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Feature: "What Pop Punk Means To Me"

Pop Punk - A genre that originates from mixing punk rock with pop sensibility. With its origins going back as the 70's Punk Rock explosion and 80's Hardcore, Pop Punk has grown out of its DIY settings to becoming a universally accepted genre, that continues to thrive in the alternative music scene.

For many people Pop Punk has influenced them in a variety of ways. For some it led them to discover new bands and new styles of music. For others it is a gateway into letting go, having fun and influencing the lifestyle they lead and the community they're apart of.

In honour of Pop Punk Appreciation Day, here at Alter The Press we are taking the opportunity to celebrate the genre and asks a few friends what the genre means to them and their five essential bands.

Spotify Users: Listen to our "Essential Pop Punk" Playlist here.

Descendents - I'm the One
Tim Landers (Transit)
To me, it was a genre of music that I grew up on. It was the gateway style of music that really opened me up to a lot of stuff I'm into now. Like, bands like Lifetime are what got me into hardcore. When bands like Saves the Day or the Get Up Kids progressed musically with each record, I started to branch off and get into other stuff, too. It's almost like you grow up and mature with a band, or something.
Essential Bands: Lifetime, The Get Up Kids, Saves The Day, Green Day, and Descendents.

Justin Collier (Man Overboard)
To me pop punk is the music I grew up on. It's honest and it's fun. I listen to an array of music but pop punk is what reminds me of growing up and will stick with me forever.
Essential Bands: Saves The Day, New Found Glory, Blink 182, The Movielife and Taking Back Sunday.

Sam Hecht (With The Punches)
Growing up I was always into different punk and rock bands. In Elementary school, the first few records I got into were Green Days Nimrod, Blink 182's 'Dude Ranch' and The Offsprings' 'Smash'. As I grew up, a lot of my friends started trading what they liked for what was cool and that just wasn't me. In '98 I got one of the most meaningful records ever, New Found Glory's 'Nothing Gold Can Stay.' To me, Pop Punk is what drives me and has helped me through a lot of hard times. The songs we have all grown to love are very meaningful to me and always remind me that no matter what things do get better and life is what you make of it. To quote Joe Dirt: "Life is a garden, Dig it!"
Essential Bands: New Found Glory, The Movielife, Blink 182, Fireworks, and I Call Fives.

Drew Conte (I Call Fives)
Pop punk is really nostalgic for me. It means Vans and Dickies and the Warped Tour and 'Enema of the State', it reminds me of 2000 and being 12. It's a really simple thing: it's about having fun.
Essential Bands: Midtown, The Ataris, Spitalfield, Fall Out Boy and The Starting Line.

Save Your Breath
Pop Punk means a lot to us because it's what we all grew up listening too. It's an interesting blend of music to be a part of and there's a lot of different ways of expressing yourselves within pop punk songs. We've always enjoyed writing songs together and playing them live, there's always a good amount of energy to let out when you play fast paced pop punk and that's the way we have always expressed our emotions, through our songs.
Essential Bands: Blink 182, New Found Glory, Saves The Day, The Movielife and Midtown.

Taking Back Sunday - Great Romances of the 20th Century
Jesse Cannon (Producer/
I have always liked punk for it's political and ethical stances such as anti-materialism and making a soundtrack to a rebellion outside the mainstream. With that said the "pop" in pop punk has always meant that I could have the aggressive sound of punk that I enjoy while getting a catchy and emotional take on the genre. It's a way to have the anger and edge of punk while not having to be so serious and get an emotional catharsis.
Essential Bands: Screeching Weasel, Saves The Day, Say Anything, Plow United and Taking Back Sunday.

Washington Square Park
I'm pretty sure just about all of us our age (early 20s) got into pop punk with Green Day and Blink-182 in the mid-late 90s. Pop Punk was a great alternative to what was being whored out at the time: glossy pop and painful alternative rock. Pop Punk had energy and snottiness absent from the mainstream at the time, perfect for the kids smart enough to realize Bush sucked. It's still happening now, and we're really happy that kids are still getting into the same kind of music, and also using pop punk as a great gateway to find other amazing bands under the punk umbrella such as The Misfits and Fugazi. Another aspect of pop punk we love is the community - it's probably the least ostracizing of the punk subcultures which is not-so-incidentally what punk is all about.
Essential Bands: The Ramones, Blink 182, Green Day, Descendents, and NOFX.

