Punk's Dead, You're Next

New York magazine's Alex Morris recently spent some quality time with the latest crop of NYC gutter punks, those unwashed Sid Vicious wannabes who crowd St. Mark's Place every summer, begging for change and literally stinking up many of the punk and hardcore shows. Here's a typical paragraph, giving Suvy, the star of the article, plenty of space to express his deepest thoughts:

Punk, says Suvy, is "the only view that makes sense to me." Work is for yuppies. Rent is for yuppies. Shelter is a basic human right. The government is bullshit. Corporations are bullshit. He "fucks capitalism" by pissing in the corner of the Dunkin' Donuts.

Wow, dude, that'll show those capitalists—or at least the poor employees responsible for cleaning up the mess. Here's Morris on two of Suvy's supporting players:

Alex goes to college, but during summer break he comes down to the city from Westchester to get stoned. Toast lives in Queens and wears Armani glasses and calls himself Toast "because I'm always toasted." They're both house punks, meaning that they have homes they sleep in every night and at least some money, and for this the squatter kids—even the ones from the city who can go home when it rains or if they need a good meal—find them both slightly suspicious and also intermittently useful for buying things like beer and weed. But make no mistake: A house punk is not a punk punk. They water down what's left of the scene.

"A house punk is not a punk punk." Did Morris actually type that sentence? Since when was homelessness a job requirement? Lefty favorite Joe Strummer (of the Clash) was the son of a diplomat, for heaven's sake, educated in boarding school. And what about New Jersey's hardest working band, the Misfits? Brothers Jerry Only and Doyle (bassist and guitarist, respectively) put in 12-hour days at their father's machine shop while singer Glenn Danzig ran the band's mail order Fiend Club business. Those guys definitely weren't squatting in Tompkins Square Park. Hell, even end of days Sid Vicious had a bed at the Chelsea Hotel.

This whole notion of watering down the scene reminds me of the lefties I used to know who thought historian Howard Zinn was more important than the immortal band Black Flag. For these types, let's call them P.C. punks, left-wing politics weren't just encouraged, they were required. I once actually argued with someone who said that guitarist Johnny Ramone didn't count since he was a Republican. Johnny's band (the Ramones) basically set the musical template followed by every punk rocker for the last three decades. If he doesn't count, nobody does.

Along the same lines, it's always interesting to remind the P.C. crowd that the Bad Brains, the legendary Afro-punks who combined Rastafarianism, reggae, and hardcore, also happened to be virulent homophobes. As Steve Blush records in his great oral history American Hardcore, Bad Brains's singer H.R. let loose with the occasional sermon, including, "We're in Babylon! This is holy Hell! San Francisco is Babylon! All these faggots and bald-headed women running around!" Try to squeeze that into A People's History of the United States!

All of this gets at one of the key problems with the New York piece. Morris buys into the idea of an "authentic" punk identity when the reality is an incoherent and frequently contradictory mess, blending music, attitude, and, yes, sometimes some pretty ridiculous politics. But not always.

For more reason punk coverage, check out Brian Doherty and Nick Gillespie on the P.C. eulogizing of Joey Ramone, Radley Balko on Los Lobos's L.A. punk origins, and Tim Cavanaugh on how the Clash's "Sandinista! sucks a million times more than Combat Rock."

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  • ||

    Nothing is quite as funny as lazy kids who take themselves too seriously.

    Well, I take that back. What's funnier is when punks keep doing the same thing when they're 40 and still take themselves too seriously.

  • ||

    Punk's not dead, it just deserves to die.

  • Episiarch||

    Noting is more pathetic than following an idiotic lifestyle that is utterly untenable but was popular enough for a time to become immortalized, but is now almost totally dead.

    See also: modern-day hippies.

  • ed||

    This sort of thing stops mattering once most humans reach their 30s.

  • EJM||

    Toast lives in Queens and wears Armani glasses and calls himself Toast "because I'm always toasted."

    I was actually hoping that he named himself after the "Histeria!" character.

  • ||

    I thought punk was bad music from 25 years ago...

  • ||

    Anybody who has to learn about punk from New York magazine is fucked to begin with...

  • Rhywun||

    Actually, they *are* punk punks, if the first "punk" means "snot-nosed kid I'd like to pop in the face".

