|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 11:01 pm: |
Pikkle punk! Which is what carnies used to call deformed fetuses in jars that no self-respecting sideshow would be without.
As for mohawks, I thought that started pretty much with The Exploited and their fans. Wattie, the singer, was a nasty piece of work; he used to sling the microphone directly into audience member's faces, so somebody got seriously hurt and the venue was stuck with the bill for borken equipment.
Houston had a problem with skins for awhile, but nothing serious. There was a neo-Nazi living in the north of town, and older guy, who was financing and trying to organize them. Nothing came of it, though. The racist skins came first, then the anti-racist ones. Houston is too laid back a town for anyone to get a serious hate on anyone else.
Hob, if you mean punk only lasted, as Greil Marcus wrote, as long as the sense of infinite possibility blowing a hole through shitty political reality existed, then you might have a point. But that idea owed more to the second-hand situationist theory that Malcolm McLaren and Jamie Reid grafted onto the Sex Pistols. Bands like X-Ray Spex, the Slits and Alternative TV picked up on that too, though X-Ray Spex and the Slits weren't heavily into theory. The Clash were mostly about revolution, but not necessarily the revolution of everyday life. They did blow a hole in the Queen's 1977 Jubilee, but that led to Virgin reissuing Sex Pistols singles in Golden Jubilee editions this year.
That moment came and went (Michael Moorcock did a pretty good take on that in a short story placing his Jerry Cornelius characters with the Sex Pistols on the famous boat) in 1977-78. Politics and religion (Circle One - Christians; Cro-Mags - Krishnas) came later, when the ultimate hope died but hope for at least some improvement remained.
It seems like the UK judged punk after 1978 to be only a used-up fad, but in other countries expectations were more realistic, and punk had room to evolve into a community large enough to survive alternating commercial strip-mining and marginalization. As I said earlier, there's still a political punk scene on the continent, organized mostly around the green/anarchist/squat scene.
But really, trying to declare a canon of punk, of both a time and an ethic, is about as useful as trying to do the same for goth. Both deny the, ahem, "actually existing" scene. Maybe everything At worst, it leads to fundamentalism that destroys local scenes or expresses itself in thuggery, as happened to Jello. Punks acting as cops, great. What happened after 1978 may not have been pure punk, but punk in the real world.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 9:50 pm: |
Just because someone decides to refer to themself as a 'Punk' it doesn't mean they are somehow the same as 'Punk' as per 1970's type 'Punk'.
And indeed, just because someone calls themself a "Christian", it doesn't mean they are a member of a first-century Judean messianic pietist sect opposed to Hellenizing influences on Judaism.
The way I use the word "punk", in addition to being consistant with common usage, is a useful, meaningful description of a cultural and artistic movement. Your definition is useless. It provides no useful information, beyond an expiration date, and ignores very important lines of influence.
Listen, are you willing to accept that there was a movement, here in the US, which called itself "Punk", and which was clearly influenced by the aesthetics of those you would describe as "Punk", but expanded upon the idea? If it will help, I will agree to refer to it as "American Hardcore Punk", and you can call yours "Early British Punk", the way scholars distinguish between "Early Jewish Christians" and "Pauline Christians".
(It's not an altogether bad metaphor, since early Christianity was a fairly limited movement, which could not really have survived, since it had a closed, rigid world-view and was anticipating the world to end shortly. The Pauline Christians survived because they opened the church to new influences and membership, and adapted to the changing times.)
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 9:25 pm: |
What we got here is a failure to communicate. LH is using "Punk" in the way an historian might refer to "the Baroque period", meaning the 17th Century, while I am using "punk" in the way one might describe anything grotesque or flamboyant as "baroque". There may have been a singular "Punk period" (tho I would still argue it lasted longer over here than over there), but "punk", as a set of aesthetic values (or a rejection of same) continued and continues to be a major influence.
No definition or categorization of an artistic movment is going to be perfect. But to limit "punk" to "early British punk from 1976-1979" is to specify the genre to the point of meaninglessnes. We are only talking about a handful of bands at that point.
Hey, how about Siouxsie and the Banshees? They pre-date the Pistols by a month or two (Sid was their original drummer!), they were described as "punk" by the press at the time, and they continued on for decades. Did they also stop being punk at some point? Can you tell me when?