Chase Clymer (City Lights)
Pop Punk is one of the worst names for a genre these days. The name is bad, but bands that fall into this genre are all ones that I love. I can't get enough of the power chords, punk rock beats, gang vocals and catchy hooks. Nothing goes better with a hot summer day and a cold beer than some good Pop Punk.
Essential Bands: Hit The Lights, The Wonder Years, Man Overboard, The Years Gone By, and A Loss For Words.

Freshmen 15
Pop Punk is everything to us it is the reason we got into being in a band. Its a majority of what we listen to, and the fact that its kinda making a comeback in the industry is awesome and we couldn't be more stoked.
Essential Bands: Blink 182, New Found Glory, Relient K, Rufio and NOFX.

Blink 182 - Dammit
Jake Round (Pure Noise Records)
Pop Punk is simply an extension of punk rock. I've always enjoyed fast melodic music and the ideals around it. It started for me with Fat Wreck Chords and Epitaph bands in the late 90s. Jams you could single along to, songs about being different and having fun. I liked everything about punk rock but my ears tended to learn towards the stuff easier to listen to. Don't get me wrong, I love Minor Threat, but on a happy Summer day I often prefer the NFG catalog. When it's done right, and the pop doesn't over take the punk, this is my favorite music and a huge part of who I am as a person.
Essential Bands: Lifetime, New Found Glory, Blink 182, Saves The Day and NOFX.

Chase Igliori (No Sleep Records)
Pop Punk as a whole wasn't of huge importance to my childhood. Most of the bands I loved found homes on Revelation, Sub Pop, Deep Elm, Asian Man Records. The 5 essential bands I chose may be pushing the line between punk and pop punk but hell, its close and they all were fairly important to high school me.
Essential Bands: Lifetime, Saves The Day, Jawbreaker, Alkaline Trio and The Get Up Kids.

Eric Stone (Open Your Eyes Records/FATA Booking/PeaceTones/Cloud City Syndicate)
New Found Glory's self-titled record came out my freshman year of high school and set the tone everything to come afterwards. Pop-punk was the soundtrack to every relationship, break-up, tragedy, and joy in my life from that point forward. Summers with the windows down in my '94 Ford Taurus, singing along to Through Being Cool with my friends. Friends that I still have, memories that I'll never forget. I'm extremely fortunate to still work in pop-punk to this day. I can only hope to give back what the genre - and these bands - have given to me.
Essential Bands: New Found Glory, The Descendents, Saves the Day, Blink-182 and Fall Out Boy

Sean Reid (
For me Pop Punk has always been fun and care free, its a genre that doesn't take itself too seriously. Its grown and grown and is now going in cycles; from the punk rock origins of Descendants to Green Day breaking into the mainstream with 'Dookie' to turn of the century bands like Blink-182, New Found Glory and Sum 41 eventually coming round back to its DIY ethics with bands like Man Overboard, Transit and The Wonder Years.

Primarily its what really got me into music and made me forget any problems I was having. I don't think my appreciation and love for Pop Punk will ever go away.
Essential Bands: Blink 182, New Found Glory, Man Overboard, Alkaline Trio and Green Day.

New Found Glory - Head On Collison
Adam Pfleider (
As a teenager, I didn't spend my time in front of afternoon teen dramas or face down in books that would teach me about life. Everything I needed to learn about heartbreak, dealing with parents, dealing with "the system" and overcoming - for lack of a better word - I found the answers in pop-punk, ska and straight ass-kicking punk music. in the late '90s to early 2000, a lot of the aforementioned were lumped into one general category, so I'll just stick with that for the sake of argumentative genre defining. As I look back on the bands and records that got me through those "tough times" and "bright days" of my youth and trying to "figure myself out" or "who I was," I can still look back at those bands and records ten years later and find solace in them. The following bands and albums within the "scene" - as it's generalized - were there giving me the best answers when there aren't many around to be found.
Essential Bands: Blink 182, Fenix TX, Green Day, New Found Glory and The Vandals.

