic school for 14 years. I had a pretty standard but boring start to things. I loved going to the beach. I hung out at the mall. I listened to rock and roll ...

JohnJohn

When I was a young tween/teen, I thought punk rock sucked. I saw the Ramones on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert when I was 13 and thought all the songs sounded the same, plus the guitarist obviously couldn’t play a solo to save his life. I was interested to see the ...

Big Pete MarkowiczBig Pete Markowicz

I was a lost kid that did not fit in with the guidos surrounding me in the suburbs of Clifton, New Jersey. I was about 12 years old and was in the boy scouts. I met a kid named Eric and he said check this out…he made me a mixtape ...

John Colle RogersJohn Colle Rogers

Back in 1984 I was a metalhead in North Dakota, a musical wasteland in many ways where we were tasked with finding alternatives on our own if we wanted to stray from the clutches of Casey Kasem’s Top 40 or Country. Mother’s Records was a refuge for that, and I ...

Peter LandauPeter Landau

My childhood was idyllic until my family was part of the middle-class exodus from New York City in the early 1970s. I was eight years old and would have been able to walk across the street by myself to school the next year. My parents made this promise and then ...

Lawson Desrochers (aka Lawson Jealous)Lawson Desrochers (aka Lawson Jealous)

Like everyone, I had heard about the Sex Pistols and the Clash, even dug some of their tunes early on, but punk truly came to my world in 1981 via the older kids in Santa Monica, the skaters and surfers who suddenly cut off their long hair and either dyed ...

The Discontent of GirlsThe Discontent of Girls

As a woman “of a certain age” (as I refer to myself,) one might view me as simply a woman in nondescript clothing with a nondescript haircut leading a normal life. However inside my head I’m listening to a song by Void or Dirt or Red Cross or X. The outer ...

Going to the CathayGoing to the Cathay

Photo by Gary Leonard.

Billy LoranceBilly Lorance

Full-blown hippie life was before me as a child. Our house had waterbeds, water pillows, water couches, and water pipes. Psychedelic colored bean bag chairs adorned the living room floor and coffee colored beads hung in the doorways leading to the hallway and the kitchen. Shocking orange deep shag carpet ...

Joe MendelsonJoe Mendelson

My overwhelming passion for rock music began in 3rd grade, although I have a very distinct memory of being completely mesmerized by The Who’s I can see for miles that I heard on my sister’s radio when I was in kindergarten (1969). The thing about 3rd through 5th grades is ...

Johnny StingrayJohnny Stingray

I guess it was ‘75 or so, I was working at an appliance store in Burbank, CA and living in Santa Monica with Kidd Spike (then known as Jeff Austin) and his sister, Gaye. Gaye was my high school girlfriend, she and I had  moved to CA a few years ...

Tim TracyTim Tracy

My PUNK STORY: My Punk story starts way, way before PUNK.  My dad (or DA, as we say with our family voice in Ireland) introduced me to “HardCore” Dixieland via record albums when I was only months old along with Dixieland live shows when I was around three. If anyone knows real ...

Jennifer SchwartzJennifer Schwartz

This first time I heard the two words, “punk rock,” was around 1977. My mom, brother and I had just moved to Beverly Hills. That place sucks. Anyway, one day, a girl from my 8th grade class, Joan, showed up with a choppy, short haircut, a single earring of a ...

Robert HeckerRobert Hecker

I grew up in Hermosa Beach, California, and there was definitely a something-in-the-water thing going on in our sleepy little beach town. There was a decommissioned church that I knew as the arts & crafts church that I would sometimes go to with my mother, which apparently some referred to ...

Jay HeycockJay Heycock

I grew up an alien in a small suburban PA town. Never fit in with the locals & always felt like something was missing. Then I discovered the Clash & Dead Kennedys. It was what I was waiting for. The fury, the anger, the alienation, and the need to get ...

ChrisO’ChrisO'

My story began when I came back from living on Oahu the summer of 1979. On the North Shore where I had lived since 1976, I was sheltered from all the music that was happening on the mainland, more specifically punk rock. We came back every summer and always tapped ...

The origins of LarktaviaThe origins of Larktavia

Wax lips sink ships!

DeathanyDeathany

I guess it’s all Jeremy Freeze’s fault. He was my little brother’s best friend who lived down the street. He came over after school one day with a mixed tape of Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Minor Threat, and The Ramones. He had older siblings who got him into punk because ...

