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Punk: What Is It and a Brief History

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Some Punks Having a Good Time - Taken from Vũ Tường Vi on Pintrest

Some Punks Having a Good Time - Taken from Vũ Tường Vi on Pintrest

Some Punks Having a Good Time - Taken from Vũ Tường Vi on Pintrest

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Punk. This genre has branched off into many genres we now know today. Some examples would be: Pop-Punk, Goth, Ska, Grunge, Emo(Emotional), Steampunk, Post-Punk, Garage Rock, Glam Rock, Protopunk, Deathrock, Skate Punk, and Afro Punk. Maybe some of the music you listen to is influenced by Punk.

Punk mostly originated in a genre called Protopunk (which is a lot like Garage Rock). England and America are well known for their punks, punk music, and punk gangs. These gangs and music were supporting Anarchy, a political system in which there is no government and everyone has absolute freedom. They also believed in a “Blank Generation” and, “No Future.” Both of these come from punk “anthems.”  “Blank Generation,” by Richard Hell and The Voidoids and “God Save the Queen”, by The Sex Pistols.

Picasa “No Future” Courtesy of Pinterest.com

 

But, the height of punk was around the time when The Sex Pistols came onto the charts in 1977. 1977 had been called “The year of Punk” thanks to all the new punk activity that year. This is when punk bands, gangs, and fashion came into style for many. Underground bands became more famous through the growing community, and shock value was always used. Even concerts had there own cultures to them, where merchandise, fanzines, and magazines were given out. Some of these “Punk zines” became famous.  Some examples would be Sniffin’ Glue and Punk. Side note: Punk was called punk after the magazine “Punk” was launched and they started interviewing people from CBGB, firstly Lou Reed.

 

Mark Perry
Sniffin’ Glue, January 1977: Courtesy of Pinterest.com

 

 

Next, let’s talk about Punk fashion. Punk fashions were mainly spread by punk gangs. What they wore were such things as highly decorated vests and leather jackets, safety pins and staples, colored hair and fantastic hairstyles (spikes, Liberty spikes, Mohawks), DIY clothes made from trash and other things, bondage, combat boots, the Union flag, and plaid. A notable place where people bought their “Punk” clothes was a store plainly called, “Sex.”  Sex was a boutique located on Kings Road (A street where punks gathered) run by Malcolm and Vivienne.  They sold bondage and other styled clothing. Fashion was inspired by Andy Warhol, Punk street gangs, The Sex Pistols, Fetish wear, Trash, Apocalypse, Aliens, David Bowie, and others.

TheRedList.com
Vivienne Westwood in front of “Sex,” Courtesy of Pinterest.com

 

While England amplified punk, it could be argued that punk music originated (or at least had blown up) in America. Punk blew up in America around the time that CBGB came into light in 1976 when they played bands such as Television, The Ramones, Lou Reed, and The Dead Boys.  “CBGB and OMFUG” was/is a bar (originally aiming for bluegrass and blues styled music) that got popularized for hosting bands described as Punk by Punk Magazine.  CBGB stands for Country Bluegrass Blues and OMFUG stands for Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers.  Other famous American bands from around that time or before include: The Velvet Underground, Richard Hell (and The Voidoids), Black Flag, The Stooges, and The New York Dolls.

 

But, why did they rebel? In England, the economy was terrible and unemployment was high. They were tired of their government and decided to rebel. Punk mocked its government and its “uselessness.”  They promoted anarchy (which is no government) to go against their monarchy.  Much of punk was political and anarchistic, so bands usually went all out to shock, scare the government, and raise awareness for the general public or anyone who would listen. In America, Punk rock was used as a way to get “real” rock and roll back and to reject the government without being a hippie. They felt that what qualified as rock was more hardcore, wild, and rebellious than some of the rock acts at the time: such as Billy Joel and Simon and Garfunkel.  Many articles and documentaries speak of punks hating and trying to replace the hippie movement with their own.

 

Altogether, the punk movement is and was a fun and rebellious time. Now, for the most part, actual punk rock is underground again, but it still influences music in the mainstream today. So, check out the scene if you found interest in this. Maybe you could find some new music you’d like within punk.  But, be yourself, be aware, and have fun, that is what punk is really about.

– Some punk influenced/genre bands include –

  • Dropkick Murphys
  • The Germs
  • The Cramps
  • The Misfits
  • The Sex Pistols
  • The Ramones
  • The New York Dolls
  • Black Flag
  • The Buzzcocks
  • The Offspring
  • The Stooges
  • Siouxsie and The Banshees
  • Blink 182
  • Richard Hell and The Voidoids
  • The Clash
  • Television
  • Circle Jerks
  • David Bowie
  • The Dead Kennedys

 

Other Sources

Punk: Attitude – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=

Book – https://pollabooks.com/products/history-of-punk-rock-music-library?utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=googlepla

Cool videos to check out

Movie – CBGB on Netflix

Punk Riffs – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSB45QfFy6M

40 years of Punk – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o34PvvcGSP8

Sid Vicious in Paris – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clWzveptQdw

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