Nathan Edwards (Carridale)
To me pop punk is summer. It's the music thats in the background to hanging with your best friends or your girl. It's the soundtrack to the best and worst of days. Very literally, pop punk to me means pop sensibillity with punk ethics and work habits.
Essential Bands: The Movielife, Northstar, New Found Glory, Saves The Day, and The Starting Line

The Wonder Years - Melrose Diner
Devin Beaudoin (F*ck Yeah
Pop Punk is the kind of genre that will pick you up whenever you're down, sad, or feeling alone. The simplicity of the majority of the music, but the relatable and sometimes complex lyrics will hook you in and keep you. Pop Punk has gotten me through some extremely difficult times and kept my head up when nothing else could. Going to a pop-punk show always feels like going home. Everyone is there for the same reason as you, to get stoked and have fun. At a pop-punk show, there's not usually a hardcore kid mentality and there's no judgement. This is just a short explanation as to why I love pop-punk as much as I do, and why I will support it until the day I die. Pop Punk for life.
Essential Bands: The Wonder Years, Man Overboard, Transit, Living With Lions, and With The Punches.

Christian Wagner ( Blood Management)
Pop Punk is a means of self-expression that where all you have to do is simply be yourself. It's all about having fun and releasing a ton of energy in a positive manner. Upbeat songs that are at least somewhat catchy are pretty much what do it for me. Today, Pop Punk has been so spread out that hardcore, pop, and punk bands all consider themselves to be "Pop Punk," so who knows if the term is still even relevant and correct?
Essential Bands: New Found Glory, Saves The Day, The Get Up Kids, Simple Plan and Good Charlotte.

Joe Hurst (Hang Tight Records)
EVERYTHING. Pop Punk is with you through the good times, the bad times, and the times when your air drumming on your own to that new sick band that you've found on the internet. At 1 in the morning. Waking up all your neighbours.
Essential Bands: Alistair, Home Grown, The Starting Line, LIT, and Brand New.

Bob Cooper (All Aboard Records/Producer)
Pop Punk brings people together, it reminds us that we're not the only one working that shitty dead end job, chasing that girl or just trying to get through each day. I think The Wonder Years are the torchbearer for the most recent wave of Pop Punk, take Slam Dunk 2011 for example, it was amazing to see so many people connecting with one basic idea. I've met so many good friends through going to Pop Punk shows or putting out CDs, it just rules.
Essential Bands: The Wonder Years, Basement, Maycomb, Starters, and New Found Glory.

Next Stop Atlanta

James Carpenter (Neck Deep Records/Demented Promotions)
Pop Punk to me is about community. It's about knowing that whether I'm in Dublin, London or New York, I'm probably going to have a floor to crash on. I think a warm bed is the common currency between people involved in pop punk, or any DIY movement for that matter. Most people get involved, so they know what its like to tour, or to be in another country and not know anyone, yet still have people care enough to show you around, feed you, and just generally be a good dude.
Essential Bands: Driveway, Transit, Starters, Such Gold and Fireworks.

Mikey (The JV Allstars)
Pop Punk is adolescence, growing up, realizing that nu-metal is awful. No matter what I will ever play or listen to, I always keep bumping back into it. It is a breath of fresh air.
Essential Bands: Blink 182, Home Grown, MXPX, Goldfinger and A New Found Glory (Yes, back when they had an 'A' at the beginning of their name.)

The Get Up Kids - Action and Action
Keir O'Donnell (Wolves At Heart)
Pop Punk strikes the balance between music that has meaning and music that is fun to listen to. It's immediate, it's relatable and at it's best it's honest. The strong community of bands and fans that has formed around pop punk is a testament to how universal this type of music is. The songs are usually simple and the people writing this type of music are usually regular people just trying to get by. I think the label pop punk has come to mean something other than just bands who like blink-182 or New Found Glory, and more to do with the community that has formed around this type of music that helps everyone get through their days a bit better, at least that's why it's important to me.
Essential Bands: New Found Glory, The Get Up Kids, Saves The Day, The Movielife and Yellowcard.

Chantelle Kiki Goodchild (
For me pop punk is my best friend - It's there for me when no one else is; It doesn't judge me; it cheers me up when I feel like giving up and it makes me smile thinking of fun memories I've made listening to it. I've been a pop punk fan since I was a youngster and it's always inspired me to get out and see the world and meet new people through going to shows. Not much will ever mean more to me.
Essential Bands: Midtown, New Found Glory, Fireworks, Saves The Day, and Dashboard Confessional.

Words by Sean Reid

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