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September 18, 2003 7:02 AM   Subscribe

A history of UK Punk Rock from 1976-79. "Featuring an A-Z of punk bands from Adam and The Ants to The Sex Pistols to X Ray Spex, fanzines, punk girls, rare record sleeves, audio clips, fashion, punk rock lyrics, interviews and loads of pictures." It's not all about the Sex Pistols.
posted by archimago (48 comments total)

 
Not Bad.

Here's some similar resources for the original punk rock of all kinds. It didn't begin with the Brits, ya know.
posted by jonmc at 7:13 AM on September 18, 2003


According to yesterday's Onion, the history of rock is written by the losers.

Don't mean to threadcrap, this was just so timely. I, too, am affected by this disorder and these are great links.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:42 AM on September 18, 2003


It's an OK resource, but... No XTC? I know they were pop-inflected, and had left punk behind by their second album, but who can say "Science Friction" or "Traffic Light Rock" aren't punk when the Clash's "White Man in Hammersmith Palais" is considered as same? If the year in question is 1977, XTC oughta be there.
posted by soyjoy at 7:44 AM on September 18, 2003


i still don't think The Jam was a punk band...no matter how many lists it goes on....

jonmc, you ever hear the Sonics? 60's punk out of seattle? found old vinyl of theirs in the public library in valdez alaska 13 years ago.
posted by th3ph17 at 7:44 AM on September 18, 2003


stupidsexyflanders, did you notice the last "In the News" item on the right, in your link? The Onion is obviously making a sly nod to MeFi...
posted by soyjoy at 7:46 AM on September 18, 2003


The Sonics are awesome. My personal favorite 'old' punk bands right now are the Saints and Radio Birdman.

Why wouldn't you call the Jam punk? They are certainly as 'punk' as the Clash - anyway, it doesn't matter - they were awesome. I just got the DVD of their live TV performances - incredible.
posted by drobot at 7:55 AM on September 18, 2003


from MightyGirl.net:

"Urban Outfitters is selling a sock-monkey wearing a T-shirt that says 'Punk's Not Dead.' This, of course, is the very thing that put the last nail in the coffin."
posted by o2b at 8:02 AM on September 18, 2003


jonmc, you ever hear the Sonics?

Dude, "Psycho," "Boss Hoss," and "Strychnine" are the holy trinity of scream rock. Good eye, man.

If you dig that, you'd probably love the Ready Men's version of "Shortnin' Bread" as well. Pure insane bliss.

But there's plenty of goodies. The garage rock pile (like the latter-day punk pile, the metal pile, and the soul pile) is bottomless and global (as the Cutie Morning Moon link makes plain).
posted by jonmc at 8:18 AM on September 18, 2003


[this is good]

So I'm talking to a friend's 14 year old daughter, who is thrilled to learn of my large punk vinyl collection. I let her peruse the boxes. She hunts and hunts and hunts. Finally turns to me and says:

"Why don't you have any Green Day. They're the best punk band there ever was."

Bah. Kids today. I wonder if her parents would be upset if I gave her my copy of Sid and Nancy to watch.....
posted by anastasiav at 8:20 AM on September 18, 2003


At this moment Adolph's friends came over. They were four particularly vicious looking punks; Sid Sick, Bill Migraine, Johnny Vomit and Vince Violence. None of these names were their born names, but punks like to have odd, and often depressing names, as in their nature.

from The Punk - A Novel by Gideon Sams - check it out on the site.
posted by johnny novak at 8:22 AM on September 18, 2003


does anyone not find it strange that the whole site is rendered in comic sans?
posted by grimley at 8:22 AM on September 18, 2003


Forget Urban Outfitters, if you want proof that punk just aint the rebellious fuck all scene it used to be just walk by the local Hot Topic. Remember when you actually had to go to shows to buy t-shirts?
posted by eyeballkid at 8:24 AM on September 18, 2003


The band bio pages, at least those I looked at, left a bit to be desired, but overall it's a great effort. It's tough to capture something that happened 25 years ago and get a significant representation on the web.