Kip-XoolKip-Xool

“TURN THAT BLOODY RACKET DOWN!! HOW CAN YOU CALL THAT MUSIC??!” Perhaps not the best psychological approach to curb a teenager’s new-found calling, but it also signalled a sense that I was in the right ballpark. My father was the most vociferous about it. Dad’s tastes in music had extended only so ...

Todd CastorTodd Castor

My punk rock origin story is probably shared (at least in part) by quite a few others – not only in the area where I live, but other cities and regions as well.   I grew up in Oxnard, California – a beach town sixty miles northwest and a world away from ...

Mr. LeeMr. Lee

I grew up in Brooklyn and in the early ’80s. I was into the usual classic-rock, the Grateful Dead, Dylan, jazz (through my parents), some metal (mostly Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Celtic Frost), and rap (I religiously listened to and recorded the Friday night shows on WBLS and KISS-FM). ...

Today’s random musingsToday's random musings

If you see me randomly walking down the street you might think I was just some middle aged woman in nondescript clothing with a generic haircut and a canvas tote bag. Inside of my head is probably a song by Void or Dirt or Red Cross or X. Looking back ...

Dave NazDave Naz

I went to El Rodeo Elementary school from kindergarten through 8th grade. I always had friends in school, I played sports and did all the other things kids do. I had a love for music and remember hearing Devo and other popular bands from that time, seeing The Rocky Horror ...

SpikeSpike

At 17, in 1975, I left the safety of N. Miami Beach Suburbia for the wilds of Los Angeles to study photography and somehow found myself working as a paparazzo with the likes of Ron Galella of Jackie O fame.  In 1978, whilst living in an apartment in Hollywood, my across-the-hall ...

Joe FrankeJoe Franke

In 1981, I was 13 years old, and wasn’t really a fan of music around then, I was still into Star Wars, comic books, and figuring out Dungeons and Dragons, but music was a not-so-exciting thing based on what I was hearing on the radio and such. Sure, if I’d ...

Aleks ShaulovAleks Shaulov

I first fell in love with the superficial idea of punk as a kid in Soviet Union. When I was about 6 or 7 there was a program on TV that highlighted the corrosive effects of capitalism on young minds. Among others, it showed a bunch of teenagers with funny ...

RMX256RMX256

My only parent was an unwed single mother at 15, and had my younger brother and I in the late 70s. We never met our “father” or any of his family, but I have been told that he tried to kidnap us once. My mom was very active in the ...

Steve FrisvoldSteve Frisvold

Ok, I have been avoiding this for long enough. It’s with clenched teeth I write this, deleting the second sentence over and over. Not sure how to say this, afraid to let out my big secret, to expose myself on the internet laid bare for all to see. Afraid to ...

Stepping back and lookingStepping back and looking

I had been thinking about starting this project for about 20 years. Initially, I wanted to shoot photos of people because at the time I was really into photography. But I put photography on the back burner to have kids. Around that time, film photography was beginning to be replaced ...

Kevin ZKevin Z

The first time I became aware of punk rock I was in the 5th grade. The Sex Pistols were in the news and coming to the states and the hype was such that people were actually afraid of a rock and roll band. Between that hype, reading Creem magazine regularly, ...

Jesse LusciousJesse Luscious

My family was the stereotypical northeast liberal family. Grandma served in WW2 w/ the WAVES (the Navy Women’s auxiliary force) and my Grandfather served in the US Coast Guard before getting a deferment since he was a dentist. My parents marched in candlelight vigils for civil rights in the 1960s ...

KRKKRK

In the 6th grade my buddy had an older sister that was in the Hollywood KBD punk band, Deprogamer. She’d come around once in a while and give him (us) magazines. She turned us onto Rodney on the Roq (ROTR), a KROQ, 106.7, DJ that dedicated the weekend nights to ...

David MarkeyDavid Markey

Before Punk, as a pre-teen, I was all about making 8mm films that I shot with my dad’s hand wound Brownie. I began making films at the age of 11. This would be 1974, before I had any aspirations to play music. I first heard of Punk Rock from a ...

Jon Charles NewmanJon Charles Newman

(In memory of Brady Rifkin.) For most of 1977 I was 13 years old. I was a proghead, and from what I’d seen of UK punk, I thought it was silly. But I heard “God Save the Queen” on the radio and decided I wanted the single, and then figured I ...

