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The Punk Years
March 27, 2007 4:24 AM   Subscribe

The Punk Years, "A definitive history of the music that shook the world, looking at the origins and development of the punk rock movement as a social, historical, political and musical force. Achieved a record audience for Play UK on Saturday July 13th 2002." Parts 1: Wham Bam Thank You Glam [1,2,3] | 2: Year Zero [1,2,3] | 3: 1977 Never Get To Heaven [1,2,3] | 4: Take Three Chords [1,2,3] | 5: A Riot Of Your Own [1,2,3] | 6: Typical Girls [1,2,3] | 7: Ridicule Is Nothing To Be Scared Of [1,2,3] | 8: Punx Not Dead [1,2,3] | 9: Independents Days [1,2,3] | 10: California Uber Alles [1,2,3]. (via)
posted by kolophon (110 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

 
Display YouTube Video inline still doesn't work on the front page, unfortunately.
posted by kolophon at 4:28 AM on March 27, 2007


punk saved rock and roll
posted by caddis at 4:29 AM on March 27, 2007


This looks to be an impressive use of youtubery. I intend to go daft with this as soon as near a broadband connection. Thanks.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 4:29 AM on March 27, 2007


Awesome, thanks.... part 10 is the soundtrack of my youth
posted by Flashman at 4:34 AM on March 27, 2007


"A definitive history of the music that shook the world..."

Yeah, yeah, shook the world... punk didn't frickin' shake the world. Or, if it did, it did so for a very short time and for a relatively few people. This oft-repeated mythology of punk as destroyer of the old order of rock, of brazenly blazing new trails, etcetera and ad nauseum, has grown really tired. By and large no one listens now to the vast majority of punk acts from back in the day. They've mostly shown to have very little staying power. Little Richard, Elvis, the Beatles, you can say they shook the world. By the time punk came along, the days of pop music shaking the world were long gone, and they ain't coming back.

That said, I am looking forward to checking out the links posted here. Thanks!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:41 AM on March 27, 2007


Maybe not on the front page, but once you click inside it works fine.
posted by DU at 4:49 AM on March 27, 2007


punk saved rock and roll

I think that's true. Despite what flapjax says, the none of the bands had staying power or true mass appeal, what punk did was revolutionary. It took the means of production and distribution out of the hands of corporations with no stake in artistic integrity and the professional taste-makers, and back into the hands of the people making the music. I think that every subsequent generation that decides to go it the diy route uses the punk era as a template for that.

Not saying that this was a full on marxist revolution, but it did re-open the doors such that some of the more vital (but commercially unpalatable) voices could be heard again.
posted by psmealey at 5:21 AM on March 27, 2007


"Yeah, yeah, shook the world... if it did, it did so for a very short time and for a relatively few people... By and large no one listens now to the vast majority of punk acts from back in the day."

True as these statements may be, the impact of the spirit and attitude of punk was (and still is) massive. Even if the connections aren't immediately obvious, punk has influenced a very great deal of the music for the last 30 years or so.

Hell, half the groups that play guitars I hear on UK tv/radio are warmed over early 80's post-punk mush.
posted by MetaMonkey at 5:30 AM on March 27, 2007


Oh, also you can find these videos on google video if you prefer that.
posted by MetaMonkey at 5:34 AM on March 27, 2007


Damn, that would have been much easier to post and watch.
posted by kolophon at 5:44 AM on March 27, 2007


psmeasley, I wouldn't disagree with your assessment: when considered from the standpoint of diy independent production and distribution, then I suppose punk was what could be called revolutionary. At any rate, it was certainly more grass-roots than corporate, and I certainly wouldn't deny that that was a good thing. But I was speaking of artistic merit, and I would still maintain that the great majority of punk bands had little to none. They had excitement, they had adrenalin, they had what you needed for a sweaty rocking night out if you were a teen or twenty-something at the time, but that's about it. And it's not just "true mass appeal" I'm talking about when I say that punk has shown no staying power. I'd argue that more people are still listening, on a continuing basis, to, say the Delta blues of Charley Patton than are listening to vintage punk, but Charley Patton is not music of mass appeal either. I'm talking about artistic merit, which is often distinct from mass appeal.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:45 AM on March 27, 2007


By and large no one listens now to the vast majority of punk acts from back in the day. They've mostly shown to have very little staying power.

That's an interesting point, flapjax, but couldn't you say that about any kind of musical act? 40s Swing, 50s Rockabilly, 50s Pop, 60s psychedelia, 70s area rock... I'd say the vast majority of all musicial acts come and go with very little staying power. For every Elvis there were hundreds of forgotten rockabillies.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 5:47 AM on March 27, 2007


'arena rock', that is.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 5:49 AM on March 27, 2007


Well done I think. But oh, so many gaps (having only watched about four of these vids all the way through) --

Minor Threat? Yes, very important for understanding east coast American punk. But what about Fugazi? And what about NYC hardcore like Murphy's Law, Cro-Mags, etc.? Political and fun to boot.

Nirvana's In Utero was a failure? No, it was their best studio album, much more interesting than Nevermind IMO.

Green Day was that important? No, they weren't and aren't and will never be.

Rancid gets a nod for carrying the flag for west coast punk. All well and good. But how the fuck can you not mention Operation Ivy?

Totally IMO, but Bad Religion always get more attention than they deserve. Punk doesn't need three guitar players. But the nod to Epitaph Records is important, although perhaps for all the wrong reasons *cough* Offspring *cough*.

