The Diversifyin’ Late 60s/Early 70s, Part II: Never Mind The Sex Pistols
Truly, as far as punk rock is concerned, we must remember two things:
1) Never say you like punk because you like The Clash. That’s like saying you like rap because you like Run-DMC. Of course you like The Clash. They rule. That goes unsaid. Saying you like The Clash is going to make people think you don’t know what you’re talking about.
2) The Sex Pistols are awful. If you haven’t heard their one record displaying how truly bad and nonsensical their music is, don’t bother, because the Pistols are not the end all, be all of punk. Near the end of the punk’s prominence, a London clothier fabricated this band to capitalize on the punk fashion scene.
When people think of punk, they instantly think of The Ramones, The Pistols, and The Clash (and, hopefully, The Jam.) But punk rock started almost ten years before any of those bands in ’68 and ’69 with hardly proficient musicians trying to say something with their lyrics and setting it to three-chord music. Now, to write off punk rockerss, or “punkers” as they’d prefer not to be called, as poor musicians would be inaccurate (The Velvet Underground should prove that.) While punk is just as slippery of a term as rock (in that, it is really hard to define what kind of music constitutes punk,) I would probably best describe it as the reaction. To progressive rock, to art music, to The Rutles, to the optimism of the Summer of Love, to everything. They reacted with experimental music that could be loud, fast, and angry or slow, atonal, and experimental, and the pessimistic, dark lyrics reflected the perceived failure of the hippie movement. Punk music was the antithesis of highly skilled blues bands and classically trained progressive acts.
Some of the earlier (and more famous) punk acts were The Stooges (from Ann Arbor/Ypsi,) The Motor City Five (or “MC5”,) Television, Talking Heads, The Velvet Underground, and Patti Smith. Of course the wonderful thing about punk, as hinted at in my opening, is that it is such a deep sub-genre with very devoted followers. The punk scene has so many bands, many with highly obscene names, each more angry than the next. I’m just throwing out the names of the ones that actually made it kind of big at the beginning of punk music.