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Wednesday, September 29, 2004


The story goes something like this. Forty years ago, Lou Reed met John Cale (he already knew Sterling) and they formed a band unlike any other that we have seen before or since. When the Velvet Underground released their first record, something like ten people bought it (I know you all have it now) but those ten people went on to start bands. Thirty years ago the New York Dolls played the Mercer Arts Center and something like ten people showed up to see them, among them, the future Joey and Dee Dee Ramone, and a guy named Malcom Mclaren. Two years after that the Ramones played London. The shows were sold out, in the audience....Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Steve Jones, Johnny Rotten, John Ritchie (Sid), and Malcom Mclaren. One year later the Sex Pistols played Manchester, in the auience of about twenty....well you've seen 'Twenty-Four Hour Party People" right? No? Well you should if you haven't. That night the manchester scene was born; Buzzcocks, Joy Division/New Order. Three years later, Sid was dead, Ian Curtis was dead, and by and large Punk was dead. By 1980 you had DC Hardcore (Black Flag, Minor Threat), LA Punk (X, Circle Jerks, Angry Somoans, Fear, the Germs) and....what's this? Minneapolis? Yep! Husker Du and the Replacements. Even in Akron things were getting interesting, i.e. DEVO. In fact the Punk disease was spreading all over, and that's the first law of musical dynamics, when it spreads past it's home base, it's done. Today we see and hear the influence of punk in the likes of Green Day and Good Charlotte, but they aren't punk bands. You see and hear it in Hardcore/Emo, but again it's not Punk. Punk rock died onstage at Winterland in 1978 when Johnny Rotten asked; "Ever feel like you've been cheated." The moment he broke character and leveled with us, it was over. The Ramones would go on to become the evangelists of Punk, spreading the gospel far and wide over two decades, and the Clash would go on to push the musical boundries of Punk with reggae, blues, hip hop, folk..you name it. But Punk, true Punk Rock did not outlive the seventies. That's not a bad thing. Music should always grow and move on. Without Punk you have no New Wave. No Gang Of Four, REM, U2, Bauhaus. You have no Sonic Youth, no Beastie Boys, no Nirvana. "This I tell you brother, you can't have one wothout the other."

Nice piece. I agree with what you are saying, but I think punk would have happened, even if the New York dolls or the velvet underground never existed. A lot of what happened in Rock is a sign of the times not only influences from other artists. That said the velvets and dolls were the biggest influences on punk, and I agree that punk had a short life. The British invasion had a lot to do with the influences of American music on the British youth, but it also was a time when Briton was not at war and there were a lot of youths with nothing to do, so they formed bands. Same thing with the baby boom in the US, the 60s & 70s explosion was a direct result. I think the punk scene was a sign of the times; disgust with Disco had as much to do with punk as the velvets.
great blog Jackson.

You are so right, you can't have one with out the other. so many cool bands have evolved out of what is true to the band, not exactly "what's marketable".

I remember seeing the Minute Men with Black Flag in 1985, at the Riverside Ballroom (Brawlroom) in Phoenix Arizona. I bought a copy of "slip it in" on cassette from Henry Rollins - he didn't have change for a ten so he gave it to me for $5.00 (so I bought a copy of "my war" too). There were no frills, just amps, mics, drums and guitars. No light show, no Rider, no backstage. Just loud ass music. Ah... I long for those days.

Thanks for mentioning Husker Du BTW, one of my favorites...

This was one of your best blogs... I'd like to post it on huezine
one more thing, 24 hour party people is great...

I was listening to the soundtrack yesterday while I cut my grass... :)
Ah, music and grass...need I say more?
Black Flag was from LA, not DC. And don't forget Bad Brains, NYC...
Although Black Flag's carreer took off in LA, they had moved there from DC. BAD BRAINS!!!!! How could I? I apologize. Certainly Bad Brains deserve their place in the Annals and they were originally from DC too.
yea I get what your tring to sya and you can say whatever but i dis agree. I think true punk was defintaly defined and shaped in the 70s but i think that bands like the Casulties and The Unseen come pretty damn close. yea they arent like the Ramones or the Clash but they are good, punk bands. I think that no offense but it would be blind to sya punk rock left wiht the 70s.
Black Flag were not from DC.

All of the original members of Black Flag except for Keith Morris were from the South Bay. Keith Morris was from West LA.

Henry Rollins was from DC and moved to LA to join Black Flag, as Dez Cadena preferred just being a guitarist rather than being a singer/guitarist.
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