You don’t have to love Green Day and the Ramones to appreciate the museum’s vast collection.
Punk rock wasn’t born in Las Vegas, nor are there a slew of notable punk rock acts from Las Vegas, and yet there’s a brand-new Punk Rock Museum in Vegas, and it’s glorious.
Opened in a building off the strip earlier this year by a consortium of owners, including NOFX frontman “Fat Mike” Burkett, Pennywise guitarist Fletcher Dragge, and former Warped Tour manager Lisa Brownlee, the Punk Rock Museum aims to collect, archive, and display items from across the rock subgenre’s 50-plus year history. In room after room, visitors can gaze at handwritten lyrics, stage-worn outfits, plenty of broken up and mangled instruments, and even a couch that Kurt Cobain used to nod off on during recording sessions.
That’s not all, though. The Punk Rock Museum is a multi-faceted space catering to lovers of the music’s past and celebrants of its present. There’s a Punk Rock-themed wedding chapel on site (it is Vegas, after all), as well as a tattoo parlor, a dive bar, a merch shop, and a performance space. There’s so much to see and do inside the Punk Rock Museum that you don’t even really have to be a punk fanatic to enjoy the ride. Here’s why we think the Punk Rock Museum is a must-see Vegas attraction, no matter how much you know about the Ramones.
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You Can Tour the Museum With a Real-Life Punk Icon
One of the coolest things about the Punk Rock Museum is how much it’s pulling from the community. There are tons of cool donated items in its collection, but the museum also offers frequent guided tours of its exhibits that are hosted by punk icons. The schedule can vary because some acts only come to do one or two tours a year, but if you’re a fan of, say, The Dead Kennedys, then you’ll be stoked to note that you can hop on a tour hosted by the group’s guitarist, East Bay Ray. Other past guides have included members of Suicidal Tendencies, The Offspring, The Germs, Fishbone, Circle Jerks, The Vandals, Sick Of It All, Agnostic Front, NOFX, Rise Against, and Dillinger Four. SNL alum Fred Armisen—a veteran of punk acts himself—even stopped by the museum recently to host a few tours.
INSIDER TIPAll tour guides are listed on the museum’s website, and while a guided tour will cost you $100 a person, the experience is truly priceless.
The Museum’s Collection Takes You Through Punk’s History
While the Punk Rock Museum’s collection is still a work in progress (much of it was drawn from and inspired by its creators’ personal interests, meaning that a few bands and subgenres are underrepresented), what they do have up and on display already is impressive and wide-ranging.
In terms of displays, the museum breaks its collection into chronological order, meaning visitors will first check out bits and pieces of material from New York’s CBGB scene, like Debbie Harry’s iconic Vultures t-shirt or Johnny Thunders’ red leather jacket. From there, it’s a journey through the genre’s scenes and eras, including DC Hardcore, SoCal surf punk, and ‘90s pop punk. Fliers and pieces of memorabilia are packed into cases throughout the beautifully styled building, so the museum rewards repeat visits, as well. You never really know what you’ll see that you might have missed the first time through.
You’ll Learn How Punk Connects To Other Genres
Everyone knows punk acts like the Ramones or the Sex Pistols, but we don’t often consider how punk inspired, influenced, or even birthed acts like the B-52s, the Beastie Boys, Devo, and even Nirvana. The museum contains artifacts from all four acts, all of whom were considered to be rule-breakers and genre-benders when they first emerged.
You Can Jam Out on Gear Owned and Used by Your Favorite Acts
If you’re a musician, you will relish the Punk Rock Museum’s jam room, packed with gear and ready for all your sick riffs. The best part is that the guitars, basses, and amps in the room were owned and used by acts like NOFX, Rise Against, Pennywise, Sick Of It All, and Strung Out. That means when you’re noodling around on whatever your favorite three-chord classic is, you might be doing it on the instruments that were used in the song’s recording.