But overall, this is about as fair and balanced as punk reportage gets beyond the usual zomg Sex Pistols in the UK then the Ramones then Blink-182!

And they really slagged Blink-182, which is nice.

I'm far too old in my early 30's to any longer claim any punk cred, but it seems like a segment on No Wave to Japanese Noise (Boredoms) along with more Sonic Youth to the current scene, the bands who are too punk to even play established venues and end up playing abandoned warehouses, and who don't really give a fuck about guitars but just rhythms a la usaisamonster, Lightning Bolt, etc., would have been worth looking in to.

But yeah. Need coffee. Great post.
posted by bardic at 5:49 AM on March 27, 2007


flapjax: I think it's fair to say that punk did indeed shake the world. Like the rockabillies, 60's grage bands, and the hippies before it, it inspired countless young people to for bands, it also returned rock and roll to the virtues of brevity, concision and clarity and revitalized local club scenes and the idea of independent record labels. Plus, the cultural impact: the fact that a kid can walk around in purple hair and piercings without getting stared at is a direct result of punk as is a lot of the DIY revolution not only in music but 'zines and blogs.
posted by jonmc at 5:55 AM on March 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'd argue that more people are still listening, on a continuing basis, to, say the Delta blues of Charley Patton than are listening to vintage punk

Sorry, flapjax, I don't think that's the case.

Sex Pistols: Never Mind The Bollocks
Amazon Sales Rank #861

Charlie Patton: King of The Delta Blues
Amazon Sales Rank ##272,420

It's tricky to argue artistic merit. Why? Because artistic merit is highly subjective. ("Your favorite band sucks!") Was, say, Skip James more of an artist than Darby Crash? It's a matter of opinion.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:05 AM on March 27, 2007


flapjack: If you want artistic merit you want post-punk, not punk itself. Punk just laid some foundations and swept away some cobwebs imo, it's what came next that truly rocked.
posted by vbfg at 6:05 AM on March 27, 2007


bardic: re: Blink-182. When Travis Barker wears hats, don't you think he looks like a Bobblehead?
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:08 AM on March 27, 2007


Ok, I'm not surprised that Bollocks outsells Charley. But, hey, Bollocks is the Elvis of punk. There ain't another record from any other bona fide punk band of the era that comes anywhere near Bollocks, in sales, right? I'd clarify my earlier point, then, by saying vintage punk as a genre doesn't have as many continuing devoted listeners as the Delta blues as a genre.

But hell, I could be wrong about that, too... anyway...

*throws Bukka White CD on the player and grabs a cold beer*

posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:13 AM on March 27, 2007


(also they mention The Doord (the most overrated band in rock history) as a progenitor but not my beloved Dictators? For shame)
posted by jonmc at 6:14 AM on March 27, 2007


the Doors, dammit.

by saying vintage punk as a genre doesn't have as many continuing devoted listeners as the Delta blues as a genre.

I'd say it's a toss-up. and there's plenty of people who love both.
posted by jonmc at 6:15 AM on March 27, 2007


and there's plenty of people who love both.

For those who love both, I heartily recommend this album.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:30 AM on March 27, 2007


vintage punk as a genre

I know this isn't the underlying point, but to clarify, punk isn't a genre, it's an ethos, an approach. Lumping bands like Television, the Ramones and the Patti Smith Group into a monolithic genre causes a lot of nuance to be missed.
posted by psmealey at 6:32 AM on March 27, 2007


Oh, and jonmc, I couldn't agree with you more on the goddamn Doors. Ridiculously overrated.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:32 AM on March 27, 2007


Well, I for one liked the Doors. But I can't turn 15 again to tell you why exactly that was.
posted by kolophon at 6:34 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jonmc said everything I was going to.

Staying power != lasting influence.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:37 AM on March 27, 2007


(yeah, but even they had a few moments-'My Eyes have Seen You' 'Five To One'-but that had more to do with Robby Krieger than Jim 'Drunk With A Thesaurus' Morrison)

Also, I noticed that they talked a lot about the roots of punk in rockabilly. Now, I'm a huge rockabilly fan, but I've noticed that in most American discussions of punk the disucssion of it's roots generally turns to mid-60's American garage rock, which this film ignores. Come to think of it, this doc didn't mention the Velvet Underground or the MC5 or the Stooges either.
posted by jonmc at 6:38 AM on March 27, 2007


I'd say it's a toss-up. and there's plenty of people who love both.

*raises hand*
flapjax, thanks for that Elmo Williams recomendation. It looks great!

You guys know Cedell Davis? The Blues meets Sonic Youth.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:43 AM on March 27, 2007


God, I'm so tired of listening to people talk about punk.
posted by dobie at 6:43 AM on March 27, 2007


But it did. Mention Velvet Underground, I mean. Wasn't it in the first or second episode?
posted by kolophon at 6:44 AM on March 27, 2007


God, I'm so tired of listening to people talk about punk.

Then you're in the wrong thread, dobie.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:46 AM on March 27, 2007


yeah, but even they had a few moments

Sure. But for every decent lyric like "break on through to the other side" there were 50 along the lines of "like a dog without a bone or an actor out alone"...

And on the subject of lyrics, anybody got any memorable punk lyrics that can, y'know, move you? I'm drawing a blank, except for a couple from, you guessed it, Bollocks.

Come to think of it, this doc didn't mention the Velvet Underground or the MC5 or the Stooges either.