  • ||

    I just took my sister down to St. Mark's to eat lunch at the new automat, "BAMN!", shop at Toy Tokyo, and look at the freaks. Lots of fun, but there really weren't as many freaks as I had promised her; never rely on freaks, my friends, never rely on freaks.

  • Episiarch||

    You'll see more freaks if you walk down St. Marks on a Friday or Saturday evening. Go into Kim's Video and you'll usually be guaranteed one or two, if not shopping then behind the counter.

  • Rhywun||

    St. Mark's has nothin' on Haight Street in San Francisco when it comes to large numbers of "disaffected youth" stinking up the place.

  • ||

    I saw that article, but I figured that "house punk"-type stuff was written in more of a "we report, you decide" spirit - "these are the type of things these exhibitionist street urchins worry about, and I pass on them to you without judgement."

    And I don't know as its fair to call the subjects of that article "left-wing", necessarily, any more than you'd call the legions of Larry-the-Cable-Guy types who populate my neck of rural Illinois "right-wing" simply because they voted for George Bush twice. They (the punks, that is) just seem like dumbfuck vandals - they know as much about "capitalism" as they do about flying the space shuttle.

    (Of course, a lot of REAL left-wing punks I've known - the ones who actually COULD give you a definition of capitalism - were fairly dense as well. The best punk, of course, is apolitical, or maybe BEYOND politics - what're the politics of "Sonic Reducer"?)

  • Ska||

    Basically the kid is pissed off that he can't be a homeless pot-smoking drunk, because he'd have to buy pot and beer (and food I guess), and to buy stuff he'd have to work. Yes, it's everyone else's responsibility to enable you to live how you want to.

  • ||

    p.s. - More posts about comic books and punk rock, please, as those are the only two subjects I am qualified to comment on.

  • Rimfax||

    So, does this mean that punk is a load of shit? Next you'll be telling me the same thing about astrology.

  • ||

    Is he actually in a band? If so, I imagine he gives all of his music away for free, right? After all, record labels are corporations which, as we just learned, are bullshit.

    (Full Disclosure: If I worked at Dunkin Donuts, I would pummel this ass-clown and leave him bleeding in the puddle his own piss)

  • Dormouse||

    I thought punk was bad music from 25 years ago...

    Here's some punk that is neither old nor bad.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GONSCIW014M

  • ||

    One of South Park's immortal lines:

    Goth 2: If you wanna be one of the non-conformists, all you have to do is dress just like us and listen to the same music we do.

  • Colin||

    Where's Quincy?

  • ||

    I guess my question about all of this is, "why does anyone care about these people?"

    The human zoo aspect aside, at best, these folks are delusional and at worst mentally ill and in need of hospitalization. I also feel the same about most fringe activists (abortion , environmental, etc.).

  • ||

    I thought punk was bad music from 25 years ago...

    While I'm not a huge fan of the band overall, this is probably the most recent GOOD punk song I've heard.

  • Pendulum||

    No, *here* some punk that is neither old nor bad!

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=KPYLxF6Jgc0


    (No Gogol Bordello for me kthx)

  • ||

    I've had the "Johnny Ramone dosn't count" argument too...then find someone else's template to fit into, kid...And it's funny how the best band of the 80s, The Bad Brains, could give Falwell a run for his money.
    The 80s HardCore Punk scene was basically used by washed-up Berkeley 60s new-left holdovers like Tim Yohannan to "restart the revolution"; These kids (and my hometown was filled with them in the 90s) are the result.

  • T||

    Gosh, it's almost like they have petty squabbling bitchfests about who is a more authentic member of their movement/subculture. It reminds me of something, but I can't quite put my finger on it...

  • Naga Sadow||

    They actually said Johnny Ramone didn't count? I have a headache now . . .

  • EJM||

    A house punk is not a punk punk.

    But, would a homeschooled punk be "a punk punk"? (See separate arguments here and here--and an example here.)

  • Naga Sadow||

    Root, I enjoy your articles but I have a request. Please have an article on the VH1 reality show "I Love Money".

  • ||

    We had a bunch of 'punk' kids back in high school. Upper-middle class suburban neighborhoods really must be a tough place to grow up.