Incidentally, I saw Siouxsie live a few months ago. It wasn't a nostalgia tour. She wasn't pimping a greatest-hits album (or anything else). She just wanted to get out and sing. She did some new stuff. She did some old stuff. She did some really really old stuff. And she fucking rocked. I'll tell you right now I'd rather fuck that one 45-year-old woman than two 22-year olds, or even three 15-year-olds...
Honestly, of the original core British punk bands, the Pistols were the ONLY one that died. The Clash, The Jam, the Buzzcocks, the Damned all continued for some time, and while some of them obviously evolved beyond the genre, some clearly remained unquestionably punk.
Hell, Still Little Fingers' "Inflammable Materials" came out in 1979, and if that wasn't punk, then the word is meaningless...
There was no punk after 1978.
There was no ska after 1966.
There was no rock after 1959.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 8:31 pm: |
I suppose if you compared the Pistols' reunion tour to the Who's reunion tour, the Pistols would win.
Do those who created Punk get to define what it is or isn't? That doesn't seem like a very Punk attitude, especially considering they didn't even call themselves Punk...
Maybe there's a definition in that. If you called yourself Punk, you had to have been second-generation at best.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 6:00 pm: |
Marc, where'd you see the Pistols in 1978? Chances are I have a tape or could get one.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 5:48 pm: |
I didn't see the Pistols in the flesh, but I've got loads of video and audio tape. On the reunion tour the band plays fine (heck, they just picked up right where they left off!) but Johnny's voice is way too safe, reserved, mannered, tasteful.
You know what amazes me about their 1978 US tour is that they are essentially a 2 piece band: guitar and drum. Sid is not in the mix at all, occasionally you hear a trebly plink-plink, but he not only didn't know how to play the bass, he couldn't even get any sound out of it! But the primal immensity of just that drum and guitar is unlike anything before or since. Some of those shows didn't jell and some of them are pure fucking scarifying.
But better still are the live tapes from late 1976 to early 1977. "Never Mind The Bollocks" sounds like a commercial album and doesn't do them justice.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 5:30 pm: |
And let me be clear, I'm talking music, not attitude or cultural significance. Thats why I said they were better than the Who. I'm talking music here.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 5:28 pm: |
The Pistols reunion was great rock and roll.
Pata, did you see them live?
Far better than their first tour. And helluva lot better than PIL live. I saw them all.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 5:17 pm: |
Oh my god. The Pistols reunion was an embarrassment that nearly wiped away any good they did in the world previously. We shall speak of it no more.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 5:11 pm: |
One of the best rock and roll performances I ever saw was
The Sex Pistols reunion tour at Roseland in NYC.
They were louder tighter and alot more fun than The Who.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 4:37 pm: |
"Hitler was a gasser..."
You must be thinking of "Belsen was a Gas" which was the only song Sid wrote. It's the exact opposite of what you think. It's really a subtle/not-subtle masterpiece of irony. He wrote it after they took a trip to Germany and visited Belsen, where he saw in the museum postcards that the guards had forced the inmates to write, reassuring the outside world that everything was OK.
"Belsen was a gas I heard the other day,
In the open graves where the Jews all lay,
'Life is fun and I wish you were here'
They wrote on postcards to those held dear"
It's all about how the most functional lies are the Big Lies, the ones that are the most absurd.
"This one's dead,
Guess it's glad!"
And live, Johnny Rotten would add the coda:
"Be a man, join our army, be a man, kill someone, be a man, KILL YOURSELF!!!"
Punks may not have been political but they weren't no goddamn fascists.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 3:57 pm: |
funny you should mention Eddie Cochran. In other discussions of punk, I have made claims for Cochran as being the father of punk.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 3:36 pm: |
In April of 1978 there was a huge Anti-Nazi Rally in Hyde Park and all the Punk bands played. Even Sham 69, a supposed Skinhead band, was there. The rally was sparked by racist remarks that Eric Clapton had made.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 3:29 pm: |
London Punk wasn't macho and it wasn't about victimizing other people, it was about sticking your goddamn victimization in the oppressor's face: "We get beat up but we don't care, at least it livens up the air". It actually had a very Gay bent to it (pun intended) at the very beginning. They played in Gay bars wore Gay gear. Stagecraft for Johnny Rotten entailed mincing around like a poof on speed. They weren't all Gay but the straights used it as outrage. Same with the swastika. They weren't Nazi's -- they were the absolute antithesis of fascists. Souixie said she wore the swastika just because her parents were always going on about the past and how their generation beat Hitler. See The Clash film "Rude Boy", it treats the subject very well.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 2:36 pm: |
Pikkle would be so proud of his "Pikkle Banished" topic.
eh Pik? You lurking?