That's bogus.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:49 AM on March 27, 2007


And thank you, FM, for the Cedell link. Didn't know the name, gonna check him out.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:52 AM on March 27, 2007


I'm so tired of listening to people talk about punk.

Why do all these homosexuals keep sucking my cock?
posted by psmealey at 6:53 AM on March 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


the fact that a kid can walk around in purple hair and piercings without getting stared at is a direct result of punk as is a lot of the DIY revolution

This is true. But part of the damage punk has done (and this doesn't have anything to do with jonmc's point) is codify what's "punk" so that you can walk around St. Marks and see kids who think they're being revolutionary, and they're dressed thirty years out of fashion. While I really like a lot of the music (and the Rhino No Thanks! box set is a great buy for casual punk fans, BTW), punk needs to be taken out and shot so the punk kids can get into gleep-glop or whatever the next thing is going to be.
posted by Bookhouse at 6:54 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Memorable punk lyrics that move me? 'Search and Destroy' leaps immediately to mind. I love Iggy's writing. 'TV Party' by Black Flag. 'Bonzo Goes To Bitburg' by The Ramones. There's plenty of great punk lyrics. But of course, like most lyrics, it's not what you say, it's how you say it. What looks stupid on paper ("She loves you, yeah yeah yeah") can sound awe-inspiring to the ear.

Bookhouse: 'gleep-glop!' I believe that's what Alex listens to in 'A Clockwork Orange.'
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 7:01 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


flapjax, just a few words:

The Ramones and the Clash

Now, I think that either of these groups, in the capacity that they are listened to and understood by a mass audience are not exactly the greatest bands to come out of punk's first wave (I think people listen to all the wrong Clash songs for all the wrong reasons) but the fact of the matter is that they listen, they're still incredibly popular (London Calling: #491 on Amazon). They're hugely influential, and even if no one's ever heard of the Adverts or early Mekons, for example, they've had a humongous impact, and the edification of a handful of artists from a given musical 'genre' over time is an oft-repeated process and, I suspect, a major strategy for how the record industry profits off old music.

On to the second point--if you don't think 1970s punk has artistic merit, you either need to listen to more 1970s punk or redefine your definition of artistic merit. Or just get rid of an outdated and elitist term entirely.
posted by Subcommandante Cheese at 7:03 AM on March 27, 2007


'gleep-glop!' I believe that's what Alex listens to in 'A Clockwork Orange.'

A bit of the ol' Ludwig van Gleep-Glop.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:04 AM on March 27, 2007


anybody got any memorable punk lyrics that can, y'know, move you?

'we're the members of the master race, we got no style and we got no taste'

'D-U-M-B, everyone's accusing me'

'my favorite part of growing up is getting sick and throwing up'

'the wigglin' guitars, girl, the crash of the drums, if you want to keep on rockin' till morning comes, let me be who I am, and let me kick out the jams...'

(I'm goofing, but I do have a point. Sometimes, when rock gets too caught up in poetic or artistic ambitions or pretensions it loses it's connection the primal energy that set it apart in the first place. Punk at it's best is about maintaining that connection.

But part of the damage punk has done (and this doesn't have anything to do with jonmc's point) is codify what's "punk"

Oh, I'd be the last person to deny that a lot of self-proclaimed 'punks' are as conformist and narrow-minded as what they claim to denounce but you could say that about any subculture.

they're dressed thirty years out of fashion.


*spikes hair, inserts screw-head earrings, puts on Ramones tee and motorcycle jacket*

who you callin' out of fashion??
posted by jonmc at 7:09 AM on March 27, 2007


de artistic merit non es disputandum
posted by psmealey at 7:09 AM on March 27, 2007


A bit of the ol' Ludwig van Gleep-Glop

Whoops! You're right of course, flapjax. Alex listens to Beethoven. Those girls he picks up in the record store listen to 'Gleep Glop': nothing but strange futuristic electronic tones.

Come on, brain! Wake up!
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 7:12 AM on March 27, 2007


you either need to listen to more 1970s punk or redefine your definition of artistic merit. Or just get rid of an outdated and elitist term entirely.

Actually, I've listened to a good deal of 70's punk, and, well, it's just not really my thing. Not tops on my list. So, when I use the term artistic merit, it just means what has merit for me. That's all. I don't mean to come off as elitist, and I don't think that I am an elitist: I don't judge anyone, or hold them in low regard, because of their personal taste in music. That would be elitist. But there's just so much music that really speaks to me and has so much more to teach me than punk. For me, compared to so many other kinds of music, punk is basically a one-trick pony.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:21 AM on March 27, 2007


punk is basically a one-trick pony.

I dunno, any genre that can claim both say, Wire and Television at one end of the spectrum and The Dictators and Supersuckers at the other end is fairly broad, I think.
posted by jonmc at 7:24 AM on March 27, 2007


The punk band I've been listening to a lot lately is the X-Ray Spex, who did their part to expand the sound.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:27 AM on March 27, 2007


your favorite genre sucks.
posted by empath at 7:32 AM on March 27, 2007


X-Ray Spex were wonderful, and if you like them you should check out Lora Logic—I went through a phase of haunting record stores trying to find copies of her singles and EPs (with her band Essential Logic). Yeah, she later joined the Krishnas, but whatareyagonnado? Better than burn-out-die-young, I guess.
posted by languagehat at 7:32 AM on March 27, 2007


Wire and Television at one end...

