THE PUNK HEART PROJECT

1. Is inherently wounded.

2. Questions even the most simplest of thoughts.

3. Is angry, but not from Hate, but from Love.

4. Understands the need for a place called home, but never wants to be there… for too long.

5. Likes to be alone, but needs to express their compassion towards others, and this drives them completely crazy.

6. Understands that music is a necessary component for living a fulfilling life, but knows that music is not life itself.

7. Sometimes wishes that life was as simple as a well-constructed three chord song.

8. All too often wants to burn it all down, but then realizes it is not qualified to rebuild it.

9. Wants to learn to be good at everything… so it can burn it all down.

10. Like a good buddhist teacher, hangs out by the door of enlightenment, but never goes in. What the fuck is one suppose to do with enlightenment? The Punk Heart needs to feel its own blood pumping, or else it doesn’t know that it is still beating, that it is still keeping itself alive.

ABOUT

While Jughead was having dinner with a friend, she asked him what was punk.  Normally he hates this question because it is complicated and varies from person to person and band to band.  After some silence, he said, “The Punk Heart is inherently wounded.”  And then his friend Mary said, “Well, Now you HAVE to explain what that means.”  He gave a few examples and then she encouraged him to write them down.  The goal was to really analyze himself honestly and to hope that his answers to the question could be shared by others.  Then he asked his friend, Paul Russel, to create an image to go with the words.  Paul and Jughead have been working together for years and years, and it made sense that the two of them would create a piece of art together that meant something to both of them.

The result was an endearing image that reflected John’s words–a stigmata etched into a hand, wounded and bleeding.  After getting some positive feedback from friends and fans, John decided to offer the design as a package for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going toward mental health programs in the Chicagoland area. The idea is to help others who have been wounded by life and circumstance–to use the punk ethos to make a difference in the lives of wounded people. John then approached Chris from Sound’s Rad! who jumped at the idea based on the notion that helping others is not only good karma but an expression of sound values. 

As John states,  “I always have the instinct to donate money out of my incomes, but the reality is, that I don’t trust myself to actually get it done, to achieve that last step of writing the check and sending it.  You see, I don’t make a lot of money, in general, and once cash is in my hands I find ways I have to spend it.  So in this case I feel more confident in making this particular donation happen because Christopher is an upstanding citizen of the world and he will deduct the percentage to be donated before the royalties reach my grubby fingertips.  And since people of his ilk consider me an underground “legend” I can use that pressure to get him to do something I, myself, am incapable of following through to the end.

The reason I chose mental health as the cause to receive this 20 percent, is because it is relevant to what this specific prose writing speaks of.  I do believe the punk heart is inherently wounded, and I’d even go so far as to say most hearts are inherently wounded, or at least the ones I find dear to me.  I feel a bit of insanity or imbalance is the home of creativity and uniqueness.  What is interesting to me is not the folks that try to be different but the ones who struggle to be like everyone else but just can’t seem to escape their own eccentricities.  In them, eventually, something in this struggle in the self begins to make sense and then one is able to incorporate this, off kilter sense of the world, into the vision of themselves in a more positive light.  But not all people can achieve this, some damage is too deep.  The difficulty is how to live with oneself and others, before and after these self realizations.  There are mental health issues that arise from both nature and nurture, and the space is so gray in between that it doesn’t seem a bad cause to throw money at.  Are there actually incurables in the world?  I don’t know, but I’d like to pay people to try to help alleviate the overwhelming symptoms some people have to live through in order to try to be themselves.  At the end of the day I would like to say I have done something to help soothe and take control of the pains our own brains can cause us.  

Paul Russel gave me some notes on this explanation, but ultimately wanted me to leave it the same, knowing that I tend to speak more poetically and he speaks more literally in reference to issues such as mental illness.  I feel his comment here is valid, so I am adding it at the end: “technically mental health problems are not so much identity issues, eccentricities, or an inherent woundedness, but actual highly complex illnesses and syndromes within the brain.”

I told Paul that I was concerned with that not being made clear too, but that in the writing I tried to choose words that are aware of the vastness and seriousness of mental illnesses, but ultimately I thought he was right, so I decided to incorporate his words.