There was an article in a Rolling Stone several years ago about the Warped Tour. The author wrote about seeing a shirt that said "Punk's not dead....it just sucks now". He then refuted the shirt by reviewing the concert. The irony of all of that situation doesn't sit well with me.
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:27 AM on September 18, 2003


The thing that scares me most about Hot Topic isn't the band shirts. Its the Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake crap for sale. WTF????
posted by anastasiav at 8:30 AM on September 18, 2003


~You guys are right. If only punk rock could have been frozen in time in 1982, like a dinosaur stuck in a tar pit everything would be great and relevant.~

Step back, some of you sound like your grandparents. Kids today are doing what they know. Would it be better if they were still being beaten up for dressing how they want, and listening to what they choose? Punk won, punk retired, punk whatever.
posted by thirteen at 8:50 AM on September 18, 2003


buy shirts at shows? hell, i live in a hick town. Had to order all my punk/ska/new wave crap from Burning Airlines catalog. That thing was like the bible.

and thirteen you are right. we just resent a bit, or i'll speak in specific terms instead of for--like--everyone, *I* resent the gothlets and little punks and the 16 year olds in docs and a specials shirt because i know they look at me and just see some balding old guy wearing dockers cargo pants. i'm their history and they don't know it. no respect. [insert fear of aging here.]
posted by th3ph17 at 9:00 AM on September 18, 2003


thirteen - well put.

I think it's great that there's as much interest in punk rock with musicians and fans today, even if it's a well worn path.

anastasiav - If your friend's daughter was impressed by your Stiff Little Fingers records (or whatever), it might have been cool, but she's fourteen - I think it's your job to accept that Green Day is decent for what it is (good pop-punk that was relevant when they were popular) and turn her on to whatever it is that you like.
posted by drobot at 9:05 AM on September 18, 2003


i think it's really wierd to judge punk today by what the mainstream music conglomerates tell you it is. There's lots of punk music produced on small labels that people enjoy making, and listening to. I think it's really fucked up that the RIAA makes any decisions about music, but I completely ignore their definition about what is and is not punk.

Burning Airlines - what a great reference!!

I tabled for two radical infoshops at the warped tour this summer, and it was tremendously depressing and unpleasant, but there is absolutely NO WAY that it could be called punk.
posted by goneill at 9:11 AM on September 18, 2003


Green Day

What's sad is my 11 yo daughter is into Good Charlotte, cuz she loves "punk rock." I started to tell her that if she wanted to hear where GC came from, she should listen to Green Day...then I heard myself and just backed out of the room slowly. They have to learn on their own. Best I can do is leave the Ramones CDs where she can find them.

anastasiav: Re: Care Bears: It's because their market is tweeners. One foot in the frilly pink thing dept., and one foot in skanky black tee dept.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:16 AM on September 18, 2003


I think that old-school vs. new school punk carping is silly too. I mean, everybody's gotta start somewhere. It's not like we all popped out of the womb with X-Ray Spex records in our hands. Some of the green day kids will owrk their way backwards. Just like a lotta Stones fans worked their way back to Muddy Waters.

And it's not like there wasn't always a musical underground of sorts, but it's called "popular music" for a reason, itbecomes more relevant and effective when it reaches(and touches) larger groups of people. That's why times like the mid-60's, when the Top 40 was full of revolutionary music must have been so exciting.

The people who play the punker(or whatever-er) than thou game (and I'll admit that I've done it on occasion) are just being clique-ish and exclusionary.
posted by jonmc at 9:21 AM on September 18, 2003


I haven't seen a Burning Airlines catalog in years. I'd tottally forgotten about them. It seems they have a website though.

(And, at the risk of sounding unhip, the brand new RANCID record is pretty god damned good.)
posted by eyeballkid at 9:39 AM on September 18, 2003


Yeah, you gotta start somewhere, I guess. Too bad you gotta start with a major-label product and work your way back through several generations of same before you get to something authentic. Especially when the music in question was all about authenticity in the face of corporate-milled crapola.
posted by bingbangbong at 9:41 AM on September 18, 2003


Folks, let's not forget what the cited comment was: "Why don't you have any Green Day. They're the best punk band there ever was."

I agree that we shouldn't begrudge the youth their exploration and all, but that's just a sad statement. For those of us of a certain age it would be akin to hearing the Talking Heads' "Take Me to the River" and saying "wow, this is the best R&B band ever!"
posted by soyjoy at 9:48 AM on September 18, 2003


bingbangbong - Eh, I don't think it's that hard. There are a ton of non-major label bands rocking the punk sound.