  • ||

    It has been over 30 years since punk started. Someone who was say 20 years old in 1975 and hanging out with the Ramones and company at CBGBs is 53 now. Trying to be a "punk" today is in 1975 terms like trying to listen to Glenn Miller and wear a zuite suit in 1975, because that is what was going on 30+ years before then. At some point, can't these losers come up with something new to wear and do?

    That is nothing against punk music. Some of it was pretty good. You can certainly make punk music today just like you can make jazz or blues. But what you can't do is claim that by doing so you are doing anything new or subversive. Only the people who invented the stuff can claim that.

  • dhex||

    You'll see more freaks if you walk down St. Marks on a Friday or Saturday evening. Go into Kim's Video and you'll usually be guaranteed one or two, if not shopping then behind the counter.

    that's a pretty good record store all told. i try to hit the used bin there and at other music.

    also the most freakish thing on st. marks is kids shopping with their parents at search & destroy. that's a lot weirder than the guy who wears pajamas and carries a broom around.

  • dhex||

    controversial statement: the ramones sucked so hard it actually brought the moon closer to earth.

  • ||

    "controversial statement: the ramones sucked so hard it actually brought the moon closer to earth."


    They had a few good songs, but they recorded for 25 years. They had a lot of crap mixed in there to. If you strip it all away, their music was just a three chord pop hook rocked out answer to bad 70s prog rock like later Pink Floyd and ELP and the like. It was a good counter point but it wasn't worth wasting 30 fucking years dwelling on.

  • Ska||

    I always thought it was pretty weird how many big kids there are riding little bikes on Avenue C.

  • Naga Sadow||

    dhex,

    Controversial? Yes. True? No. Funny? Absolutely. Now stop with the Ramone hate!!! I'm trying to watch Midget Mac on "I Love Money".

  • ||

    bad 70s prog rock like later Pink Floyd and ELP and the like.

    I'm gonna pretend this sentence doesn't exist. If you don't think The Wall is great...

  • ReAnimator||

    I loathe everything Pink Floyd.

  • PFJ||

    I was on a train once in Philadelphia and I saw two punk kids with Apple Laptops, and the one took off his headphones midway through and started raving about the sound quality. I'm a big fan or irony so hopefully that kid shared anti capitalism views.

  • Road Cat||

    NOW AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE!
    The NEW UPDATED EDITION of "On The Road With The Ramones."
    With new pages, photos and info on what's been happening to the legacy of the Ramones since 2003.
    This is a MUST-HAVE book for all Ramones fans. Based around the story of Monte A. Melnick who was the Ramones tour manager (and much more) throughout their entire career (1974-1996, and 2,263 live shows). It's an inside look from the people who were actually there witnessing and experiencing all the extreme highs and lows of one of rock's greatest bands. The book is packed with interviews from the Ramones and many many more people who where very close to the band. There is over 250 photographs and pictures of memorabilia Monte collected along the way. Buy it, read it and then revisit their albums. You'll never look at the Ramones in the same light.

  • dhex||

    ooh ooh a book a book hey do you have a book for sale? you should team up with montag as he has a mont-blog and you have a blog and you could call it the ramontblog. and build a castle. a castle named ramontingblog heights.

    and we could ride horses there. and have adventures.

    but seriously, 2000+ shows of the same fucking song over and over again? no wonder they did so many drugs. no wonder they're all dead.


    They had a few good songs, but they recorded for 25 years. They had a lot of crap mixed in there to. If you strip it all away, their music was just a three chord pop hook rocked out answer to bad 70s prog rock like later Pink Floyd and ELP and the like.


    1) the ramones had one song. they just re-recorded it many, many times.

    2) as a side note, i am amazed at how little the caricature of "republicans who smoke pot" actually resembles the larger body of libertizzles, yet the prog rock/sci fi axis is as true a stereotype as one can find in america.

  • ||

    "I'm gonna pretend this sentence doesn't exist. If you don't think The Wall is great..."

    Actually no it is not. It is completely self indulgent. It was great when I was like 15, but as I have gotten older it just grates on my nerves. Granted there are some good songs on it, Run Like Hell, Comfortably Numb, Another Brick in the Wall Parts 1 and 2, but there is a lot of crap on it to. I say this as someone who likes Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here and Animals, but I think The Wall is totally overrated, overdone and completely self indulgent. It was the very type of thing that the Ramones were trying to stop.

  • ||

    "yet the prog rock/sci fi axis is as true a stereotype as one can find in america."