Does Wire really count as a punk band? Just askin'.

Speaking of Television, ever hear Tom Verlaine's instrumental record Warm and Cool? Released in '92, it's been re-released (2005) by Thrill Jockey. Great stuff, absolutley lovely.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:33 AM on March 27, 2007


Punk certainly cannot be limited by the KICK-SNARE-KICK-SNARE-KICK-SNARE beat, because if that were the case Blink 182 would be Punk, and they aren't.

In fact, if that were the case, Punk could be reduced to a rhythm setting on digital keyboard, like "waltz" "polka" "foxtrot" or "shuffle."

The Violent Femmes were more "Punk" than Green Day (who aren't punk at all), despite the fact they never utilized the stereotypical "Punk" beat.
posted by sourwookie at 7:39 AM on March 27, 2007


Does Wire really count as a punk band? Just askin'.

Wire's debut album Pink Flag is as punk as punk could be.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 7:48 AM on March 27, 2007


Wire's debut album Pink Flag is as punk as punk could be.

D'oh! *slaps head*
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:50 AM on March 27, 2007


It took the means of production and distribution out of the hands of corporations with no stake in artistic integrity and the professional taste-makers, and back into the hands of the people making the music.

yeah, i love myspace too.
posted by brevator at 8:06 AM on March 27, 2007


I don't mean to come off as elitist, and I don't think that I am an elitist

You do and you are.

Punk means whatever it does mean - trying to define it as a certain genre or ethos or whatever is ridiculously difficult because there is always gonna be some jackass who is going to flap their trap about what Punk "really" is. And that's kind of the whole point. Punk is what you make it.

If you want to define Punk as an ehthos, than Green Day, Mest, hell, even New Found Glory are "punk" (and if you don't believe me, study where they came from and how they started). If you define Punk as a sound, then you get into the lovely arguements about LA, UK, NYC, DC, Hardcore, Straight Edge, melodic hardcore, surf, pop, and every other scene or term that came into being. "I don't listen to punk - I listen to hardcore" is what you're gonna hear over and over again. Oh, and then you can throw in discussions about skins, racist skins, blah blah blah as well. And still some asshole will come in and define what 'punk' is. And it's usually someone who doesn't even like or understand it - nor do they care.

And as long as some kid out there is getting beaten up by some jock over their studded leather jacket, then punk is gonna matter to someone.
posted by Stynxno at 8:06 AM on March 27, 2007


And as long as some kid out there is getting beaten up by some jock over their studded leather jacket, then punk is gonna matter to someone.

Duuuuude, that is so deep.

You do and you are.

You kind of a jerk, ain'tcha?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:11 AM on March 27, 2007


Punk means whatever it does mean

"Punks in the original sense of the word , were the sort of people who were such hopeless losers that they couldn't even be convincing as outlaws; far from romanticizing that status, the Ramones glorified their own inadequacy....and yet they were genuinely sexy,too; in spite of everything they were cool." - Tom Carson

That's what it always meant to me. The endless arrguing about 'cred' and who's-punker-than-who kind of defeat the purpose to my ears.
posted by jonmc at 8:17 AM on March 27, 2007


flapjax: I like your style, but stynx is an old buddy of mine and the signatory witness at my wedding; he's a good guy, so holster it a bit.
posted by jonmc at 8:18 AM on March 27, 2007


Of course Green Day is punk -- both words and genres evolve. (Also, it's not that hard to trace a line from the Buzzcocks to Green Day -- too easy, in fact). A song doesn't have to sound like Rocket 88 to be labled rock & roll.

(to quote myself)
posted by Bookhouse at 8:19 AM on March 27, 2007


Bollocks.
posted by Webbster at 8:23 AM on March 27, 2007


Nevermind.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:25 AM on March 27, 2007


ah my halcyon days, spent shoplifting for wattie buchan in wester hailes......
posted by sgt.serenity at 8:26 AM on March 27, 2007


By and large no one listens now to the vast majority of punk acts from back in the day.

Bunk. I listen to them all the time, and what am I, chopped liver? Maybe not, but I doubt I'm unique in this.


If you want artistic merit you want post-punk, not punk itself. Punk just laid some foundations and swept away some cobwebs imo, it's what came next that truly rocked.

Also bunk. Killing Joke, frinstance, does not rock.

(And while I'm at it, your favorite band sucks.)
posted by scratch at 8:30 AM on March 27, 2007


Also bunk. Killing Joke, frinstance, does not rock.

Oh, you had to fucking go there, didn't cha? How on God's green earth could you come to that conclusion? Killing Joke not only rocks, the shake the whole apparatus to the ground. From the first eponymous record, throught their dancier period all the way through to the record they put out last year, Killing Joke does indeed rock.

As for the rest of post punk, I submit the Gang of Four, the first few Siouxsie records, Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures and quite a few others too numerous to mention. All. Rocked.
posted by psmealey at 8:35 AM on March 27, 2007


This is boooring. Let's go do some crimes.
posted by Flashman at 8:42 AM on March 27, 2007


Your favorite band does/does not suck/rock. [NOT ELITIST]
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:44 AM on March 27, 2007


yes, flashman. Let's have sushi and not pay.
posted by jonmc at 8:47 AM on March 27, 2007


What about our relationship?
posted by psmealey at 8:49 AM on March 27, 2007


Let's go do some crimes.

Let's have sushi and not pay.