Don't forget, too, that most of the punk bands from the 70s that survive today were on major labels. The stuff that dissapeared - the stuff on the KBD comps, for example - is really hard to find. And for the most part, not as seminal as say the Ramones or the Clash.

soyjoy - come on, that statement came from a 14 year old. They aren't hopeless. All you have to say in response to a statement is something like - 'hey, if you like that, you should check out these cool bands'. Punk rock was never intended to create a class of music snobs.
posted by drobot at 9:53 AM on September 18, 2003


drobot - fair enough. I wasn't trying to slam the 14 year old. It's just sad that our popular culture is structured in such a way that someone of that age could be so blissfully ignorant of what made her fave sounds possible. It's not her fault, but it's still somewhat saddening.
posted by soyjoy at 10:01 AM on September 18, 2003


- no exploited ?

if i remember right , the original 'punks not dead' meme was spray painted under the bridge in my old housing estate.

barmy army !
posted by sgt.serenity at 10:06 AM on September 18, 2003


Too bad you gotta start with a major-label product and work your way back through several generations of same before you get to something authentic.

This reminds me of a conversation I had about Alex Chilton with somebody once. I love all his stuff, solo, Big Star and the Box Tops stuff, too. I specifically cited "Cry Like A Baby," and "Soul Deep," as terrific slices of blue-eyed soul.

She said something along the lines of "But he had so little control over his work with that band, that was all products of studios and producers."

She had a point, but she was talking about process not product. The process may have been a lousy one for the artist, but the product was excellent music for the listening public.

Or put it another way: was the "authentic" It's A Beautiful Day or Emerson, Lake & Palmer better than the "inauthentic" Monkees or Shangri-La's?
posted by jonmc at 10:12 AM on September 18, 2003


If you're interested in swedish garage punk (and who isn't?), check out LSD's "Real Garage Punk From Sweden 1966!" (gotta love the title). It was released by Subliminal Sounds and is well worth tracking down.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 10:16 AM on September 18, 2003


...I mean, those of you who own "Pebbles vol 3" are familiar with swedish garage sensations The Lea Riders. LSD kick their asses! All hail the mighty swedish garage punk explosion!
posted by soundofsuburbia at 10:31 AM on September 18, 2003


And if I write the words "swedish garage punk" one more time it means I'm drunk!

oh... wait
posted by soundofsuburbia at 10:32 AM on September 18, 2003


drobot, soyjoy ... actually the worst thing is that all I could think of to say to her was that, to my knowledge, Green Day never issued anything on vinyl!

I was 14 in 1981. At that time, my preferred listing (on my brandy-brand new Sony Walkman ... cutting edge, I tell you!) was a third-generation cassette of Never Mind The Bollocks that I think was originally recorded from someone's older brothers messed up vinyl copy of the album. (An early example of file sharing, I guess) It sounded, quite literally, like music from the moon (especially at that time, when radio was saturated with Kool & The Gang and Rick Springfield). To this day I can't listen to NMtB on CD - it sounds far too clean and sterile for me.

That one cassette honestly changed my view of the world forever ... it made me (young girl in a very rural area) aware for the first time that there was a different way of looking at the world, that music was more than what was played on the radio, that the anger and disillusionment that I felt flashes of (yes, even at 14) wasn't just me - that it was something that could be expressed and even celebrated. That album also made me turn to the limited resources available to me and eventually find more of the same - The Ramones, Siouxsie, The Slits, The Cramps, The Violent Femmes - and although I now cognitively know the facts of the evolution of Punk, The Sex Pistols will always, for me, be the original purveyors of it ...

What alarms me most, I guess, is how pre-packaged even something as punk has become - Hot Topic and Green Day being only two examples. For me, this was music of revelation and rebellion, outsider music. I know many in the generation just following mine felt the same way about Nirvana, and that many in Amira's generation (the 14 year old mentioned above) feel this way about certain elements of rap. But now you find your 'music of rebellion' via Napster/Kazaa, via (heaven help us) Columbia House, via a corporate-owned radio station, even via the headphones-row at your local Tower Records or whatever ... I lament and mourn the loss of a true 'underground' as I knew it. Even the underground music scene is now, more or less, a 'product' with a target market of 'disenfranchised youth'.

Or, maybe I'm just getting old.
posted by anastasiav at 10:44 AM on September 18, 2003


Ha!

This thread is really funny. As a guy in his late 20's who still plays in a punk band (a really good one to boot!), I suddenly feel really, really pathetic. I can relate to all the sentiment above, and i am not sure it is a good thing. The "punk" I was as a teenager was into the lifestyle - the "punk'" I am now is really into the music. Due to life circumstances (marriage, a kid, bills etc.), the lifestyle is not as appealing (nor the mainstream punk polluting the airwaves).