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 2:18 pm: |
The Skins, yes indeed.
I have a friend who is a right wing skin (I mix with people of all political persuasions). He's always belting out the Pistols. How would the Pistols view this? They'd love it. They couldn't give a shit about politics. Loads of Punks wore swastikas. What about the Sex Pistols lyric "Hitler was a gasser..." etc. The Ramones had similar lyrics. The idea that Punks were a Leftist bunch is just ludicrous.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 2:12 pm: |
"If Vicious had lived, I bet he would be some kind of neo-hippie."
You really cannot be serious here. And if he was a loser or not then what the fuck, big fucking deal. Did he give a toss about winning or not? Why should he? To win or lose you have to accept rules to win or lose by, you have to accept a definition against which to measure yourself. He just wanted to "burn out in a blaze of glory", he couldn't give a shit, topping himself was in the end what he decided to do, and good luck to him. "No future after 1980", well he certainly walked the walk, no future for him after 1980 that's for sure. And Johnny Rotten while going on to PIL etc. was under no illusion and knew that what he was doing was not Punk, he just wanted to make some money using the skills he had (and good luck to him). And Malcom McLaren made a mint out of Punk, hats off to Malcolm, that's what his aim always was, well done!
60's garage was not punk. I've also even heard people refer to VU as punk. Bollocks. So a lot of 70's Punk bands did covers of 60's garage stuff, so what? The Pistols did a cover of "C'mon everybody" does that make Eddie Cochran a Punk Rocker?
Yes the Stranglers were a fucking great band, but they sure weren't Punk (where does a bloody Hammond organ fit into Punk), "short-haired hippies" was how Johnny Rotten described them.
The Ramones (the only long-haired punks) may have kept making records in the 80's but they didn't make records like "Sheena is a Punk" or "Now I want to sniff some glue".
Punk was not about music, it was about a time and a vibe. Punk did not progress, it was a snap shot in time.
As for the use of the definition 'Punk' as defining what is 'Punk' depending on how the term is used. Well James Cagney may have called people 'Punks' but they sure as hell weren't Punks as the Buzzcocks, Pistols or early Clash were. The word refers to something entirely different. So regardless of whether people use the word 'Punk' to describe themselves, it doesn't make them a Punk as relates to late 70's Punk. It makes them something completely different. Just because someone decides to refer to themself as a 'Punk' it doesn't mean they are somehow the same as 'Punk' as per 1970's type 'Punk'. Call themselves as they wish, it makes no difference.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 2:10 pm: |
Interestingly, with all of the angst and Anarchy stemming from Punk there is a subject that hasn't been discussed: The Hate side or Skin Head ideals...if you want to call it that.
Nothing fucked up a good show more than the Skin Heads trying to dominate everything. The Neo-Nazi, that is. There were some Independent Skins that were always present, but they weren't as cruel.
It seems that even if the "real" punk music is not abundant anymore, the internet has spawned a new breed of Hate. I hear of and see many new sites on the subject. The music is very Punk-like, but the words are just redundant spew.
I don't really have any beef with the skins, they actually saved my ass from a racial beating years ago, but I just remember the skins were always there and they were a big part of what I remember about old school punk. Regardless of it being a good or bad thing. And no, I donít condone their way of lifeÖI never gave it much priority in my thinking.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 11:26 am: |
If Vicious had lived, I bet he would be some kind of neo-hippie. Probably a follower of Sai Bab. He was the kind of guy who was so lacking in a sense of self that he was prone to be a follower. I've known guys like Sid. They'll go wherever the tide pushes them. He was a loser. Whereas, guys like Lydon, Strummer, Jello and Joey Ramone are/were very self-aware, adept at self-promotion and had a sense of humor about it all. They ultimately were and are showmen.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 11:20 am: |
The notion that "punk" music was birthed in the mid-'70s is debatable. There's a strong argument to be made that punk music began in the mid-'60s with American regional garage bands.
SKY SAXON AND THE SEEDS
and 1000s of others.