As they made they thought would be their unnoticed, surreptitious exit from the restaurant, jonmc felt the cold hand-hammered steel of the sushi master's blade, expertly thrown from behind the bar, as it entered his back just to the side of his left shoulder blade. Flashman wound up with a chopstick in each eye.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:57 AM on March 27, 2007


chopsticks dipped in wasabi no less
posted by Flashman at 9:03 AM on March 27, 2007


Flashman wound up with a chopstick in each eye.

and falls into a plate of shrimp.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:05 AM on March 27, 2007


Plus, the cultural impact: the fact that a kid can walk around in purple hair and piercings without getting stared at is a direct result of punk as is a lot of the DIY revolution not only in music but 'zines and blogs.

I'm seeing multiple mentions of "DIY" in a punk thread which strikes me as strange. Like any style the fathers of punk would have to be self-made...I mean that's a given for a nascent style else from where did it arise?

But the notion that it was DIY as a philosophy when an overwhelming majority of punk has been openly collectivist is a bit strange.

In fact, punk was a reaction against the proto-progressive british rock movement that openly embraced individualism. Punk's empowerment came from the deliberate banality and simplicity allowing mostly any musician to excel, thus taking power out of the hands of the rock god and placing it in the audience.
posted by kigpig at 9:54 AM on March 27, 2007


"Yeah, yeah, shook the world... punk didn't frickin' shake the world. Or, if it did, it did so for a very short time and for a relatively few people."

It sure didn't shake my world, but then I was living in the rural midwest US at the time .... Much later, I was sorry, and tried to catch up.

It probably shook the world for teens of that time as much as '65-70 did for us boomers. Just as PLUR did much more recently. Music is a kids' revolution after all.

Of the books I've seen, I learned from Greil Marcus' "Lipstick Traces" that "punk" is a recurring earthquake. And Jon Savage's "England's Dreaming".
posted by Twang at 10:18 AM on March 27, 2007


I'm seeing multiple mentions of "DIY" in a punk thread which strikes me as strange....

....allowing mostly any musician to excel, thus taking power out of the hands of the rock god and placing it in the audience.


In other words, encouraging people to Do It Themselves? Yeah, exactly.

I think you're putting a political spin on the phrase DIY that maybe shouldn't be there. The issue here isn't individual vs. collective — it's amateur vs. professional, with a nice helping of enthusiasm vs. "good taste" on the side.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:23 AM on March 27, 2007


Well, for some wacky reason, I thought the "California Uber Alles" part was actually going to be about Cali Hardcore. I'll definitely check out the whole series, but that's kind of annoying.

Thanks for posting this! I'm going to start from the beginning now.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:41 AM on March 27, 2007


i used to like that bbc series called 'the rock and roll years' where it would combine history with music, you'd have footage of the helicopter taking off from the roof of the american embassy in saigon and then it would cut to the sweet in the top of the pops studio singing 'wig wam bam' - it was a fantastically tasteless programme : )
posted by sgt.serenity at 10:47 AM on March 27, 2007


Also: for anyone who hasn't seen The Decline of Western Civilization and needs more West Coast Hardcore in their lives, it's more or less all on YT.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:59 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks for that, oneirodynia. I thought that last part was the weakest of the series. A bit more hardcore (or hardcore-punk, like Bad Brains) wouldn't have hurt the documentation.

I don't really like punk rock.
posted by kolophon at 11:29 AM on March 27, 2007


Sure. But for every decent lyric like "break on through to the other side" there were 50 along the lines of "like a dog without a bone or an actor out alone"...

Makes more sense if you read "actor out on loan," referring to the old studio system. If you're gonna whack at Jim "Poet Dilaudaureate" Morrison, aim for "The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat):


I wanna tell you 'bout Texas Radio and the Big Beat
Comes out of the Virginia swamps
Cool and slow with plenty of precision
With a back beat narrow and hard to master

Some call it heavenly in it's brilliance
Others, mean and rueful of the Western dream
I love the friends I have gathered together on this thin raft
We have constructed pyramids in honor of our escaping
This is the land where the Pharaoh died

The Negroes in the forest brightly feathered
They are saying, "Forget the night.
Live with us in forests of azure.
Out here on the perimeter there are no stars
Out here we is stoned - immaculate."

Listen to this, and I'll tell you 'bout the heartache
I'll tell you 'bout the heartache and the lose of God
I'll tell you 'bout the hopeless night
The meager food for souls forgot
I'll tell you 'bout the maiden with wrought iron soul

I'll tell you this
No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn

I'll tell you 'bout Texas Radio and the Big Beat
Soft drivin', slow and mad, like some new language

Now, listen to this, and I'll tell you 'bout the Texas
I'll tell you 'bout the Texas Radio
I'll tell you 'bout the hopeless night
Wandering the Western dream
Tell you 'bout the maiden with wrought iron soul




Now, THAT's some steamingly pretentious crap.
posted by beelzbubba at 12:49 PM on March 27, 2007


Metafilter: I don't really like punk rock.
posted by psmealey at 1:39 PM on March 27, 2007


hah - plate of shrimp
posted by vronsky at 2:20 PM on March 27, 2007


I'll tell you about plate of shrimp. Plate of shrimp is a term used by dilletantes and heartless manipulators about music that takes up the energies, and the bodies and the hearts of young men who give what they have to it, and give everything they have to it . It's a term that's based on contempt,on fashion, style, elitism, satanism, and everything that's rotten about rock and roll.
posted by Flashman at 2:34 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


ever get the feeling you've been cheated?
posted by brevator at 3:43 PM on March 27, 2007


"Anybody can pick up a guitar and be just like us!" --Mr. John Lydon, c. 1977.
posted by gimonca at 5:19 PM on March 27, 2007


"And it's not just "true mass appeal" I'm talking about when I say that punk has shown no staying power. I'd argue that more people are still listening, on a continuing basis, to, say the Delta blues of Charley Patton than are listening to vintage punk, but Charley Patton is not music of mass appeal either. I'm talking about artistic merit, which is often distinct from mass appeal."

