Bleeding Heart Baby

B-Sides cuts right to the Heartless Bastards, intellectualizes Hayseed Dixie and dissects the anatomy of the common punk rocker

The male punk-rocker, while outwardly flamboyant and intimidating, is a creature wrapped in mystery. To the outside world, his dress may appear to indicate antisocial behavior or desperate cries for attention. But as those who move within his realm know, there are more subtle innuendos brewing just beneath his flashy surface. Using New York punk fashionistas the Casualties as code, B-Sides was able to decipher some of the trickier meanings behind the male punk's attire.

The Hair
The height of the young male punk's hairdo, be it liberty spikes or Mohawk, is much like the middle-aged man's Corvette. The hair's height is said to bolster the ego, making up for something else lacking in their lives (like employment, perhaps). The color of the male's hair is meant to signal the female of the species. The brighter the hair, the more virile the male. For instance, lead singer Jorge's signature bright-red spikes indicate a healthy libido shelved inside a vulnerable man, as the crooning in "Punk Rock Love" proves.

The Outfit
For a male punk to take the stage sporting his own band's T-shirt is a sin of vanity. However, it is OK to coerce other bands into wearing one's own shirts, as the Casualties do in their new DVD, Can't Stop Us, when they run into the lead singer from the UK Subs. (It is a sign of dedication, though, if a male punk has a tattoo of his band's logo, as guitarist Jake does.)

Tight pants work double-duty for the male punk. Not only do they wick away perspiration during sweaty performances, but the pants also accentuate the male punks' typically emaciated bodies — thereby eliciting a more nurturing response from the often-hostile female punks.

Studded vests and jackets serve as both armor and bragging rights. Each stud actually represents every drunken brawl a punk got into before he turned eighteen. Any male punk under this age wearing a meticulously studded jacket has actually foregone the DIY punk work ethic and had either his mother or girlfriend do it for him.

Accessories
In the early days of Sid and Nancy, the padlock necklace that both Jake and drummer Meggers wear meant a male punk was taken. Nowadays there is no such thing as a touring male punk who is not available for a fling.

The meaning behind the multiple belts a male punk dons has been hotly contested, but most often they correlate with the number of successful bands a member has toured with. For the many bands that can be classified as unsuccessful (i.e., ones that still haven't done a stint on the Warped Tour), a belt is earned for each year committed to the band. Bullet belts signify seniority within the band — like Jorge's, since he is the only original member left in the Casualties. — Andrea Noble
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 5. Pop's, 1403 Mississippi Avenue, Sauget, Illinois. $13.50 to $15. 618-274-6720.

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