Punk rock, is a largely musical movement that arose in the mid to late 1970s and reached its peak of popularity in the early 1980s. Etymology of the term is suspect, but it likely derives from the customers of the first venue for such music, CBGB's in the Bowery in New York City, who were alledgedly male prostitutes. The music was therefore 'rock for punks.'
More recently, many variants on the punk sensibility have resulted in the word punk being combined with other terms - for example, "eco punk," meaning a person with punk attitudes who is dedicated to environmentalism or concerns about ecology.
Followers of punk have a social and political set of beliefs, morals and standards indicating an absolute rejection of conformity. In many ways nihilistic. Followers tend also to reject capitalism, government and social norms of the mainstream cultures and relgions. Alternately pacifist and violent by nature, it is a seemingly contradictory philosophy focused on the present. Adherents tend to prioritize the moment- often at the expense of history, or future personal success. An individual identifying as "punk" is likely to experience life as a raging fire or die trying. Many have co-opted the punk aesthetic for its commercial or cultural capital, yet the core believer will reject both. It is defined by its lack of definition. Adherents will reject arguments of most requirements, belief structure or even the label "punk" itself, yet when viewed from an objective standpoint these seemingly ungainly values come together as a unique way of living.
This way of living is transported to the tones and words of the music.
Punk rock is the anti-establishment music movement of the period 1976-80, exemplified by The Ramones, the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Damned. This term is also used to describe subsequent music scenes that share key characteristics with those first-generation "punks." The term is sometimes also applied to the fashions or the irreverent "do-it-yourself" attitude associated with this musical movement.
The term "punk rock" (from 'punk', meaning rotten, worthless, or snotty; also a prison slang term for a person who is sexually submissive) was originally used to describe the untutored guitar-and-vocals-based rock and roll of U.S. bands of the mid-1960s such as The Seeds and The Standells, who now are more often categorized as "garage rock."
The term was first coined by rock critic Dave Marsh, who used it to describe the music of ? and the Mysterians in the May 1971, issue of Creem magazine. The term was adopted by many rock music journalists in the early 1970s. For example, in the liner notes of the 1972 anthology album Nuggets, critic and guitarist Lenny Kaye uses the term "punk-rock" to refer to the Sixties "garage rock" groups, as well as some of the darker and more primitive elements of '60s psychedelia. Shortly after the time of those notes, Lenny Kaye formed a band with avant garde poet Patti Smith. Smith's group, and her first LP released in 1975, directly inspired many of the mid-70s punk rockers, so this suggests a path by which the term migrated to the music we now know as punk.
In addition to the inspiration of those "garage bands" of the sixties, the roots of punk rock also draw on the abrasive, dissonant style of The Velvet Underground, the sexually and politically confrontational Detroit bands The Stooges and MC5, the UK pub rock scene and, like friends MC5 political UK Underground bands such as Mick Farren and the Deviants, early New York underground music scenes and attitudes which culminated in the New York Dolls, and some British "glam rock" or "art rock" acts of the early seventies, such as David Bowie, Roxy Music, and Marc Bolan and T. Rex.
The term "protopunk" is sometimes applied to these diverse performers who influenced what would later become punk rock.
Culturally, the early punk rock movement was a direct reaction to the perceived pointlessness and over-indulgence of mainstream rock music as it had evolved in the early 1970s. Bands such as Jefferson Airplane which had survived the 1960s in some form were regarded as having lost their message of rebellion and their support for counterculture values. Eric Clapton's appearance in television beer ads in the mid-1970s was often taken as a prime example of how even the icons of rock had literally sold themselves to the system they once opposed. Consequently, most attitudes and aesthetics of the 1960s were rejected in a firm renouncing of what music and counterculture had become.
It appeared that at least a significant subset of the youth or music culture was very ready for this repentance from the values of mainstream rock. From its appearance in London and New York, the punk rock culture spread rapidly. One aspect of the 1960s counterculture which was adopted by the punk rock movement was the empowerment of the individual rejecting what was being fed to listeners by the then-dominant recording industry. In the U.S., punk rock bands appeared literally overnight in numerous urban areas producing memorable, if not necessarily enduring sparks in the growing fire that was becoming the punk movement. Notable bands were produced by Los Angeles, such as X, Black Flag, and The Dils. San Francisco spawned the Dead Kennedys. Innumerable others appeared and disappeared as punk rock grew from highly independent cadres of individuals to a cultural movement with defined values, icons and aesthetics.
In the mid-1970s, influential punk bands emerged separately in three different corners of the world: The Ramones in New York, The Saints in Australia, and the Sex Pistols, in London. In each case, these bands were operating within a small "scene" which included other bands as well as enthusiastic impresarios who operated small nightclubs that provided a showcase and meeting place for the emerging musicians (the 100 Club in London, CBGB's in New York, and The Masque in Hollywood are among the best know early punk clubs). In the UK, punk interacted with the Jamaican reggae & ska subcultures. The reggae influence in evident in the first releases by the Clash, for example, and by the end of the decade punk had spawned the 2 Tone ska revival movement, including bands such as The Specials, Madness and The Selecter.