    So you are telling me that there are Rush fans at Star Trek conventions?

  • dhex||

    i would bet the lives of many small children on it.

    there are probably people out there cosplaying as neal pert as we speak.

    they are also collecting signatures for the LP.

    multitasking.

  • ||

    "controversial statement: the ramones sucked so hard it actually brought the moon closer to earth."

    I'm afraid I have to agree. There was plenty of much better punk before them and lots after.

    Here's a before (The Wheels in 1965):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb0MT02fNzI

  • Episiarch||

    So you are telling me that there are Rush fans at Star Trek conventions?

    As a person who loves certain aspects of Star Trek, I can tell you with authority to never, ever go to a convention of any kind, even something you like. It is depressing as hell when you realize that 99% of the people that share your love of X are insane, drooling nerds with absolutely no life, dignity, or personal skills.

  • ||

    I think The Wall is totally overrated, overdone and completely self indulgent.

    I think it is a tremendous and immortal piece of art that I would place on my "top 12" list, but that's just me. I agree with you that Floyd's other albums (as long as Waters was writin' and Gilmour was strumming) were great. Waters' sarcasm on "In the Flesh" and "Nobody Home" is more 'punk' than the punks seemed to realize.

    I will also concede that I never really got 'punk' and was more of a New Wave/New Romantic guy. Yearning vocals and synths and all that. And Avant hop, these days.

  • ||

    It is depressing as hell when you realize that 99% of the people that share your love of X are insane, drooling nerds with absolutely no life, dignity, or personal skills.

    Well, I went to a comic convention a few years back and fit right in.

    Uh oh.

  • ||

    "Waters' sarcasm on "In the Flesh" and "Nobody Home" is more 'punk' than the punks seemed to realize."

    I see what you are saying. Perhaps I am too hard on The Wall. I also agree with you about there being a lot of "punk attitude" in Floyd. Interstingly most of the "punk attitude" out there is not in "punk music". There is more "punk attitude" in the outlaw country music coming out of Austin in the mid-70s than there ever was in New York.

  • ed||

    99% of the people that share your love of X are insane, drooling nerds with absolutely no life, dignity, or personal skills

    But you have to admit the Klingon chicks are hot.
    Or so I'm told.

  • dhex||

    i think they were very similar; a lot of amphetamines and poor impulse control.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I still think Stiff Little Fingers's Suspect Device is teh best punk song ever. And with lyrics like "they take away our freedom, in the name of liberty..." they could be talking about the Bush administration in the wake of 9/11.

  • ||

    Its always pretty funny to me that people who are so much into "dropping out" of wageslaving and capitalism would be dead inside of a week without the rest of us drones to sponge off of.

  • Nephilium||

    Episiarch:

    There is one reason for going to conventions...

    You can lift your head up there, and be proud you aren't "That Guy"...

    Disclaimer: This does not apply if you are "That Guy".

    Nephilium

  • ||

    "Disclaimer: This does not apply if you are "That Guy"."

    But if you are "That Guy" you don't know it and think someone else is "That Guy".

  • BakedPenguin||

    1) the ramones had one song. they just re-recorded it many, many times.

    There's some truth to this, but any music you don't like all sounds the same. Damned if I can tell John Anderson from Garth Brooks from Toby Keith.

    A contemporary composer once said Vivaldi wrote "the same concerto, 400 times". There was some truth to that, too, although I like Vivaldi's music.

  • ||

    I have yet to attend a SABR convention, but I'm thinking 2009 might be my year. It won't be like Shatner or Nimoy at a Star Trek Convention (that would be Bill James), but I am a little worried it might be like DeForest Kelley or Walter Koenig . I have to bring something to sell though, in a desperate attempt to extricate myself from the current "punk punk" levels of poverty I suffer from.

  • Episiarch||

    There is one reason for going to conventions...

    There is no reason to go to conventions. They're full of idiots buying overpriced junk and squirting over the guests.

    I went to the first Farscape convention ever (it was in NYC where I lived). Instead of meeting cool people who were into a cool show it was packed with fat, squealing women who instantly made their chairs soaking wet when Ben Browder spoke. You can't believe the questions they asked him (his wife was there with him).

    In my rush to get out I actually ran into Browder in the stairwell in his rush to get some peace.

