50 Punk Quotes Celebrating Revolutionaries, Riots and Resisters

Wake up your inner rocker with our punk quotes.

As a genre, punk rock revolutionized how people express themselves.

Check out our punk quotes below to learn more. 

What is punk?

Punk rock, or punk, is a genre of music that arrived in the mid-seventies. 

Previous generations influence all musical genres, and punk is no different. 

Much of punk is influenced by garage rock that emerged in the sixties. 

Punk rock songs are traditionally short, fast-paced with hard-edged vocals and melodies. 

Check out these punk facts below:

  • Much of punk music is about rebellion against societal norms. 
  • Many punk songs protest governmental corruption, injustice, or unfairness. 
  • Punk is a DIY or Do It Yourself genre that encourages people to achieve goals themselves. 

Who created punk music?

When asking who originated a genre, we rarely get a cut-and-dry answer. 

Punk rock started in London in the 1970s, but many argue that it began simultaneously in New York City. 

In Britain, bands such as The Clash, The Damned, The Sex Pistols, and The Buzzcocks transformed catchy folk music melodies with garage and hard rock, and sometimes even reggae on the streets of London. 

At the same time, in The United States, acts such as The Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith, and Television were creating new sounds and culture in iconic venues such as CBGB or the Bowery in Manhattan. 

What are the elements of punk music?

Punk can mean many things ranging from mindset, language, fashion, tastes, and even attraction. 

Traditionally, punk is a genre that is nonconformist in nature. 

Punk rock encourages people to be independent, take risks, and believe in themselves. 

The genre also serves as a platform for those who dissent or disagree with societal norms. 

Many fans are drawn to punk music out of a desire to see their conditions change. 

Today, punk is a worldwide mainstream genre with several sub-genres. 

Green Day is a punk band that reached multi-platinum status and global recognition. 

Their mainstream success marked the arrival of punk as a genre to be contended with. 

Check out our punk quotes below to learn more. 

Short punk quotes about how punk is a way of life

Punk is a mindset, culture, and genre of art. 

For many, it is a way of life. 

1. “Punk is like looking at a mirror.” — John Lydon

2. “I do what I want – I’m punk rock.” — Michael Clifford

3. “Punk to me was a form of free speech.” — Greil Marcus

4. “A lot of punk rock is not going to be in the mainstream.” — Billie Joe Armstrong

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5. “Punk rock has become another viable art form. It always was.” — Tre Cool

6. “When punk rock happened, it created an opening in the culture.” — Kim Gordon

7. “Punk has always been about doing things your own way.” — Billie Joe Armstrong

8. “Punk rock was the tsunami that threatened to drown us all in 1977.” — Pete Townshend

9. “Where there is young people and vitality, you’re going to find punk rock.” — Henry Rollins

10. “Punk rock is very rebellious, of course, but it also means thinking for yourself.” — Dexter Holland

The top punk quotes about rebellion and acceptance

Punk is an inclusive culture that promotes freedom of expression. 

11. “In a country of lost souls, rebellion comes hard.” — Stevo, SLC Punk!

12. “Punk rock has never really had much patience with musical virtuosity.” — James Surowiecki

13. “I don’t think punk ever really dies, because punk rock attitude can never die.” — Billy Idol

14. “Punk rock should mean freedom, liking and excepting anything that you like.” Kurt Cobain

15. “Music never leaves you alone, and punk rock will always be there when nothing else will.” — Pete Wentz

16. “Actually, it’d be more accurate to say that for most of its history, punk has been actively hostile to virtuosity.” — James Surowiecki

17. “Punk rock isn’t something you grow out of. Punk rock is an attitude, and the essence of that attitude is ‘give us some truth.’” — Joe Strummer

18. “It’s hard to realize you can have any kind of relationship with God you want, and so I now have a punk rock relationship with God.” — Billy Corgan

19. “The thing about punk is that there are purists. Once you start going outside of that, they don’t think what you’re doing is punk rock.” — Billie Joe Armstrong

20. “To me, punk rock is the freedom to create, freedom to be successful, freedom to not be successful, freedom to be who you are. It’s freedom.” — Patti Smith

The best classic punk lyrics and quotes

Below we have a selection of some of the most iconic lyrics from classic punk songs. 