Hudley Flipside (HUD)Hudley Flipside (HUD)

People treated me as though I was insane. They would throw things out of their car windows at me while I waited at the bus stop. They would call me names too, oh the nasty world. Life was not so nice. Strange though, I was wonderfully happy and smiling then, ...

Video Louis ElovitzVideo Louis Elovitz

“MY PLEASURE!“ There are a multitude of reasons why I say this to those who enjoy any of my filmings. Of course I am proud of my filmings, and the music is great, paraphrasing D. Boon “Punk Rock Saved My Life “. I am so grateful that artists allow me ...

Tony CimoTony Cimo

My first experience with punk was negative, in that I hated that my favorite music magazine at the time – Cream – was featuring more stories on the Sex Pistols and Ramones then my favorite band, KISS. I remember seeing pictures of Johnny Rotten, with his infamous sneer and acne ...

Sean SaleySean Saley

It’s all my uncle Mickey’s fault. Up until I was about 13 years old, my musical taste was pretty mainstream. It was 1980 and my uncle had started to discover bands that wouldn’t necessarily fully qualify as punk rock, but were at least off the beaten path. Iggy Pop solo ...

John MarrJohn Marr

A couple years ago someone published an anthology of first punk rock gig stories called MY FIRST TIME or something. I was annoyed that they didn’t ask me because my first punk rock show was so much better than damn near all the entries in the book. December 1978. The ...

Aaron MooreAaron Moore

In 1977 I was 6 years old and there’s an intriguing song on the radio, It’s called Peaches and it’s by a group called The Stranglers. My intrigue is piqued as the BBC have bleeped a word out of the singer’s arrogant sounding vocals. Soon enough I’m hearing stories about ...

FeliciaFelicia

I can’t remember exactly how it started. I have always loved music, especially from the 60s. Then I found The Ramones. Probably heard them on KROQ. From there I started hearing more of the local bands. The Dickies were fun! I met a girl named Elaine through a friend, and she ...

Gene MullettGene Mullett

I was all-metal all-the-time in high school & then I got to Ohio University in the fall of 1985.  A friend’s dorm where I used to hang had some guys living on his floor that played Black Flag’s Damaged, the 1st Tendencies album, & The Dead Milkmen’s Big Lizard In ...

Otto Von StroheimOtto Von Stroheim

I got into Punk Rock very slowly. Around 1977 I heard The Sex Pistols and Patti Smith on KROQ and saw pictures of them in mainstream rock n roll magazines like Creem. I bought Elvis Costello My Aim is True when it was released in the US but me and ...

Alison BraunAlison Braun

I was bored with school and needed a way looking for something meaningful to put my energy into: So I started going to punk shows and bringing my camera. It was a way to contribute to the scene and get into shows for free. I have shot photos for Metal Blade ...

Bob DurkeeBob Durkee

First of all, let’s get a few facts out of the way.  I was not there at the beginning.  I did not go to the Masque, or any of the landmark first shows that started punk rock in Los Angeles.  If memory serves, I had heard of some of the ...

Al QuintAl Quint

My punk rock origin was probably something I didn’t realize was my punk rock origin, at least at the time. I’ve been a music fan my entire life, going back to when I was 4 or 5 years old and had a red transistor AM radio. During my teenage years, ...

Brady RifkinBrady Rifkin

I moved to L.A. in 1979 and soon fell in with the “New Wave” crowd at my new school. They turned me on to KROQ and through that, Rodney Bingenheimer’s program. Right about that time another cool kid that eventually became one of my best friends taped some records for ...

Danny GromfinDanny Gromfin

In the 70s I was a massive Devo fan. I was a pre-teen spud boy. A member of their fan club (still have the membership card!), made my own Devo buttons, etc. When punk started to get covered by the national media in the US, I started to become aware ...

Mike DematteiMike Demattei

I was big on music since I was little.  In junior high, I started reading about the punk and new wave bands and seeing their records in the stores, but I had no way to hear them.  A significant breakthrough happened when a hip girl from NY transferred to our ...

AnthoAntho

My memory is for shit. I’m not always good with chronology, but I remember I still had long hair. I was at Skater Cross (Kross) in Reseda. I was watching some older kids skate in the pools and they were listening to The Clash’s first album. I remember clearly the ...