Within punk (in its various iterations) ‘a rebellious sense of social deviance has remained a central subcultural ideology, rooted in punk’s loud and disorderly musicality’. 1 This musicality, or admittedly at times the ‘deliberate’ lack thereof, is often the focus of studies on punk. Studies of punk that focus on the music are correct in that it is a key part of the subculture; it is a focal point – that which we gather around. In a very literal sense, the music is what punks gather in large groups to listen to as it is played live, and what they literally crawl over one another to join in with and be a part of: 2
Being straightedge is being part of a group (physically or mentally). The vast majority of that group of kids got into straightedge by listening to a certain type of music.(Nate, USA) Straight Edge bands are typically ensconced within hardcore punk, which is premised upon being faster, heavier, thicker and louder than traditional 3-chord punk music. While bands from the 1980s and 1990s USA scenes are the more well known, Straight Edge music is by no means limited to those years or locations. As Haenfler notes, Straight Edge is a worldwide movement with adherents measuring in the tens of thousands (approximately), thus we find bands today in Japan, the UK, Australia, Northern Europe, Sweden, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, Chile and Columbia. 3 It is the music and the message it conveys that forms these communities or scenes, and indeed perhaps the global (imagined) community of Straight Edge.