The United Kingdom record label Stiff Records released a host of Punk artists including Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Wreckless Eric, The Adverts, The Damned, Department S, and 1960s Anarchists Mick Farren and the Pink Fairies (described as "My Favourite Old-Wave Band” by the Sex Pistols's John Lydon). Larry Wallis (of the Pink Fairies, Motorhead and Steve Took's Shagrat) became an in house Producer for Stiff. Like the hard-line elements of the UK Underground shocking the norms was essential and to that end Stiff produced T-Shirt and other items bearing the notorious slogan "If It Ain't Stiff It Ain't Worth a Fuck". Sums it up really! Interestingly, The Damned toured with T Rex in 1977.
Punk attitudes and fashion
An important feature of punk rock was an evident desire to return to the concise and simple approach of early rock and roll. Punk rockers rejected what they saw as the pretension, commercialism and pomposity which had overtaken rock music in the 1970s, spawning superficial "disco" music and grandiose forms of heavy metal, progressive rock and "arena rock".
Punk rock emphasised simple musical structure and short songs, extolling a "DIY" ("do it yourself") ethic that insisted anyone could form a punk rock band (the early UK punk fanzine Sniffin' Glue once famously included drawings of three chord shapes, captioned, "this is a chord, this is another, this is a third. Now form a band"). Punk lyrics introduced a confrontational frankness of expression in matters both political and sexual, dealing with urban boredom and rising unemployment in the UK—e.g., the Sex Pistols' "God Save The Queen" and "Pretty Vacant"—or decidedly anti-romantic depictions of sex and love, such as the Dead Kennedys' "Too Drunk to Fuck" or the Sex Pistols' "Submission."
The influence of the cultural critique and the strategies for revolutionary action offered by the European situationist movement of the 1950s and 60s is apparent in the vanguard of the British punk movement, particularly the Sex Pistols. This was a conscious direction taken by Pistols prime movers Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, and is apparent in the artwork of the Situationist-affiliated Jamie Reid, who designed many of the band's graphics.
The punk phenomenon expressed a whole-hearted rejection of prevailing values that extended beyond the qualities of its music. British punk fashion deliberately outraged propriety with the highly theatrical use of cosmetics and hairstyles--eye makeup might cover half the face, hair might stand in spikes or be cut into a "Mohawk" or other severe shape--while the clothing typically modified existing objects for artistic effect--pants and shirts were cut, torn, or wrapped with tape, safety pins were used as face-piercing jewelery, a black bin liner bag (garbage bag) might, and often become a dress, T-Shirt or skirt.
Punk devotees created a thriving underground press. In the UK Mark Perry produced Sniffin' Glue In the United States magazines such as Maximum RocknRoll, Profane Existence and Flipside were leading a movement of fanzines. Every local "scene" had at least one primitively published magazine with news, gossip, and interviews with local or touring bands. The magazine Factsheet Five chronicled the thousands of underground publications in the 1980s and 1990s.
The UK Punk magazine Sniffin' Glue reflected a change in drug taking habits. The hippies had smoked Cannabis which resulted in a relaxed mood. The punks were rebelling against the last decade' values and that included Cannabis. Punks wanted drugs which gave the user energy and the vapours from glue and other solvents gave an easily accessible heady rush of energy as did various pills. These had the side-effect of increasing aggression as well as energy and some such as Amphetamine-based based drugs which had the addded advantage of allowing user's to stay awake for long periods and also increased a user's pain threshold. Some like Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols worked their way onto more addictive narcotics such as Heroin which also numbed pain and allowed Vicious, for example to cut himself extensively on stage as part of the stage act.
In the 1980s a second wave of anti-establishment and "DIY" bands came into their own in the United States and the UK. MDC, Crass, Descendents, Hüsker Dü, Bad Brains, Vice Squad, X, The Replacements Picture Frame Seduction, The Exploited, Minor Threat, JFA, The Dicks, Inner City Unit and many others had little impact on the music industry charts, but nonetheless had a huge effect on popular culture. The period from approximately 1980 to 1986 is considered the peak of hardcore punk.
A thriving Punk Rock subculture can still be found in many cities. Krakow and Jarocin in Poland are renowned among punks today as having two of the most thriving and colourful street punk cultures. Punk rock underwent a commercial renaissance in the 1990s with bands like Rancid, Green Day, and The Offspring. Additionally, bands such as My Chemical Romance, The Used and Taking Back Sunday have continued that commercial renaissance in the form of Emo music. Many people consider bands such as Taking Back Sunday and similar to be pop-punk, and completely removed from emo, which is an offshoot of hardcore punk.
These pages were created by www.LyricsVault.net