Yoga teacher Eddie Stern during his punk years.
Eddie Stern during his punk years. (Photo: Sandy Rower)

The Punk Music That Put Eddie Stern on a Spiritual Path

The New York–based Ashtanga yoga teacher shares a playlist of songs that defined a pivotal moment in his life.
By Tiffany Jow
July 17, 2021
3 minute read

Before he began practicing and teaching Ashtanga yoga, New York native Eddie Stern searched for his identity in the city’s 1980s punk scene, playing in the scum-rock band Chop Shop. Wearing a theatrical mohawk, he frequented Manhattan’s clubs, including A7, CBGB, Danceteria, the Peppermint Lounge, and The World. “New York was dirty, dangerous, and on the edge of the insane music creativity of the late 1970s,” Stern says of the era. “Its songs filled me with a sense of freedom and possibility—and confirmed that I didn’t need to fit into the status quo in order to have fulfillment in my life.” (He describes his profound connection to music, and how it led him to yoga, on Ep. 43 of our Time Sensitive podcast. For even more, listen to him on Ep. 16 of At a Distance, as well.)

Stern, who still lives in New York (where he recently launched the punk rock–inspired yoga magazine, With), compiled a playlist of early ’80s punk songs for us that defined this formative period of his life. The mix ends with “Now U Got Me Hooked,” a 2018 dance-inducing track by Against All Logic, the alias of the Chilean-American composer Nicolas Jaar, that supplies the optimism Stern thinks listeners need now.

The spiritual aspect of song continues to fascinate Stern. He listens to music constantly, and sees it as an important part of communication, social connection, and communion with the divine. “Where does music even come from?” Stern says. “Somehow, song is part of us as human beings. Every culture manages to sing, or to create an instrument with which they can sing along with. There’s something transcendent that music connects us to.”

“P.S.K. ‘What Does It Mean?’,” Schoolly D.
“Peter Piper,” Run-DMC
“Cavern,” Liquid Liquid
“A God in an Alcove,” Bauhaus
“Eight Miles High,” Hüsker Dü
“Dreams Never End,” New Order
“The Magnificent Seven,” The Clash
“Public Image,” Public Image Ltd.
“Papa’s Got a Brand New Pigbag,” Pigbag
“That’s When I Reach for My Revolver,” Mission of Burma
“Genius of Love,” Tom Tom Club
“Christine,” Siouxsie and the Banshees
“Artists Only,” Talking Heads
“Transmission,” Joy Division
“Rapture,” Blondie
“I Love a Man in Uniform,” Gang of Four
“52 Girls,” B-52’s
“She’s Like Heroin to Me,” The Gun Club
“Shoot You Down,” APB
“Now U Got Me Hooked,” Against All Logic