My point? I too am getting old, (PS Did any of my Canadian fellows happen to catch the broadcast of CBC's RADIOSONIC (R.I.P.) where they discussed the trend of "old punkers" and how a good number of them have stopped playing "punk" bands and are now playing in "country" bands? )
posted by Quartermass at 11:34 AM on September 18, 2003


I think part of the reason so many thirtysomethings get so upset with "the kids of today" is because they don't really have to work to find a lot of this stuff -- it's just handed to them. That takes a lot of the fun out of it.

Let's say you're in a hick town in Nebraska and just heard about Turbonegro and want to hear them. All you have to do is go to the web and *bam* there it is. You can listen to samples, read the bio and even have "Ass Cobra" mailed to your house priority mail.

That's a lot different than driving a couple hours to the largest metropolitan city, finding the punk or indie record store and picking through hundreds of albums all in the hope of finding an album on your list, many of which were on small labels and/or imports. But when you did find something, what a rush! It was inhaled, studied and passed around. That thrill can't be recreated now.
posted by Atom12 at 11:49 AM on September 18, 2003


Atom12:

Let's say you're in a hick town in Nebraska and just heard about Turbonegro and want to hear them. All you have to do is go to the web and *bam* there it is. You can listen to samples, read the bio and even have "Ass Cobra" mailed to your house priority mail.

That's a lot different than driving a couple hours to the largest metropolitan city, finding the punk or indie record store and picking through hundreds of albums all in the hope of finding an album on your list, many of which were on small labels and/or imports. But when you did find something, what a rush! It was inhaled, studied and passed around. That thrill can't be recreated now.


i don't agree that thrill can't be recreated. the thrill of music for me is finding the stuff; in this case, finding out about turbonegro. don't forget you could just have easily not known a thing about the band, but now you do, and you love what you've heard; that would be the thrill for me.
posted by moz at 12:05 PM on September 18, 2003


Not to defend Green Day or anything (I'm not a fan) - but I think that all of there stuff can probably be found on vinyl, and their first two records were on Lookout (indie label) and were at the time considered legit among the punks.

For me, it's great that so much music is easy to find - when I was a kid I had to go to the nearest college town to buy records, and then I had to be super selective because I didn't have much money. And as an adult who doesn't hang out w/ college kids or have time to go see shows if I don't already know the band, the internet's been a great way for me to keep in touch with indie music.
posted by drobot at 12:10 PM on September 18, 2003


My old fogey problem with "punk" today is not that it's easy to find, or inauthentic, but that it's so tame and accepted. It's hard to imagine when you're listening to the music today, but back in the 1970s most people thought punk was unlistenable, and it scared the crap out of anyone over 30.

An integral part of punk was spitting on hippie idealism because of the way that earlier generation had aged. Why aren't kids today spitting on punk idealism today because of old punks like me? Instead, we get Green Day, which sounds like easy listening pop nostalgia to my aged ears, the Sha Na Na of the millenium.

I resent the fact that kids today aren't trying hard enough to shock me with something new. Of course, I find Dizzee Rascal unlistenable, so maybe that's a start.
posted by fuzz at 12:34 PM on September 18, 2003


Green Day vinyl and other stuff.

For me it's all about the Exploited and good Berkeley punk. Green Day shows at 924 Gilman back in the day actually were pretty good. And what about Filth and Blatz and Fang? I'll never get rid of those vinyls...

Oh yeah, and GG Allin too.
posted by starscream at 1:33 PM on September 18, 2003


Blatz...

An ex-girlfreind gave me a mix with "Roadkill" on it, which I lost, but I managed to p2p it. The same mix had "Pearls At Swine" by the Lovedolls, which I've yet to find anywhere in the universe.
posted by jonmc at 1:37 PM on September 18, 2003


The debut album by X is We're Desperate/Adult Books
(per that last line of that onion article)
posted by wobh at 5:55 PM on September 18, 2003


Okay, so that was a single rather than an 'album'. Feh.
posted by wobh at 6:01 PM on September 18, 2003


i know they look at me and just see some balding old guy wearing dockers cargo pants. i'm their history and they don't know it

So true. I often have the urge to stop teenage punks in Dead Kennedy and Ramones shirts and explain how I was them 25 years ago, and how they should keep the punk spirit as they age because it really helps you cope with life. Then I realize how I'd just come across as a pathetic, creepy gray haired guy in Docs.
posted by davebush at 8:02 PM on September 18, 2003


I still maintain that punk is different than what the mainstream media says it is.

Punk today is different than punk was in 1980 - but it's not different in the ways that you are mentioning. It's still underground, it's still hard to get, you still have to write a letter to the person in the band and ask for their 'vinyl'. There's still a barter system, and it's still a community.

