There is something so exceptionally liberating about running. No matter where you are in the world, all you need is a good pair of shoes and you are free to explore wherever your restless limbs and whims take you.
There is also something very punk rock about the sport / obsession. Maybe it is that DIY attitude as you roam the local streets, trails and / or alleys, taking the corner or direction that draws you at that point. Or maybe it’s the empowering sovereignty to choose your own route and destiny, with no walls or hindrances to contain or hold you back. Perhaps this is why running has become the passion of many musicians who wave the punk flag, resonating with those who have experienced the natural buzz and benefits of this beautifully simple exercise in their personal lives and creative.
Almost 20 years ago, I fell in love with running. I finally found therapy that not only gave me literal physical freedom, but helped me free myself from (or at least pacify) the ruthless and relentless demons of Tourette’s syndrome and depression, fortifying my then fragile sanity with more impact than any of the drugs I was. I was excited to see its parallels to punk rock, not to mention that it was the perfectly provocative and upbeat soundtrack I needed when the race got tough. But if you look back to the ’80s, that connection existed when artists like Joe Strummer shattered hedonistic, self-abusing punk stereotypes by running in the London and Paris marathons – and with a sweaty mohawk, of course. . These clichés became even more unraveled with the health-conscious Straight Edge and Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) movements sweeping a more diverse global scene, re-educating the world that punk rock was not just about party and mosh pits. . (And you’re arguably just as sweaty after a half marathon as you come out of a bustling mosh pit.)
You also see musicians such as Riley Breckinridge from the post-hardcore giants Thrice “revision”Music on his regular visits to Southern California, as well as Bad Religion guitarist Mike Dimkitch, who maintains incredibly high levels of musicianship and fitness; the 53-year-old continues to cover monumental distances of over 100 km (62 miles – he actually runs over 125 miles on tour), crossing the finish line of over 20 marathons and over 20 ultra marathons since he started in the 80’s.
“When I was frustrated with the music, I was more into the marathon,” says Dimkitch. “I was in a band, I had a recording contract… you’re really up to the superiors. But when you run, it doesn’t matter.
“It’s punk rock as long as it’s totally up to you,” he continues. “If you run a marathon, it all depends on your training, the routes you’ve taken… it’s not about certain senior executives that can influence or impact the way you do things. You’re not going to be taken out of the race because your shorts aren’t a cool color.
In the ’90s, when anarcho-punk-folk-pop became a surprise mega-hit, Chumbawamba finally got the international attention he deserved after unleashing the immortal beast that is’ Tubthumping’, the Group guitarist Boff Whalley also found solace in hitting the roads of where they were playing that day.
“It has helped my music immensely,” says Whalley, who not only spends his days roaming the hills around his Yorkshire home in the UK, but also composes music for operas, musicals and theatrical productions. . called the Commoners’ Choir. “When [Chumbawamba] started touring Europe, we spent a lot of time in vans and then buses. I discovered running in the late 1980s and immediately realized that off-road running was a great balance to spend all day in vans, then all night in places to drink. beer until 3 am. Running helps you tackle the madness of rock and roll.
Whalley is an avid hill (or fall) runner who has also written on the subject in the past – he has a new book, titled Faster! Stronger!, which is about a British punk rocker who became Britain’s top runner. He says there is something beautiful about the ethics of the individual autonomy of sport, which is also a major note in the three-chord truth of punk rock.
“When I got into punk, you didn’t have to be brilliant – all you had to think about was, ‘I wanna do this,’ and you just did. ‘ he says. “Running is like that. “
Every time I travel to a new place I have found that the best way to experience the area is to take out my runners and explore the routes available. Apparently the musicians are the same, exploring the city they were playing in at the time using their own feet. Of the many countries Bad Religion has played in since joining the group in 2013, Dimkich says one nation stands out for the best race.
“Germany,” he said after reflection. “It’s the most navigable to run because every city is built on a river and has incredible cycling infrastructure. So you have these big dirt canal paths along the river and you can run endlessly because it’s not on concrete.
“Switzerland,” Whalley says when asked the same question. “These mountains are unlike anything we have in Britain. You just look out the tour bus window and you’ll probably see a mountain and you’re like, “Great, this is where I run today and life is good. “