Punk, keeping it real, musical snobbery and all that B***CKS.

  • I never did like Punk much . Yes it was different and different is good. Added a new dimension to music and there was much about the new wave that followed that was good. Re evaluating I thought I'd missed out by being too dismissive of it at the time but really most of it was rubbish. I always quite liked the Stranglers , ( terrible live) and The Dammed. As for classic NMTB, Pretty Vacant was great so was God Save The Queen , Anarchy ok, the rest not much of it. A handful of bands had a handful of good stuff but the vast majority of them have been forgotten and rightly so. Few have stood the test of time. Some were good and the style was clearly influential with really good stuff developing from it.


    So , it's not so much the music that gets up my nose but the I really think a false and accepted history has been created. All that stuff at the time about anarchy , hating everything , all music being crap especially the monster prog bands was fine at the time because its all about image , fashion , illusion which is what pop / rock has done for years, but now over 40 years on the lie and image persists. One thing it did not do was sweep all the all guard away. There is a belief that because punk came along it changed everything, all the old bands got swept away and only a few could survive . I have heard that time and again. The old punk fans, journalists and even major prog stars have said so but I seem to be in a minority of one in thinking that's utter bollocks. Look at the charts before during and after , full of disco and the usual rubbish. Yes things changed but they always have. Punk was no different from any other new genre. Mod, psychodelic , 80s/90s dance ,rave, progressive you name it. They all created new ideas , fashion , styles , and young people got into new things. Fine good. None of them have created any myths about sweeping away all the old guard. No bands / artists blamed any other counter culture for their own faltering. The punks claim a success in getting rid of the old pompous snobby prog bands and everyone seem to believe them . I read an interview with Kevin Godly talking about the massive commercial failure of Consequences and the fact that they (Creme and Godly) had ignored the new seismic change in music culture. He ignored the fact that that it was overly expensive inaccessible tripple pack. ( I liked it!) Also Creme and Godly did fairly well afterwards! 10cc continued at the time to do very well. I stopped buying at Bloody Tourists , (probably their most successful time) not because of punk but because they were just not as good. 10cc faltered because they just weren't as good creatively. That's the reason any and all the band's at the time went into decline. . 10 years is a long time for a band to maintain creative success, also many bands struggle to keep together anyway for that long. Many old prog bands were simply not as good any more . Admittedly they had a shock when these underground counter culture.bands.of the 60s were being told they were now establishment, but most simply burned out. Pink Floyd and Genesis went on to be bigger than ever. Yes faltered a little but that had little to do with punk and went on to stay massive. Rush! There's quite a list of established bands that continued. New ones cropped up. The mini boom of new prog in the early 80s .The wonderful Kate Bush . NWOBHM bands were probably bigger than punk and certainly longer lasting.


    There was also a real anti snobbery attitude and something about keeping it real and genuine. Something I still hear today from them and about them. Truth is Punks were are probably the biggest musical snobs and fakes of all time. They had/ have a huge chip on their shoulders and look/ looked down their noses freely telling everyone else how crap / boring they are / were. That was fine at the time young people image conscious etc but to keep it up all these years is ridiculous. Genesis in particular were singled out for their public school background. There were many accomplished musicians and educated middle class people amongst the punk fraternity but that was kept away from the public in favour of the rebellious working class image. The establishment did go bizarrely beserk over it all as they did in the 60s with the Stones. Punks didn't want us to know they could play well. Genesis never pretended to be anything other than what they were nor did any of the others of that ilk . They were much more real and genuine than many of the punk bands.


    So that's my mini rant . My view. But the hell does an old rocker / prog fan.know anyway?

  • I literally couldn't agree more, this has been my view since it all happened.


    Ironic you should post this today, talking of musical pretention: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-54041568


    I'd have let him perform it with one condition: He has to play it on a Mellotron! (This can only hold a note for 11 seconds. I know everyone says 8 seconds, but there is a trick)

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile

  • I literally couldn't agree more, this has been my view since it all happened.


    Ironic you should post this today, talking of musical pretention: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-54041568


    I'd have let him perform it with one condition: He has to play it on a Mellotron! (This can only hold a note for 11 seconds. I know everyone says 8 seconds, but there is a trick)

    That is just priceless .😁

  • So , it's not so much the music that gets up my nose

    It's a great rant and I totally agree. It's a very closed mindset to reject all other genres and look down on them. Fine if you don't like prog or whatever, but those guys had a systemic hatred of music they considered old-school and in reality, what the fuck did old-school or 'establishment' even mean? Music from a band that started 7 or 8 years before yours? Such nonsense.


    But the quote above reminded me of something an old punk told me. He liked lots of different music but was big into punk during it's time (and still maintained that some sex pistols album was the best ever). He said they used to drive clothes hangers through their noses when they went to clubs. And the number of hangers you'd have dangling from your nose was symbolic of how much of a punk you were. It all sounded very strange to me!

  • thefarmer I mainly agree with the gist of your "mini rant". In particular:

    One thing it did not do was sweep all the all guard away.

    This myth has persisted, mainly thanks to lazy journalism and credulous readers. As you said, many of the bands targeted as rock "dinosaurs" and supposedly seen off by punk actually became even more successful around 1977-78, three exemplars being Yes, ELP and Genesis who all went on to fill huge live venues and have their first top 10 UK singles at this time.