  • ||

    I thought punk music was a mode of rebellious expression--annoying, but with a bit of purpose and fun for some people. Any mode of expression should not be confused with an actual lifestyle. To the punks: Rebel all you want after you pull eight to ten hours of asking, "Do you want fries with that?" Make it your mantra, your Billy Idol rebel yell. :P

  • Swimmy||

    I don't have the patience to read the article, but the "punk punk" thing seems to me like the author's mixing up crusties with the True Punk Ethic, as if such a thing exists anyway. Yes crust punks are dirty pot-smoking squatters. Most punks--as in, people who listen to punk rock and identify with the scene in any way--are not like that. All the crusty elitism in the world won't make them punk punks, because all the other variants of punk are just as condescending.

  • SIV||

    dhex,

    Did you ever see/hear the Ramones live?

  • Nephilium||

    John:

    I am making the assumption that at least five nines of the readers of this site wouldn't truly qualify as "That Guy".

    The basic assumptions I'm using here is that the visitors here understand hygiene and have at least a modicum of social skills. I think we'd be safe from being "That Guy" at everything except a political gathering... :)

    Marty

  • Nephilium||

    Bah... reasons I shouldn't be posting from work... while working on three or four things and having a conversation... damn you multitasking!

    Nephilium

  • ||

    "The basic assumptions I'm using here is that the visitors here understand hygiene and have at least a modicum of social skills. I think we'd be safe from being "That Guy" at everything except a political gathering... :)"

    I know you are not saying that anyone here is "that guy". It is just that "that guy" never knows he is "that guy". I am always "that guy" at political gatherings, which is why I never attend them.

  • Preston||

    I listen to everything--but punk music shaped me--I still listen to music primarily labeled "punk."

    Here's a non-PC band in the "folk-punk" scene, called Andrew Jackson Jihad.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kGYbHR-CGU

  • ||

    Andrew Jackson Jihand?! Yikes! That's only the second time I've laughed today. Thanks!

  • Swimmy||

    Haha, thanks Preston. You know, it's funny, I've noticed a huge contingency between the folk punk crowd and the crusties the article is pretending are Real True Prunks, but there are a whole lot of folk punk songs about how being a Real True Punk is a lie and a waste of time. God bless punk rock.

  • Guy Montag||

    Handsome Dan, where are you in Illinois?

    Damon, I liked Combat Rock and find Sandinista! to be so awful that a new word for something worse than suck needs to be suggested. I vote for Sandinista! as that word.

    Speaking of freakshows, there was an Anime convention in Crystal City right after I moved here. The Underground was infested with oddness.

    Why no mention of The Damned?

    That is all for now.

  • ||

    I recall a guy named Andy who came from Westfield NJ (a pretty tony suburb). He was squatting in a run down house in New Brunswick with 7 or 8 other "punks" all of whom came from fairly well-off families and decided they needed to drop out of life to show it all up to the "man" or whatever.

    Andy was a good guy, though, intelligent and nice. Once his parents went out of town for a week and he invited a few people up to their house in Westfield for a party. Right there on the mantle of the fireplace in the greatroom of their five-bedroom, 3-acre manse was a picture of Andy, in his bondage pants and mohawk, with then-president William Jefferson Clinton. I am not kidding. Andy's dad had some sort of high-up political position that crossed his path with the President's on many occasions.

    I wonder what happened to Andy; if his youthful enthusiasm for pissing off his parents and rejecting their wealth wore off as he aged and figured out having a dry bed and hot meals was better than sitting in a dreary, cold flat with a bunch of kids who complained day and night about having to work just to get basic human rights like food and shelter.

    Kinda reminds me of Keanu Reeves' character in "My Own Private Idaho." Once it came time to inherit the family wealth, reformation of rebellion set in quickly.

  • dhex||

    There's some truth to this, but any music you don't like all sounds the same.

    while you do have a point, i think i can point to bands i don't like - the decemberists, to pick a random example - who have a broad palette of shitty songs to pick from. i don't think the ramones were that kind of band. they had their thing, and people liked it. why, i don't know. people also like heroin.

    SIV, i have not. but i've also never seen nsync live, either.

  • ||

    Dhex,

    I don't think you are going out on much of a limb when you accuse the Ramones of having a narrow range of music. It was all basically the same three chords done to a quick 4/4 beat. Some of there songs are good and often funny. But they are definitely repetetive.