I think it's different in that it's MORE political, and more idealistic - with time the sex pistols and the ramones seem moronic - wasted lives with frustration that they didn't understand and couldn't channel. In the past 20 years, people who are similarly frustrated have created a thriving underground community. Obviously there are still problems, and nothing is perfect, but I think that punk - (obviously not the teens you see with sex pistol t-shirts) is a really great thing that is probably better than you think.
posted by goneill at 8:48 PM on September 18, 2003


I was 14 in 1981. At that time, my preferred listing (on my brandy-brand new Sony Walkman ... cutting edge, I tell you!) was a third-generation cassette of Never Mind The Bollocks that I think was originally recorded from someone's older brothers messed up vinyl copy of the album. (An early example of file sharing, I guess) It sounded, quite literally, like music from the moon (especially at that time, when radio was saturated with Kool & The Gang and Rick Springfield).

That one cassette honestly changed my view of the world forever ... it made me (young girl in a very rural area) aware for the first time that there was a different way of looking at the world, that music was more than what was played on the radio, that the anger and disillusionment that I felt flashes of (yes, even at 14) wasn't just me...


Yes, yes, exactly what you said. I was 16 in '81, and that first album was London Calling, although the second was Never Mind The Bollocks. I coulda been your slightly older boyfriend, and you coulda been my punk rock girl!
We went to a shopping mall
And laughed at all the shoppers
And security guards trailed us to a record shop
We asked for Mojo Nixon
They said he don't work here
We said if you don't got Mojo Nixon then your store could use some fixin
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:05 PM on September 18, 2003


I still maintain that punk is different than what the mainstream media says it is.

Punk today is different than punk was in 1980 - but it's not different in the ways that you are mentioning. It's still underground, it's still hard to get, you still have to write a letter to the person in the band and ask for their 'vinyl'. There's still a barter system, and it's still a community.


I'm not disagreeing. That community has led to me a lotta interesting stuff, (and a lotta frustration, but that's a whole other story). But, like I said, the 13-year old who digs that Green day or Offspring record (if he's a certain type of kid) will see Dexter's Germs t-shirt and investigate.

Hell, my first record was Journey (I was 11) and I spent a good chunk of my adolescence listening to Metallica and AC/DC*. But there were people who led me to other stuff that I dug too. I also read interviews with bands and looked at the writing credits on my Stones and Led Zep records and discovered the blues and garage rock. Then I listened to college radio and discovered how deep the pile of great music was. By 14, I'd discovered the Replacements and I was hooked in.

What I'm saying, I suppose, is that instead of doing the "kids today" routine, which can be offputting and intimidating to a teenager, why don't we accept the fact that Green Day legitamitely moves something in them and show them that there's more where that came from. We can always use more rock and rollers, and punk (to me anyway) is just rock and roll distilled to it's purest essence.

As for politics, it's all well and good, but let me quote the illustrious Monsieur Bowie:

My Brother's back at home with his Beatles and his stones/he never got it off on that revolution stuff/what a drag/too many snags/....

*which I still maintain loyalty to, cause it's as honest and legitamite expression of a part of my world as the 'Mats were (or The Cure or the Pistols were to others) but that's another thread.
posted by jonmc at 6:53 AM on September 19, 2003


If no other good thing in The Real World shall come of my multi-year involvement in this blue place, I swear that somehow, sometime jonmc and I shall spend at least one week drinking our fucking faces off and listening to the music that we both love so much, at extremely high volume.

With a whole buncha other folks too, but Jon and I must rock out together. Hail Satan!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:57 AM on September 19, 2003


Oh. mah man, one way or another, it will happen. I shall hoist one skyward tonight towards asia.
posted by jonmc at 8:02 AM on September 19, 2003


I shall hoist one skyward tonight towards asia

Dude, Asia is down, not up!

Seriously. I remember being the first or second kid in my suburuban Jersey high school to have MNtB and the first couple of Ramones albums. What a trip! This was a school where you had three choices: Dead, Allmans, or Zep. God help you otherwise. On the plus side, there was plenty of good weed to go around.
posted by billsaysthis at 3:05 PM on September 19, 2003


Stav and jonmc, I hoist one in both your directions (so what if a little splashes out while I swing the bottle, there's more where that came from). You are the rock heroes of MetaFilter. Can I add the New York Dolls to the great names already mentioned?
posted by languagehat at 4:57 PM on September 19, 2003


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