THE HISTORY OF PUNK ROCK Punk rock is a style of music that originated in 1964 in New York City at an underground club called The Dom. This little known club at the time was the catalyst that started punk on the road to what it is today (History Punk). Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols was quoted saying; Punk was created as a cure for boredom. (Punk History). He sure has one thing correct; one certainly can not be bored while listening to punk rock.The hard core guitar rhythm, slashing bass line, and hard fast drum beat make punk music that one must dance to.
Punk rock is a style of music that has recently started its comeback. Punk rock from the past has affected many of todays top artists and this has had a dramatic affect on the todays music industry. Although there is considerable influence from past bands that does not mean there has not been a considerable change in the area of punk rock itself.
The Stooges are a punk band formed in New York by punk great Iggy Pop. He formed the band in 1966 and the members could hardly play their instruments.This did not discourage them pursuing their dream of being a great punk rock band though. They continually practiced until finally three years later in 1969 their first album was released. This was the start of mainstream punk (Punk History). In 1975 the punk scene shifted from New York to Detroit, where it stayed for the next 15 years (Punk History). Also in 1975 a band by the name of The Ramones formed.
They released there first, self entitled album in 1976. The lack of originality is said to have been the key factor in creation of the Ramones sound. They wanted to put the step back into music. They brought back the 2-minute song many found reminiscent of early rock and roll (Chord Wonders). On July 4, 1976 the Romones performed their first concert in London. This concert had a dramatic effect on Britain.
It inspired such great bands as the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Damned, and Generation X. This was the spark that generated the British Punk frenzy (Chord Wonders). British punks had the do it yourself attitude, and emphasized individuality and self-expression.
They rebelled against the music of the 70s and the social, economic and political climate of England at the time. But the area that British punks rebelled against the most was fashion.They did this to the extent that they created there own fashion (The Pit). The first major band to develop in England was the Sex Pistols. They took the ametureristic style of the Ramones and added a streak of nihilism, meaning they had an anarchic sound, creating a sound and an image that is still the ideal in punk rock today (Greeil 34). The fast guitar rhythm, sometimes out of tune, was the main feature of the Sex Pistols. Combine that with Sid Vicious slaughtering the bass lines, the nihilistic lyrics of Johnny Rotton, and a hard core drum and you have what most consider the greatest punk band of all time.Rotton, lead singer, and Vicious are looked upon as two of the all time great punks, contributing both musically and fashionably to the punk scene.
Vicious often played at gigs drunk or high on heroin. These antics by Vicious earned the band more press about their offstage antics then their actual music performance (Chord Wonders). Another great punk legend, The Clash, was started in 1978. The Clash was more idealistic the Sex Pistols, but they were no less aggressive (Greil 76). They were very instrumental in the development of todays punk bands.
Bands such as Sublime, Operation Ivy, and Rancid are just a few examples of bands that base their music on the style of the Clash. The style with which the Clash play utilizes the ska and reggae beat making the guitar sound higher pitched. This style and technique is what got the Clash voted best album by Rolling Stones in 1980 (History Punk).
One thing that made all punks stand out was their fashion taste or should I say lack of fashion. Punks would wear fetishwear, bondage trousers, and obscene T-shirts. In fact the manager of the Sex Pistols even owned a punk clothing store called SEX for these so-called anti-fashion advocates (Greil 136).
The punk anti-fashion movement went so far that one person was quoted as saying, The real greatness of punk is that is can develop an entire subculture. That is exactly what the punks wanted (The Pit). As time has gone by punk has not changed much in the sense of the technique used when it first formed in the mid 1960s. It still relies on three chords usually, although today some punk bands are adding more lead into their music. The lyrics are usually repetitive, and the hard core guitar, smashing bass, and loud, fast drums are still there (Chord Wonders).Rancid is one example of a band that revisits the roots of punk music, bashing out songs in as punchy and rowdy and unaffected way as ever. Tim Armstrong, guitar/vocals, Matt Freeman, bass and Jesse Micheals, drums, formed Rancid in 1987.
Micheals left in 1989 after becoming a Buddhist Monk and Brett Reed became the new drummer. In 1993 a second guitarist Lars Fredrikson joined the band. With this as their line up, the current cast of Rancid has become one of the biggest punk bands of this decade (Richard et al 710). In 1990 while attending Berkley University in California, a fellow by the name of Billy Joe Armstrong decided to get a band together.He went out and asked two of his friends Mike Dirnt and Frank Edwin Wright III if they would join his band. They agreed and thus Sweet Children was formed (Richard et al 381). It you are wandering why you have not heard of the Sweet Children. It is because they never put out an album under that name.
They changed their name to Green Day, a band that did put out an album and is probably the most famous punk band of all time.Green Day now has four hit records out and they are constantly thinking of new ways to make punk rock as much fun as possible. They have just recently added a horn section to the band (Richard et al 386). The reason that Green Day has been so successful is that they went back to the 70s style of British punk (Richard et al 386). Green Day is an example of one of the changes from the 70s scene of punks.
While the 70s punks were anti-school and pro-drug Green Day is just the opposite.They encourage kids to finish their education and stay off drugs. Lead singer and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong discussed what Americas problem is with the educational system. He is quoted saying, What is needed I America is less sports, more paintings, less Joe Montana, more Van Gogh! (Richard et al 386). I believe this means that Americans are to engrossed with sports and are not concerned enough about the arts and education. This here is how punk has changed from its birth to current time.
The affect on the music industry and the changes punk has undergone has been to the benefit of both the music industry and to punks.Punk rock is a style of music that has been loved for two decades and will continue to be loved for decades to come. Works Cited Allan, Richard.
et al. Rock the Rough Guide. London: Rough Guides, 1996.A History of Punk. Society and Culture. Downloaded from Microsoft Internet Yahoo. 21 Apr.
1998. Marcus, Greil.Ranters and Crowd Pleasers. New York: Doubleday, 1993. The Pit. Society and Culture. Downloaded from Microsoft Internet Yahoo.
21 Apr.1998. Three Chord Wonders.
Society and Culture. Downloaded from Microsoft Internet Yahoo. 21 Apr.