Downtown’s newest addition: The Punk Rock Museum

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Graphic by Kayla Roberts.

On the evening of March 25 at The Dive Bar, down the road from UNLV on Maryland Parkway, a new band took the stage. It was a supergroup, The Codefendants, consisting of musician Ceschi, two members of a band called Get Dead and the soon-to-be ex-bassist of NOFX “Fat Mike” Burkett.

They were promoting their new album “This Is Crime Wave,” a blend of punk and hip-hop styles performed on stage with a projector showcasing graffiti artists from the Las Vegas area. The performance was a homage to the two styles.

But aside from the high-octane performance, Fat Mike announced something else just as magnetic: the opening of a punk rock museum.

Located on Western Avenue minutes from the Arts District, The Punk Rock Museum opened its doors on April 1, welcoming patrons to a showcase of the storied cultural legacy of this rebellious genre of music that is 50 years in the making.

Going through the exhibition, visitors are met with a variety of artifacts ranging from portraits of famous creators with quotes to the instruments the artists used. 

Also on display are worn leather jackets and other clothes, setlists, handwritten lyrics, mixtapes and visual art of various mediums, including old show flyers that are showcased throughout. Guided tours are also available, provided by genre royalty like Don Bolles of The Germs and Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman of The Offspring to name a few. 

The building also contains a number of other attractions. On the ground floor before the museum entrance and to the right of the giftshop lies The Triple Down, the in-house bar that is a collaboration with P Moss, owner of The Double Down Saloon. At the bar, patrons can select from a number of drink options with a fan favorite choice being the Fletcher: rum and coke served in a Pringles can, with the Pringle’s served up on the side.

A staircase by the bar leads to another level of the museum, where patrons will find a tattoo parlor, a wedding chapel and the jam room. 

The jam room is full of amplifiers and chairs allowing visitors to play the instruments used by Rise Against, NOFX, Pennywise, Sick of it All, Strung Out and many more. 

“Punk rock is not respected in the music industry, however, it doesn’t need or want that respect. Punk rock wants a place where any punk rocker from around the world can go and feel like they belong to something bigger,” Burkett said. He describes the museum as a “church of punk rock.” 

James McIntosh, professor of rock music history at UNLV commented on the seemingly antithetical position of the museum regarding its genre, “Since it is an institution you have to pay for, that does seem a little strange.”

Still, McIntosh shared his insights on the genre as a whole, saying, “I’m into the older stuff from the beginning like Iggy and The Stooges, but haven’t really kept up with it since it has become more commercial. And also I’m more of a jazz guy. It used to be a lot more exclusive, it would just mean more to people then. I think it [punk music] has had an effect on our culture, though to what degree I can’t say for sure.”The museum is open seven days a week from noon to 10 p.m. For tour dates and general information, check out the museum’s website.

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