Muzickology

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3:22 AM

Punk Rock - Its Message & Beginnings

Posted by Satrio Pratomo |


In the early 1970's, bubble gum rock was on its way out the door. Different types of music were beginning to blossom; fusion, funk, hard rock, and of course punk rock. While rock and roll had always represented rebellious human experience, punk rock took that mold and broke it over its knee. Punk might very well be characterized as the "most deviant part of the human soul" expressed as music.

While rebellion is not a new concept, punk was the first style of music to take raw, angry, atom bomb emotions and put it into music. In the early and mid 1970's, bands like Iggy Pop and the Stooges, The New York Dolls, and The Ramones set the anti- establishment mantra for a generation of teens. These punk rockers were famous for not giving a damn what magazines and media thought of them. As a matter of fact, they didn't seek media attention, the media sought them. A big theme in punk music is anarchy or rebellion against anything that seeks to clamp down and force people to behave instead of thinking for yourself.

This included, and still includes, rebellion against authority, class or caste, pretension, religious hatred, snobbery in general, or anything else that imposed too much dogma on humanity. How do you beat these idiotic ideas? By appealing to the most basic part of human beings and their self interests. An angry song stirs up people and makes them think, but it has to shock your conscience. Iggy Pop smeared peanut butter on himself at one concert while he sang. Sid Vicious cut himself during one show and bled all over.

While the song content was, and still is energetic, the music is fast, loud, unrefined, and in your face. Guitars squeal, drummers kick their drums over in fits of rage, and the bass holds it all together. In the late 1970's and early 1980's, bands like the Dead Kennedys, The Clash, Minor Threat, The Damned, and the Sex Pistols pushed the envelope that their predecessors licked and mailed without a stamp. Song titles like "Too Drunk to Fuck", "Bodies", and 'New Rose" dealt with the rawest side of human malfeasance. As a matter of fact, Jello Biafra, the former lead singer of the Dead Kennedy's was arrested and album artwork was seized. He contended that his prosecutors were trying to squelch free speech and intimidate musicians.

In the end, while some people do not like punk rock, it is the freest form of musical expression on planet earth and we owe some of our civil liberties to these bands for pushing political idiots back into their cellars. Luckily, we have punk today like Rancid, The Meat Puppets and Green Day to keep the spirit of punk alive and well. If you want to stand up and salute a punk rocker, just extend your middle finger at the next punk concert you attend, you will be thanked for your freedom of expression.

Peter Flipse is an accomplished niche website developer and author. To learn more about punk rock, please visit Music Websites Blog for current articles and discussions.

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