21. “Too chicken to even try it.” — The Clash, White Riot

22. “Pulsating to the back beat, the Blitzkrieg bop.” — Ramones, Blitzkrieg Bop

23. “I heard you crying loud, all the way across town.” — Green Day, When I Come Around

24. “All the power’s in the hands of people rich enough to buy it.” — Sex Pistols, God Save The Queen

25. “I want to take you through a wasteland I like to call my home.”  — Green Day, Welcome To Paradise

26. “I don’t need to be a global citizen ‘Cause I’m blessed by nationality.” — Bad Religion, American Jesus

27. “I can’t seem to face up to the facts, I’m tense and nervous, and I can’t relax.” — Talking Heads, Psycho Killer

28. “Don’t wanna be an American idiot, don’t want a nation under the new media. “— Green Day, American Idiot

29. “London calling to the faraway towns, now war is declared, and battle come down.” — The Clash, London Calling

30. “Efficiency and progress is ours once more now that we have the neutron bomb.” — Dead Kennedys, Kill The Poor

Famous punk quotes about music and expression

Punk provides a platform for those who feel unheard. 

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31. “Punk is not just the sound, the music. Punk is a lifestyle.” — Billie Joe Armstrong 

32. “All you care about is how punk rock you feel when you wake up in the morning.” — Lady Gaga 

33. “Punk music is perfect for me because I`m not, like, a master at any instrument.” — James Paxton 

34. “Play before you get good, because, by the time you get good, you`re too old to play.” — Joey Ramone 

35. “Music is music; you can`t change rock and say, well, this is punk rock, and this is acid rock or rockabilly.” — Chuck Berry 

36. “Because the only thing that punk rock should ever really mean, is not sitting round and waiting for the lights to go green.” — Frank Turner 

37. “Punk rock seems like my childhood, the glorious, very exciting naivete of rock n roll. Stenguns and guitars seem very idealistic when you`re twenty.” — Tony James 

38. “Punk is the way of those who are unable to express themselves, but they aren`t dangerous; at worst, they may kill their audience.” — Mike Oldfield 

39. “I dropped out of high school, and I couldn’t go to college ’cause I wasn’t smart enough, so I’d resigned myself to loading trucks and playing punk rock on the weekends.” — Dave Grohl

40. “Punk rock is a word used by dilettantes and heartless manipulators about music that takes up the energies, the bodies, the hearts, the souls, the time, and the minds of young men who give everything they have to it.” — Iggy Pop

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Punk quotes and sayings about life and attitude

Punk is more than music; it is a mindset. 

41. “The future of punk rock has nothing to do with guitars.” — Geoff Rickly 

42. “Punk was defined by an attitude rather than a musical style.” — David Byrne 

43. “Punk was more a kind of doit yourself, anyone can do it attitude.” — David Byrne 

44. “Rap music is the only vital form of music introduced since punk rock.” — Kurt Cobain 

45. “Punk is not really a style of music. It was more like a state of mind.” — Mike Watt 

46. “Country music is completely punk rock. It`s the original punk rock.” — Neko Case 

47. “I can play punk rock, and I love playing punk rock, but I was into every other style of music before I played punk rock.” — Travis Barker 

48. “Punk was more based on social change than on music, so it didn`t bother me too much. It wasn`t really a musical threat.” — Steve Winwood 

49. “Punk is no longer a subculture or a counterculture in any way. It`s totally just a small reflecting mirror for the same things that go on in larger culture.” — Geoff Rickly 

50. “Noise has taken the place of punk rock. People who play noise have no real aspirations to being part of the mainstream culture. Punk has been co-opted, and this subterranean noise music and the avant-garde folk scene have replaced it” — Thurston Moore 

Who is the greatest punk band ever?

Asking the above question is like asking who is the best rapper ever. 

You will get varied responses, and the metrics of how you get to the best will always differ.

People find different values in art. 

For some, nostalgia can outweigh longevity. 

For others, quality of work is everything; still, others look to aesthetics as their measure. 

When people bring up the title of best punk band of all time, names such as The Clash, The Ramones, Bad Brains, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, or The Sex Pistols enter the conversation. 

However, a recent Rolling Stone magazine reader’s poll voted Green Day as the greatest punk band of all time. 

The members of Green Day would probably disagree with the outcome, but we cannot argue the results. 

Who is your favorite punk band of all time?

Be sure to let us know in the comments section below. 

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