Haha! How did I miss this horseshit? Y'all are hilarious.

First off, let's get our terms straight. I get the sense that you don't have any idea what punk is, what vintage punk is, or how it relates to music history. When you say "Vintage Punk" you mean, what, '77? Or do Americans count too?
Like, '77, that's really Sex Pistols, The Damned, The Clash. That's what people mean when they talk about the '77 sound.
After that, you get the Buzzcocks and Generation X and the X-Ray Spex. And I guarantee that more folks listen to that today than Charley Patton & company.

As for great lyrics? Buzzcocks again, or X-Ray Spex. From "Ever Fallen In Love" to "Warrior in Woolworths" to The Jam's "Down in a Tube Station at Midnight," there're a raft of great moments. C'mon: "smelled of pubs and Wormwood Scrubs and too many right-wing meetings," is a great line.

As for lasting influence, well, it's a fool's game to argue punk against the blues— Punk was the blues, or more specifically the rhythm and blues. The line from Hooker's boogie-woogie to the Clash City Rockers ("need a little dose of electrical shockers") is pretty short, actually. That was what made bands like The Clash great— it was rock and roll, stripped down of all the Emerson, Lake and Palmer cruft (and don't get me wrong, I love me some prog).

So, yeah, you're just kinda coming off as a dad-rocker who doesn't get it and doesn't know enough to get it. But just posting "I don't like punk rock and I don't know why anyone would" wouldn't be as much fun, now would it?
posted by klangklangston at 7:16 PM on March 27, 2007


The Clash performing White Riot at the Anti-Nazi League nicely encapsulates the music, politics and the "spirit" of 1978.
posted by aliendolphin at 9:11 PM on March 27, 2007


ahhhhhh

just threw "westway to the world" on finally and am enjoyoing the boys on tube as this crosses the wireless on MeFi. RIP Joe. RIP Sid. RIP Ian.
posted by mwhybark at 10:01 PM on March 27, 2007


But just posting "I don't like punk rock and I don't know why anyone would" wouldn't be as much fun, now would it?

jeez, klang, you're a prickly pear, aren't you? But the reason I didn't write that is because it's not true that I don't like punk. Punk is ok. If I had to choose between punk and folk music from Mali as the only music to listen to for the rest of my life, I'd choose Mali in a heartbeat, but that doesn't mean I hate punk. And it would also be incorrect to say "I don't know why anyone would". It's easy enough to know why people like punk. Punk's loud, full of energy, easy to understand right away. No big mystery, really. But indeed, posting my opinions, as I did, instead of posting something like you've suggested I should've posted (even if it were true) actually is more fun, thank you. My comments engendered a number of other comments in reply (most of which rather less aggressive and accusatory than yours), and a discussion grew. I like a discussion, that's why I post comments to MetFilter.

And I guarantee that more folks listen to that today than Charley Patton & company

You know, I jokingly said way upthread that I was probably wrong about all that. Taking this a wee bit seriously, aren't we? But that's cool: people should be passionate about music, nothing wrong with that. You see, son, us dad-rockers (and in fact I'm probably old enough to be your dad, you little smart-ass whippersnapper you!) have been around long enough to know that it's a big ol' world full of music out there. I reckon there's plenty I could teach you, about all sorts of music. But that probably wouldn't be as much fun for you as slagging me off about punk, now would it?

And I guess I should play the dad thing up now, shake my fist and say "stay off my lawn". But in fact you're welcome on my lawn. However, when you do decide to pay me a visit, just show a little respect, college boy.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:38 PM on March 27, 2007


I spent half the night watching this stuff and all I could think at the end was, "Oh yeah, this is a UK punk documentary, where Malcolm McClaren took Richard Hell's ripped t-shirts and made it an industry." I don't mean that as snarkily as it seems, it's just that punk to me was and is about DIY. When you get bored, you do it yourself. This doesn't mean you have to sound like the Ramones (or GBH or the Descendants, where the FUCK were the Descendants in that last bit?) and it doesn't mean anything other than this is what punk rock meant to me, but really, even with the little interjections from John Lydon about how cute Poly Styrene was or how he invented a genre or whatever, this just seems to be all about commodifying your dissent and then hating those who buy it.
posted by sleepy pete at 11:03 PM on March 27, 2007


Haha, I didn't mean to come across so caustically. Perhaps I need more emoticons.

"Punk's loud, full of energy, easy to understand right away. No big mystery, really."

Well, except for the point that punk's not necessarily any of those things. And fetishizing some Malian other does you no favors; I remember an Indian co-worker who didn't understand why we all liked Ashe Bhosle in the office.
"If you could only understand what she's saying... it's so STUPID."
'Course, he had a hard-on for Paul Oakenfeld, so excuse me if I don't take him as an arbeiter.

