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The Five Stages of Hardcore Retirement Planning

THE SCENE, Hard. — Too many people think of hardcore retirement as a problem for people in their 30s and 40s. The truth is, the earlier you start planning your hardcore retirement, the better. The last thing you want is to be the 50-year-old forgetting his band’s lyrics and getting winded half way through the first song. We don’t want anything like that to happen to you, so here is The Hard Times’ “Guide to Hardcore Retirement Planning” in five stages.

 Stage 1: Ages 12-14

  • Be productive; don’t just sit back and observe what’s going on around you. Make a zine, record a demo, or start some online drama.
  • Start making a name for yourself in the scene. Literally, just make up a name for yourself. Something like “Pitz”, “Tik-Tack” or even “Slimey” will work fine.
  • Don’t let anyone see you get dropped off at shows by Mom. Tik-Tack gets to shows on his own.


Stage 2: Ages 15-17

  • Start forming lasting relationships. These people will most likely be your friends for the entirety of the next three years.
  • Plan ahead; take time to think about when you want to retire from hardcore. Notice the people around you who are still trying desperately to hold on.


Stage 3: Ages 18-25

  • These are the years you can be most productive; make the most of it. Take your band on tour, become a roadie for your friend’s band, get a real tattoo.
  • Do not let higher education or an indie-rock side project get in your way. These things have no meaning in hardcore.
  • Consider your parents’ basement. This is most likely a rent-free place to stay and usually has a separate entrance away from the rest of the house, so it’s practically its own place.


Stage 4: Ages 26-32

  • Save up as much scene credibility as possible. You are probably noticing a lot more younger people at shows now. Book their bands and hook them up when you can, but do it in a “Yeah, aren’t you glad you know me?” type of way. Remember, you run shit.
  • At one time, you could easily retire at this point in your hardcore career, but times have changed. You need to make your mark so nobody forgets you. Give as many interviews as possible to anyone who will listen.
  • Get the band back together. Sure, you broke up when everyone broke edge five years ago, but people still remember that one good song you had and (kinda) want to hear it again.
  • Start planning for the inevitable career paths of tattoo artist, bartender or (most likely) barber.

 Related: 5 Tax Write Offs Most Crust Punks Miss

Stage 5: Age 33+

  • Delay your retirement as much as possible. The more time you spend playing in part-time “members of” hardcore bands, the more respect you will garner from the younger generation.
  • Be careful, you can’t go off like you used to. The last thing you need is a back injury because you tried a front flip off a monitor. Instead, try standing in the back, knowingly. Or, if that doesn’t work, develop knee problems and leave every show early.
  • Try to validate your existence in the scene as abrasively as possible; consider contributing for MRR.
  • Make believe. Try to pretend having a wife and child is more fun than having no responsibilities and hanging with your friends all the time.


Article by The Hard Times Staff. Picture by Matt Pike.

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  1. Terry Gotham January 15, 2015

    Reblogged this on Terry Gotham and commented:
    For all my Hardcore fans out there. This is a little more on the side of the older readers of my blog, but this is a fantastic description of scene-ster shit in general 😀

  2. Derrick January 15, 2015

    This article literally exudes sadness.

  3. Tommi January 15, 2015

    Funny. Got back in the band at 38. Now 47 and keepin on keepin on. So what? you say. Nothing. Just no retirement plans whatsoever.

  4. Jason Miller January 16, 2015

    Too funny. I see and deal with people like this a lot (we all do, and it’s by no means limited to punk & hXc “kids”). We all age, some less gracefully than others.

    My “retirement” happened long ago. And no need to pretend: at this point, I really do prefer being Dad to being a rocker. Best of all though, as I’ve learned from some of my elder peers, the two don’t always have to be mutually exclusive.

  5. Jim Russo January 18, 2015

    The best way to finance your hardcore retirement is to publish one of those lucrative “punk memoirs” in which you regale the reader with wistful I-Was-There tales of “The Scene…back in the day” –like buying a Dead Milkmen album at Sam Goody’s in the mall and all the legendary shows you went to that had 12 twelve people… and while you’re at it make it a “coffee-table” sized edition so you can up the cover price…

  6. Jimmy G January 18, 2015

    You guys are so fucking funny I love this! Wait… I live this!!!

  7. Tony Janrio January 18, 2015

    I tried to like this site but you guys try too hard to be like The Onion but you need better writers. What could’ve been funny just comes off as boring. Why not write something about how so many “hardcore kids” are into Morrissey or how there is such a glut of shitty bands with terrible names like Title Fight or Code Orange Kids? Or the rise and fall of that shitty band Trash Talk and how Joe Hardcore hates them? Or how John Joseph became the Guy Fieri of NYHC? Come on, bros! Step your game up!

  8. Jim Russo January 18, 2015

    What’s wrong with trying to be like The Onion–introducing the same sense of parody and satire into the realm of punk rock? Is it so sacred an entity that one has to have a religious extremist hold of it? I would certainly welcome any lampooning of the above mentioned subjects…punk rock is like any other entity–full of merits and full of plenty of things to be ridiculed…especially for those of us that have been around it since the late 1970’s–those who have seen it change so much–the good and the bad…

  9. Tony Janrio January 18, 2015

    I would love it if they were MORE like The Onion! Nothing wrong with it, I just want to see more sacred cows skewered. So much bullshit and so much seriousness abounds these days. Maybe get Paul Bearer to write some of this shit?

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