Punk rock is known for its anti-establishment lyrics and themes, and with that comes colorful musicians who aren’t shy to say what they believe. Music wouldn’t be quite as dangerous without punk rock, and for that, we’re forever indebted to bands like the Ramones, the Sex Pistols and the Clash, who laid down a fierce foundation for the next generation of musical rabble-rousers. Read on for 10 Riotous Punk Rockers who helped make popular music as unpredictable and youth-fueled as possible.

Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols on staying young forever, as told to The-Talks.com:

Sex Pistols

“I’m still getting in trouble and I still act like a silly kid. I don’t want to grow up. I like being childish, I do, because I don’t like what adults do to this world. I like what kids come up with, I don’t like what adults create.”


Joey Ramone on being in the Ramones for a decade, as told to Smokebox.net:


“You just have got to be lucky. You come upon a certain type of music and all of the sudden you realize it's something a little bit different than what everybody else is doing. Then you just work hard and long. It’s hard work and trying your best not to compromise to any outside pressure. Try and keep doing what you really believe in. Compromise as little as possible. You gotta fight it as much as you can.”


Joe Strummer of the Clash on the pressures of having an influence on so many people’s lives, as told to Punk Magazine:

The Clash

“Yeah, all those things, responsibility, pressure. It’s a bit stressful. I try and come to terms with it by not thinking about it. It is dangerous not to know your position in the world; i.e., your position with respect to the relationship between your work and what you do and the real world. I like to keep my feet on the ground, so I denigrate it a bit so that I’m not floating off in a cloud of self-congratulation which is an alien thing to do if you’re trying to write or play music, although having self-confidence is good. There’s got to be a limit to it. You cannot float away patting yourself on the back. Anyway, it's a long time ago. It’s almost someone else’s history.”


Iggy Pop on the reunion of the original Stooges in 2003, as told to Clash Music:


“Yeah, it was very, very emotional. I was often in tears as we did well. Even talking to you about it now, it’s coming up in my chest and I have to push it down; I get a little choked up. Because we finally gained... We did the things that we had never done, and in fact we did them for large sums of money! Everybody did all those things that we say inferior people do when we were kids: everybody bought houses and cars... I had a good girlfriend, but they got good girlfriends. (Laughs) Or, they got the girlfriends they wanted, which is different to having a good one! (Laughs) But yeah, we were playing and we were sounding really bloody … good, and we got to the point where we could headline a small festival, we could support on a large one, and we could do our own shows anywhere in the world from 1,500 to 7,500 people.”


Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks on writing lyrics that discuss romance, alienation and anxiety years later, as told to Pitchfork.com:


“I suppose it’s mellowed. The songs, a lot of them, I wrote as circumstances demanded. They’re putting forward a point of view that I don’t necessarily believe in. It’s almost like the history of philosophy, where you study ideas which are not necessarily right, but by finding out why they're not right, you can go on to find out new ideas…”


Greg Ginn of Black Flag on fans wanting to hear songs that are 25-plus years old, as told to the LA Weekly:

Black Flag

“It doesn’t frustrate me because it doesn’t surprise me. I just look at it as boring. I’m not big on judging people. I don’t say ‘why aren’t you blah blah blah?’ That’s their business. I just do my thing. It’s not terribly surprising. My peers would tell me that Black Flag sounded like Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath. They thought it was old music because they couldn’t hear it. I learned very early on that you can't bring people into the future. A lot of people, their only reference to what I'm doing is Can or Kraftwerk. I’m inspired by stuff I heard last week.”


Mike Ness on Social Distortion’s sound, as told to MusicPix.net :

Social Distortion

“I’ve always described Social Distortion as starting out as a punk band, but along the way, we grabbed everything we could, from American roots music, and incorporated it into our sound because I saw a connection from that kind of music through punk…being working class music. And music being of rebellion and revolution, I saw the connection of punk music going all the way back to the 20s—the depression era, blues, jazz, rockabilly, country…all that stuff. In other words, I grew up with the Beatles and the Stones and then I heard the Pistols.”


Bill Stevenson on how the Descendents decide what gigs to take these days, as told to TimeOut.com:

The Descendents

“We go through periods of just blatant inactivity, and then we fairly whimsically just decide to start doing some shows. But because of the logistics of getting the four of us together, we seem to have bettter luck doing little weekends. You know, several of us have, quote, ‘real jobs’—Milo’s job being very, very real, he’s a biochemist at DuPont. And I guess in a way my day job, as it were, has become fairly real. I seem to have begun to lean on record producing quite a bit, although I still definitely do my fair share of drumming and songwriting. And so you throw those jobs into a pot of logistic stew along with everyone having wives and families and also the fact that we live in three different states... The bottom line is, we just get together whenever it's convenient for all of us, and as long as we continue to do it that way, then it’s always fun.”


Debbie Harry of Blondie on realizing legendary New York City hardcore and punk rock venue CBGB closed, as told to Pitchfork.com:


“It was sad. We played the next to last night, on a Saturday-- it closed on a Sunday. I didn’t think it would be that sad… It wasn't like I was hanging out there every night of the week, but occasionally there would be something or somebody I wanted to see. Then to realize it’s gone…”


Tim Armstrong on his friendship with Lars Frederiksen in Rancid, as told to A.V. Club:


“ … We’ve always put the weight on the friendship [and] being able to communicate with each other and not rushing the process. When we feel it’s time to do something, we do it. We don’t go, ‘They’re saying it’s time for us to do this, so now we have to do it.’ The secret is not succumbing to the pressures from anybody else. We’ve just always done our own thing because that’s what we’re accustomed to do.”