  • ||

    Shelter is a basic human right. The government is bullshit.



    So he wants a bullshit government to provide him housing?

  • Barry||

    "1) the ramones had one song. they just re-recorded it many, many times."

    Yeah, but what a song!
    I grew up in the age of 80's Punk, but I always liked the 70s stuff better...and when I got into music, it was the post-punk/experimental stuff I liked...I thought that 80s Punk was a throwback.
    Well, it turns out that the 80s Punks became as nostalgic and delusional as 60s hippies. Also, even though they're in their 40s now, their politics are still motivated by the jocks and rednecks who picked on them in high school(come to think of it, that's most of the Left...)

  • Neu Mejican||

    Johnny Walker Lindh is the prototype for the 21st century punk.

    That is all.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Shelter is a basic human right. The government is bullshit.

    So he wants a bullshit government to provide him housing?


    That is your inference, not his implication.

    His implication is that nobody can deny him shelter when he needs it. He has a right to break the lock and enter at will.

    Ownership is theft.

    Get with the program.

  • Mike Laursen||

    I just don't see how one can really love punk without having first subjected oneself to the point of physical illness to years of FM radio "rock blocks" of Loggins and Messina, Toto, Peter Frampton, Chicago, CS&N, Jethro Tull, ad nauseum.

  • Rimfax||

    Has The Onion ever not been there first?

  • Rimfax||

    Mike Laursen,

    So, punk is more about what you hate than what you love? I can buy that.

  • Neu Mejican||

    So, punk is more about what you hate than what you love? I can buy that.

    ANGER IS AN ENERGY!

  • ||

    "His implication is that nobody can deny him shelter when he needs it. He has a right to break the lock and enter at will.

    Ownership is theft."

    Sadly, you are right. If he is serious, the little bastard would have us all living in squaler doing nothing. If he is not, he just wants an excuse to sponge and not have to work for a living.

  • Paul||

    Brothers Jerry Only and Doyle (bassist and guitarist, respectively) put in 12-hour days at their father's machine shop while singer Glenn Danzig ran the band's mail order Fiend Club business. Those guys definitely weren't squatting in Tompkins Square Park. Hell, even end of days Sid Vicious had a bed at the Chelsea Hotel



    Word. These new punks? They've got no respect.

  • Paul||

    All of this gets at one of the key problems with the New York piece. Morris buys into the idea of an "authentic" punk identity when the reality is an incoherent and frequently contradictory mess, blending music, attitude, and, yes, sometimes some pretty ridiculous politics.



    This has been a controversy for decades. The punks that I hung out with back in the eighties used to spend hours arguing over what was 'authentic' punk. Johnny Rotten laughed about imitation punks-- and punk "fashion" in the heyday of the Sex Pistols.

    Who was the first real punk band? Some suggest it was The Velvet Underground. Argument ensues.

    I think the reason no one can settle on punk authenticity is that punk is an inauthentic movement. It's an unculture.

    For me, the punk culture taught me a lot about capitalism. When I was young, I thought that punk was anti-capitalist. It may have been in it's own head (so to speak), but punk can't exist without capitalism. Punk, in my opinion, is a uniquely capitalistic movement. You wanna lie on your parents couch, eschew employment and rail agains the man? Excellent. Welcome to capitalism: the only system where you can reliably do that.

  • Paul||

    Johnny Walker Lindh is the prototype for the 21st century punk.

    Nah, he had discipline.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Nah, he had discipline.

    You clearly don't get it.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Who was the first real punk band? Some suggest it was The Velvet Underground. Argument ensues.

    The term "punk rock" was first used by Suicide many years after VU were already irrelevant (early 70's).

    The Ramones co-opted the term from Suicide.

    Any attribution of "some band" being the first punk rock band if "some band" predates the terms introduction into the culture requires some careful definition of what a real punk rock band is. If it is about some version of anti-conformity or anti-hip attitude, then VU is waaaaaaay late in the game to claim title to "first." (c.f., Link Wray, Screamin' Jay Hawkins).





    Any discu

  • Neu Mejican||

    Word. These new punks? They've got no respect.

    The only problem I've got with this is that The Misfits were more of a metal band than a punk rock band.

    Argument ensues.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Wiki has a different account of the first use of "punk rock" attributing it to The Fugs singer.