"You see, son, us dad-rockers (and in fact I'm probably old enough to be your dad, you little smart-ass whippersnapper you!) have been around long enough to know that it's a big ol' world full of music out there. I reckon there's plenty I could teach you, about all sorts of music. But that probably wouldn't be as much fun for you as slagging me off about punk, now would it?"

Now, there's two things in that statement that are worth pointing out. One, I don't doubt you could teach me a fair amount about music. I suck up music like a sponge, and am always looking to hear more. The second part, and the part that rankles, is that you sound so goddamned condescending about it. I'll cop to not having a detailed appreciation of pre-war music, be it jazz or blues or pop. But I'm willing to listen and to take things as they come. I'd contrast that with the vibe I'm getting offa you regarding punk— you've decided to dismiss it, like the clichéd dismissal of abstract expressionism, and without really knowing enough about it to make any definitive statements. Might as well say people only like Elvis because he's fast and loud— you miss the point (but at least you never have to mention his movies). Further, you seem to see music as these unconnected moments, these fits and starts, like a dieselling engine. I don't believe that's true, and I think it does more harm than good.
But hey, I'm loving the best of I picked up of Girls Aloud.
Just don't discount the fact that me, at 27, could school your ass on a huge range of music, from Southeast Asian psych through avant jazz, or Motown subsidiary soul singles, or even the ouvre of wrestlers who have released albums. Just being older and knowing a bit more about dad rock doesn't give you special entree into the magical land of critical authority. Learn from jonmc's example on that one, lord knows I'm tryin' to.

Oh, and the blues-punk example you were looking for upthread? That'd be the RL Burnside's A Ass Pocket Of Whiskey, which features Jon Spencer. Like I said, there's no distance between punk and blues.
posted by klangklangston at 11:04 PM on March 27, 2007


That's the Descendents, not the Descendants, Milo going to college and all...
posted by sleepy pete at 11:33 PM on March 27, 2007


I'm hearing you klang, and apologies for the condescension. You were pretty caustic, though, and that's what brought it on.

Malian music? There's no "fetishizing" of any "other" going on with me and Malian music. I just really fucking like it. It moves me. As does a lot of other folk stuff from a lot of other countries from all over, including much more close to home stuff like, say, Roscoe Holcomb. You're wrong about the fetishizing, and, well, you'll just have to take my word for that.

"Punk's loud, full of energy, easy to understand right away..."
Well, except for the point that punk's not necessarily any of those things.


Now, klang, here's where you can perhaps educate an old-timer like me. Please point me to some punk (and I mean what would really be categorized, normally, by most educated listeners, as punk) that isn't loud, full of energy, and easy to understand right away. I'm curious.

the blues-punk example you were looking for upthread?

I wasn't looking for an example upthread, I was
recommending one. I've heard Ass Pocket several times, and IMO that one doesn't come close to Burnside's other releases: the Blues Explosion's feel is just way too stiff for me. If you don't know the Elmo Williams from my link upthread, well, again it's highly recommended. Gotta be the punkiest blues record I've ever heard. Those guys are just totally 'fuck you'.

And the whole punk/blues distance question is an interesting one. I think your statement "no distance between" might be a little bit facile, though I don't disagree with you entirely. Have to give that one a little more thought.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:46 PM on March 27, 2007


Sorry, one extra point, regarding this:

Might as well say people only like Elvis because he's fast and loud

But Elvis wasn't only fast and loud, see. He was much more multi-dimensional and nuanced than that: his material covered country-esque ballads, all sorts of different tempos and rhythmic feels... Now, the Sex Pistols, on the other hand, were only fast and loud. Not that that's bad per se, but that's basically what I meant when I called punk a one-trick pony upthread. And yes, yes, I know the Pistols don't single-handedly represent all punk...

So anyway, klang, I'll be waiting for those not-loud, not-full-of-energy punk examples, when you have the time.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:02 AM on March 28, 2007


What I have heard of your drumming has been highly enjoyable, flapjax.
posted by Wolof at 1:11 AM on March 28, 2007


Gosh Wolof, thanks! One of the best off-topic comments I've heard all day! :-)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:48 AM on March 28, 2007


Well, bassplayers tend to dig drummers.

Also, staggering amount of great music out of Mali, including some very very hip updates on the blues.

posted by Wolof at 3:57 AM on March 28, 2007


some very very hip updates on the blues.

Well put, Wolof. Which reminds me, back on topic now, that there's rather less distance between Mali and the blues than between punk and the blues.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:03 AM on March 28, 2007


Now, the Sex Pistols, on the other hand, were only fast and loud. Not that that's bad per se, but that's basically what I meant when I called punk a one-trick pony upthread. And yes, yes, I know the Pistols don't single-handedly represent all punk...

All due respect there flapjax, you condtradicted yourself and then tried to equivocate out of it. What was your? Punk = one trick pony. Sex Pistols = one trick pony. Sex Pistols = Punk, except Sex Pistols != Punk. I don't understand.

And I want my fucking pony.
posted by psmealey at 4:12 AM on March 28, 2007


you condtradicted yourself and then tried to equivocate out of it.

