The Punk Rock Museum, a 12,000 square foot ode to music and the anti-establishment movement, opens in downtown Las Vegas on January 13, 2023. NOFX frontman Mike “Fat Mike” Burkett leads its governing collective of ten musicians and industry professionals, which also includes guitarist and co-founder of The Germs Pat Smear, skateboarder Tony Hawk and drummer Vinnie Fiorello of Less Than Jake. “We are here to document and celebrate punk rock music of the past, present and future,” Fiorello told Artnet News.
The museum is the only one dedicated to punk in America. New York City has hosted pop-up exhibits, and the LA Punk Museum, which opened in 2012, is now permanently closed.
And although NOFX announced in September that they would be disbanding next year, when the band officially turns 40, Burkett’s idea for the Punk Rock Museum took root years ago, according to twirl magazine, when he imagined a little treasure display in a punk rock store.
Fiorello told Artnet News via email that the Fat Mike idea escalated quickly, within a week, working with music tour producer Lisa Brownlee. Their collective takes shape shortly after.
fat mike said twirl that the museum will now house relics of any punk band that has ever existed, anywhere in the world. “We want people to come from Indonesia and see their band’s flyer on the wall,” he said.
Featured items already featured on the museum’s website include a pinned and patched leather jacket that once belonged to hardcore band Iron Cross founder Seb Grey, and a disturbing alien mask that Alex Pardee wore for The Used’s Lies for tour. the Liars. Other artifacts cited by twirl include Debbie Harry’s Vultures shirt, Devo’s energy dome helmets and an essential acoustic guitar from Rise Against the Machine.
In a gallery, where visitors can play the real guitars and basses used by punk legends, as well as the amps they took on tour, embody the underlying philosophy of the genre. “A lot of people ask, ‘What happens if something breaks? “,” reads the museum’s website. “The simple answer, we fix it, just like we did on tour.”
“Punk rock has been a driving force in design, fashion and culture, so being true to the creative energy of punk is one of the easiest things to do,” Fiorello wrote.
The choice to locate the museum in Las Vegas, said Fiorello, was because the city combines affordable real estate with many potential visitors; a city government summary reports that more than 3 million people have traveled there since the start of 2022 alone.
Vegas is also home to punk collectives, like the anonymous street art activist group INDECLINE. A member of this crew created the iconic wheel of misfortune in an abandoned mining facility not far from the city strip.
And will this new “punk rock church” hold its services? “It all depends on how you worship,” Fiorello replied. The museum’s Triple Down bar will serve hot beers and host “vigils and weddings.” They will have a tattoo shop on site. Live music has not yet been discussed, but it is possible.
One thing is clear, and that is that the museum will proselytize through participation, perhaps transmuting a lingering stigma around the word “punk” into an understanding of its true definition: learning by breaking, building, playing.
“I think the big misunderstanding comes from not knowing how much punk has influenced popular culture for decades,” Fiorello said. “Seeing the roots of the punk movement, and then looking at what it becomes, you realize how deeply it is woven into design, art, music, fashion.”
Seven pre-sale ticket packages for the museum, decorated with appropriate punk rock names, are on sale now.
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