    Hmmm...

    Still, that was 1970, so post VU...

  • highnumber||

    According to Please Kill Me, the oral history of punk rock, Legs McNeil, the dude who compiled the aforementioned book, coined the term for the music of the Dictators, Ramones, et al. His zine was called "Punk."

    Good, entertaining book, by the way. Absolutely the coolest cat in the whole book was Ron Asheton. He never got into the hard drugs and went around saving people's lives and visiting Larry Fine in the nursing home. How cool is that? (Answer: very cool.)

  • ||

    It is depressing as hell when you realize that 99% of the people that share your love of X are insane, drooling nerds with absolutely no life, dignity, or personal skills.

    Dude, you do realize that you posted that on Reason.com, yeah? Irony detector on the fritz today?

  • ||

    Only tangentially OT...I just found some libertarianism is a New Wave vid besides Oingo Boingo.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Guvo7gUdUnE&feature=rec-fresh

    (Rickeyramone is me.)

  • ||

    To Dormouse, ClubMedSux, and Pendulum, thanks for the suggestions. I listened to them all. I can only say, "Now that I am a man, I have put away the things of a child."

    If you want to hear a big band that can get raucous, try a little Carla Bley:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysRPkOu5CRM&feature=related

    Note: this starts as a standard Mancini piece, but it gets free really soon.

  • Paul||

    You clearly don't get it.

    And I feel I'm a better person for it.

    Any attribution of "some band" being the first punk rock band if "some band" predates the terms introduction into the culture requires some careful definition of what a real punk rock band is.

    Exactly. Insert Kevin Smithesque discussion of what a "real punk rock band" is.

    I've fallen asleep during so many of these, I lost count.

  • ||

    The best explanation for the origin of the term "punk rock" goes back to 1969 or so with a group of people using the term to describe bands like the Kingsmen, Trashmen, Count Five, Shadows of a Knight, ? and the Mysterians and so on.

    Then from 1970-1973 or so the term pops up in various spots here and there (notably on a "Nuggets" compilation) and by the time the magazine of the same name was coined, it had basically gained a fair amount of traction.

    It's abundantly clear that although bands like the Kingsmen predate the actual term, the term was originally coined to describe them.

    So yes it's quite possible for someone to say the Kingsmen were the "first punk rock band" even if the term wasn't coined for several years after Louie Louie. So saying that the VU was the first punk rock band is probably inaccurate, but only because the first punk rock almost certainly came before them, not after.

  • ||

    I'm so bored with the p.u.n.k.

  • ||

    Only tangentially OT...I just found some libertarianism is a New Wave vid besides Oingo Boingo.

    I like Falco's video better. So wonderfully cheesy.

  • Motor City Five||

  • Motor City Five||

    But anyway

    why you got to put everything in a box

  • Neu Mejican||

    Voros McCracken,

    I wouldn't dispute your account here, but that requires, again, a careful definition of what you include in the genre that you are describing with the term. If the early garage bands are the origins of punk then VU doesn't even get to be included in the genre, let alone be the first "real punk rock band."

    Of course, there is a good case to be made that the genre "punk rock" is distinct from the genre played by the early 60's garage bands featured on the Nuggets series. For a comparison, the term "Heavy Metal" used to include anything loud (I have an old vinyl compilation called "Heavy Metal" that includes Yes, Buffalo Springfield, MC5, and Nazareth), but then, over time, the genre it was used to describe became more tightly defined. Jethro Tull winning the first Grammy for Heavy Metal was instantly rejected by anyone who listened to Heavy Metal as an indication that the Grammy's didn't get it and was still applying the over-broad definition of the term.

    Samuel Delany has a nice essay (in Silent Interviews)on the misapplication of the term "Science Fiction" to the genre of writing exemplified by Jules Verne. The same principles apply here.

  • Kamikaze||

    Don't let these little children foul your impression of modern day punk rock. True, most of it is garbage, and barely any of it is original. I strongly agree with Handsome Dan's statement that the best punk rock is a-political. But there are most definitely a few good new bands. My favorite of the lot:

    www.myspace.com/bloodrunners

  • Kamikaze||

    And just for the record, I am fortunate enough to know Suvy, as a denizen of the east village. He sucks pretty hard in case anyone wasn't sure.

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