Hmmm... maybe i shoulda been a politician! But your quoting my comment alerted me to a crucial typo there. It should have read: "now that's not bad per se" as opposed to the double "that's" that got posted. But, to clarify, my "sex Pistols doesn't = ALL punk" comment was hastily included to forestall what I assumed would be the immediate reply, which would've gone something like: "BUT SEX PISTOLS DOESN'T = ALL PUNK!" Did I do that because I can't argue my point authoritatively, i.e. trot out numerous contradictory examples from my vast collection of obscure punk rock? Well, yes, admittedly, that's what I did. But not so much because I'm trying to hide my ignorance, but rather that I genuinely hoped klang (maybe he's gone to bed), might go one step beyond the immediate reaction ("punk's not just the Pistols!") and actually start to show me some examples of how punk is really not a one-trick pony. Kinda tying into my asking him for examples of not-loud punk. That was my intention.

And... you can have yer fuckin' pony! Enjoy the ride! ;-)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:52 AM on March 28, 2007


Ah, jesus, wait a minute... there was nothing wrong with the "not that that's bad" bit. I'm starting to lose the ability to read.

If not to think...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:55 AM on March 28, 2007


Dig a pony.
posted by Wolof at 5:11 AM on March 28, 2007


Awesome. Thanks for the fuckin' pony, Flapjax!
posted by psmealey at 5:15 AM on March 28, 2007


Well, as Wilson Pickett sang:

Got to know how to pony
Like boney Maronie!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:48 AM on March 28, 2007


Roman Maroni? I come to this sumanumbatching country and take away my fargin' rights. Corksuckers. Bastiges.
posted by psmealey at 5:57 AM on March 28, 2007


Hey, my friend, it will be better for your children. They have-a the bright future. They have-a the post-a punk!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:40 AM on March 28, 2007


"Now, klang, here's where you can perhaps educate an old-timer like me. Please point me to some punk (and I mean what would really be categorized, normally, by most educated listeners, as punk) that isn't loud, full of energy, and easy to understand right away. I'm curious."

Well, we can either go one of two ways with this— I can go with bands that were considered "punk" or part of the punk scene that did songs that weren't loud, full of energy and easy to understand. Or, I can stick to the gist of what I was saying— that most punk songs are at least one of those things, but rarely all three.
(And we'll ignore the begging the question with deciding what is and isn't punk. If you've defined it as being catagorized by normal folks as loud, fast and full of energy, I'm gonna take the dodge on "educated").

Going through the first example paradigm (though the "easy to understand is always a difficult and subjective thing):
Protopunk:
The Stooges— We Will Fall
The Velvet Underground— Heroin
Suicide— Franky Teardrop

NY Punks:
Talking Heads— Don't Worry About the Government (on their first, punkest album, '77)
Blondie— Denise

UK Punks:
Television Personality— Part Time Punks
The Clash— White Man in Hammersmith Palais
The Jam— Fly

As for the second paradigm, where we're going for one or two of those criteria, but not all:
Kleenex/Lilliput— Eiseger Wind
Dolly Mixture— Ms. Candy Twist
Teenage Jesus and the Jerks— Orphans
GG Allin— I Kill Everything I Fuck
Violent Femmes— Blister in the Sun
The Tubes— White Punks on Dope
Magazine— I'm A Party
Mars— Outside Africa
XTC— Dance Band
X-Ray Spex— Highly Inflammable
Raincoats— Adventures Close To Home
The Clash— Wrong 'em Boyo
The Clash— Spanish Bombs
The Clash— Rebel Waltz

And I can keep going. For example, the distance between punk and post-punk is imaginary. Bands like The Adverts, The Television Personalities, The Clash and Magazine were all there from the start, and bands like Joy Division, Siouxie and the Banshees and Bauhaus started just after the Sex Pistols. The Pop Group released We Are Time on Rough Trade in '78. You've either got to be so narrow in your definition of punk, and so ignorant of context, that only bands like The Sex Pistols count or you've got to admit that punk was huge and amorphous, and was instrumental in changing the way that people thought about music as a narrow set of constraints. It was often amatuerish, but not always, it was often loud and violent, but not always, it was often simple, but not always. It was a movement, a fashion statement, a distribution method, a lifestyle, and a musical genre. But saying that it's always loud, energetic and easy to understand is like saying the same thing about rock and roll— it's just not the right way to think about it, any more than saying that jazz has to have the downbeat swing. If Miles Davis's In a Silent Way is jazz, then Sonic Youth's Confusion is Sex is punk. Or Nirvana's In Utero is punk. Or the Au Pairs' Different Sex is punk.
posted by klangklangston at 7:33 AM on March 28, 2007


Cool, klang! Now if you'd just, er, make me a mix tape... ;-)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:36 AM on March 28, 2007


group hug!
posted by mwhybark at 3:56 PM on March 28, 2007


group hug!

That wouldn't be very punk...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:57 PM on March 28, 2007


What, no mention of Mopsie Beans!
posted by tellurian at 11:05 PM on March 28, 2007


Don't know the Mopsies, but when it comes to Aussie bands, I sure do likes me some Birthday Party.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:56 PM on March 28, 2007


You'll get no argument from me on that sentiment. Cave would have to be one of the (if not the) best musicians to have come out of Australia.
posted by tellurian at 12:15 AM on March 29, 2007


If you like the Birthday Party, you will dig their 90s descendants, The Jesus Lizard and their 00s grandchildren The Paper Chase.

I always kind of bristled when folks suggested the Lizard was a ripoff of the Birthday Party because they were one of my all time favorite live acts and I had no knowledge of the Birthday Party at that point... but I came to love both equally.
posted by psmealey at 7:29 AM on March 29, 2007


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