Quan Nguyen with his hero Tom DeLonge.
  • Quan Nguyen with his hero Tom DeLonge.
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Quan Nguyen recently found two new members to play in his fledgling pop-punk band, Cinematic Century. It wasn’t as easy of a search as he had anticipated.

“It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be, actually. You would think that being in Poway/San Diego where the current state of pop-punk was really solidified — you would think it would be easy to find other people who are into the same music we are. Before going into this, I would have thought finding a bassist or a drummer would have been a lot harder. But it turns out finding a guitarist is a lot harder for us.”

Nguyen has been interested in pop-punk since he discovered Green Day’s American Idiot when he was 12 years old. The album begat a love affair with pop-punk music that eventually lead him to Blink-182, his favorite band. He has a tattoo of the Blink-182 smiley-face logo on his forearm, his Facebook profile picture is a shot of him with former Blink-182 singer/guitarist Tom Delonge, and he has even set-up camp in their hometown — Poway.

“Remember that Blink-182 song 'Josie'? How they talk about eating at Sombrero? I live, like, five minutes from there. I eat there all the time. In the bathroom, there’s Blink-182 graffiti all over the place.”

While Nguyen’s devotion to the genre has remained strong, the overall numbers have been dropping. After 24 summers, the Vans Warped Tour (which prominently featured punk, metal and emo acts) shut down operations this year, and even local punk stronghold SOMA is changing its format to accommodate the kids who are more interested in hip-hop. The question now becomes whether or not pop-punk should be placed on the endangered-genre list.

“Just because the genre’s not in the forefront of the mainstream right now doesn’t necessarily mean it’s dead,” Nguyen explained. “The Warped Tour ended early this year. A lot of bands had attendance totally decrease at their shows this year, but there are still a lot of bands metaphorically carrying the torch. Now it just seems like pop-punk is returning to the underground ethic that made punk famous in the first place.”

Nguyen mentioned Welsh, pop-punk band Neck Deep’s album The Peace and the Panic reaching number four on the Billboard 200 chart as a sign of life for the genre. He also has hope for the kids that are still showing-up at the concerts. Some come with their parents, some come on their own.

“I think that it could be time for a revival for the whole genre. I’ve been to both smaller pop-punk shows and bigger ones, like Blink-182 and Green Day. I still see a lot of kids that are younger than me who are really into the music. The kids are inspired to pick up a guitar and start their own band.”

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