I have a live recording from the '60s of Sky Saxon And The Seeds
that is as raw and intense as anything recorded by The Pistols. And Sky and Rotten's vocal style
is almost identical.
Alot of '70s punk bands did covers of '60s garage stuff. The Pistol's recorded "Steppin' Stone" for instance.
One of my favorite '70s Brit bands were The Stranglers. They were too musical to be considered punk.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 11:09 am: |
Cannonizing Sid as some avatar of punk is rather absurd. He wasn't even in the original line-up. While there was a certain Dadaesque appeal in his abosulte lack of ability, he was more the medium than the artist in that case. His "contribution" to punk was a passive one, not an active one...
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 11:04 am: |
We are having a "no true Scotsman" argument. Essntially, the punk fundementalists have greated a definition of "punk" that de fact excludes anything post-1978, so there is no point in arguing with them that anything after 1978 could be considered "punk".
I, on the other hand, am using the definition of "punk" which was used by the majority of the people who ever described themselves, their art, or their community as "punk". And no, it was NOT just a fashion statement, nor a blind adherene to something of the past. Not in the communities that I associated with.
You can say it's "not real punk" until you are blue in the face, but you will be speaking nonsense of the same sort as those who claim Catholics are "not real Christians". The meaning of words is dependant on their usage, and the USAGE of the word "punk" included something that extended far beyond 1978.
For fuck's sake, the Ramones kept making records for decades, without any fundemental change in their musical style, appearance, or attitude. At what point did they stop being "punk"?
Don't be too hard on Blink-182. Their success was rather accidental, mostly because they are "cute", and they have taken every opportunity to mock their popularity as empty, meaningless, and fleeting. They know it's 00:14:59...
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 10:49 am: |
Sid Vicious smoking a joint and saying "we need to save the rain forests, Man" is just not an easy image to conjure up.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 10:36 am: |
"Likewise, punk extends to leftist politics, eco-defense"
Sounds like Sting or like a load of peace and love hippy-shit. Sid Vicious and the Sex Pistols as defenders of the ecosystem and supporters of left-wing politics? Give the Sex Pistols chain-saws and send then into a rain forest and they'd start demolishing it just for the hell of it. Give them responsibilty for global wealth distibution and they'd steal it and spend it on heroin, glue and whores.
If 'Punk' became well-meaning, socially responsible and forward thinking then it bears absolutely no resemblance to the Punk before 1979. This is the antithesis of Punk. Punk was like blindly smashing the place up in anger and not giving a shit, not working to create a better, happier world for mankind (the hippies did that sort of thing). Why do you think did Punk detested Hippydom?
"For the record, I'm a bit old for punk, and I never really dressed the part"
Indeed Bjacques, you and me both. Anyway punk was more short hair and woolly jumper than spiky hair and leather jacket. Most never dressed the part anyway, it made no odds, it was an attitude not a fashion. As for Punk and art, well I didn't know what art was and cared even less.
As for 'Punk' today, well around Trafalgar square in London you get professional 'Punks' who dress up in 'Punk' uniform (spikey hair (usually dyed purple), leather jacket, safety pins through nose, Doc Martin boots and Union-Jack tee-shirt etc.). They charge Japanese and American tourists £10 to have their photo taken (on the tourist's own camera of course) with a 'real British Punk from England' (makes a nice snap to take home and show the folks). They're far from being Punks but the attitude of these 'plastic-punks' (i.e. rip off a gullible tourist and take his money) is a lot closer to Punk than well-meaning attitudes of the politically-conscious 'eco-punks' of the last couple of decades.
|Posted on Friday, September 6, 2002 - 5:24 am: |
I always thought "real" punk music was usually played by some garage trash band you ear in a musty hole of a club and never ear again (and mostly forget about anyway). I have a funny compilation cd of Montreal punk bands, it's hilarious. No need to say the sound quality is horrible and the packaging is close to innexistant. Most of those bands are very aNgRy! but have not much to say.
One exception to that trash rule : Bad Religion.
Now if someone is doing punk music today, I would suggest they should work on finding another kind of sound, something new... That is, of course, if they are real musician and not just amateur having fun in a garage.
But hell, what do I know, I was to fancy to hang with punks at the time so I just turned to be a skinny goth boy afterall ... ~;-|
''I want to conquer the world, give all the idiots a brand new religion ...''