Weezer’s new album Hurley was released this past Tuesday on Epitaph Records, a label best known for being founded by Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz. Weezer’s new label is also home to Every Time I Die, Social Distortion and Bring Me The Horizon. The album’s release has been covered by punk news sites like Punknews.org and DyingScene.com — but why? While Weezer’s 1996 album Pinkerton is considered by many to have been a huge influence on modern emo bands, Weezer isn’t really a punk band at all. Sure. some of their older material could be categorized as “alternative,” but the more recent albums fit more comfortably into the “power pop” genre, or just straight ahead “rock.”
Weezer is part of a phenomenon I like to call “punk by association.” Punk by association artists don’t necessarily make punk music, but have a lot of fans within the punk community. Thus, they tour with punk bands, get coverage in punk press and sometimes end up on punk labels. Weezer isn’t alone in this category.
Andrew W.K. is another artist who’s frequent coverage on punk sites and blogs (like this one) falls under “punk by association.” While his music can range from stadium party-rock anthems to experimental piano compositions, W.K. has done two stints on the Vans Warped Tour and his identity crisis was documented on both punk and metal blogs, though W.K.’s music is neither.
New wave pioneers Devo also get love in the punk blog-osphere and are often featured in “punk” articles and books. While some of their early songs featuring analog instruments could find a home on a punk playlist (See 1978′s Are We Not Men? We Are Devo!‘s punchy “Gut Feeling”/ “(Slap You Mammy)”), the majority of their material is…well, it’s not punk, that’s for sure. In fact, when gossip site TMZ labeled the band “punk rock” in an image earlier this year, it sparked a lively discussion on the band’s message board.
So why do self-proclaimed “punk” blogs cover these artists? Why do these artists have so many fans in the punk community? In my opinion, while Andrew W.K., Weezer and others might not have the punk sound, they definitely have the punk attitude. From Devo’s muzak album to Andrew W.K.’s solo piano improvisations to Weezer’s collaboration with Lil’ Wayne—They all make music on their own terms, critics, labels and even fans be damned. In the words of Weezer “I’mma do the things that I wanna do / I ain’t got a thing to prove to you.”