    A musical genre doesn't "kill off" another one, but it makes superficially great copy to claim as such. Also, many of the punk band members had themselves grown up listening to and, gasp, liking the very bands they were allegedly banishing. Though of course, some would rather ridiculously try to cover it up. Others had no problem about it and took the broad view of music. I remember Viv Albertine of The Slits saying she really liked Genesis, for instance. Others had similar views and no doubt some shared those but didn't dare say so. Popular music often comes with a degree of artifice and punk did that big-time, with its manufactured public image of anarchy, rebellion and revolution. I liked a comment by Peter Gabriel, who seemed largely okay with punk/new wave (which was reflected in his 2nd album), who once said "The main revolutionary thing about punk was the use of accent which, outside of Tommy Steele records, had never been fully exploited" (though in my view he's being a bit hard on Anthony Newley and early Bowie there).


    Punk wasn't designed to last or be sustainable in its own right, it was more like a bomb going off. The bomb has come and gone in a flash, but around the crater some interesting stuff can start to happen and grow, which was effectively the much more rich and varied new wave. As a 12/13 year old at school, I liked rock music and a bit of the proggy stuff, but also really enjoyed punk. I found it exciting there was a new thing happening and it was kind of 'mine' whereas the rock stuff was mainly passed on to me through my brother. It was also to be found in the imagery and the albums/singles covers. Yeah some of the music itself wasn't great but I enjoyed the whole phenomenon of it. Amusingly, rock-head friends castigated me for liking punk, whereas my punk friends - by which I mean Peter Kelly who was the only other person who liked it - derided me for liking prog.


    It was brief, image-led, generated more heat than light and probably mostly not very good but I liked that it happened, and remember it fondly. I'm also grateful to it for sewing the seeds of new wave from which genuinely good stuff arose and which in itself influenced many of the bands I've liked since the 90s onwards.

    Abandon all reason

  • Ironic you should post this today, talking of musical pretention: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-54041568


    I'd have let him perform it with one condition: He has to play it on a Mellotron! (This can only hold a note for 11 seconds. I know everyone says 8 seconds, but there is a trick)

    I think the slow piece is a great idea and not "pretentious" at all. I also like Longplayer, a millennium project led by Jem Finer, consisting of 20 minutes worth of different chimes on Tibetan prayer bowls, recorded and programmed so as to play in sequences that never repeat themselves. It started playing at midnight on 31 December 1999 and will play continuously through to midnight on 31 December 2999. Provision has been made for it to be generated mechanically should the situation arise that we no longer have electricity. It's housed at Trinity Wharf lighthouse in east London. I've visited it a few times, partly as it's just a really nice area with a very distinctive feel to it - it's quiet and there are nature reserves but you look across the river to the Millennium Dome and Docklands, it's like another world. You can sit in the lighthouse tower and listen to this series of soothing chimes as you take in the view, listening to a 'live' piece of music that will hopefully also be heard, still in progress, by people who won't be born for another 900 years.


    Then you can go look at the offices and homes made out of repurposed shipping containers and visit the Fat Boy diner to enjoy deliciously unhealthy stuff like hot dogs smothered in chilli.


    I love the idea pieces like that and the Cage are a conscious attempt to make something that lasts a long time.

    Abandon all reason

  • I think the slow piece is a great idea and not "pretentious" at all. I also like Longplayer, a millennium project led by Jem Finer, consisting of 20 minutes worth of different chimes on Tibetan prayer bowls, recorded and programmed so as to play in sequences that never repeat themselves. It started playing at midnight on 31 December 1999 and will play continuously through to midnight on 31 December 2999. Provision has been made for it to be generated mechanically should the situation arise that we no longer have electricity. It's housed at Trinity Wharf lighthouse in east London. I've visited it a few times, partly as it's just a really nice area with a very distinctive feel to it - it's quiet and there are nature reserves but you look across the river to the Millennium Dome and Docklands, it's like another world. You can sit in the lighthouse tower and listen to this series of soothing chimes as you take in the view, listening to a 'live' piece of music that will hopefully also be heard, still in progress, by people who won't be born for another 900 years.


    Then you can go look at the offices and homes made out of repurposed shipping containers and visit the Fat Boy diner to enjoy deliciously unhealthy stuff like hot dogs smothered in chilli.


    I love the idea pieces like that and the Cage are a conscious attempt to make something that lasts a long time.

    The Finer piece can be listened to, though, and enjoyed (or hated, as opinion decides). The Cage piece, well, you COULD listen to it, but sleep might intervene. Finer has clearly put some thought and effort in, Cage's, like his famous 4.33 is just "the King's New Clothes" in another form.

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile

  • Finer has clearly put some thought and effort in, Cage's, like his famous 4.33 is just "the King's New Clothes" in another form.

    I get the "emperor's new clothes" angle but don't share it. I don't think stuff like that and 4'33" are particularly genius ideas, or pretending to be, I just find them interesting and appreciate the different sort of approach to music they take.


    I went to see Wil Gregory's Moog Ensemble and they were supported by a bloke called Charlemagne Palestine. He had this very vintage lash-up which he used to generate a single tone which got louder. That was it. For 45 minutes. I loved it! As it got louder you could start to discern various different under and overtones, and the whole sound of it subtly altered if you moved your head slightly. It was very minimalist and fascinating.


    OK you could argue playing a note every 16 years or whatever takes minimalism to ludicrous extremes. But I love the idea of it, writing something designed to be played over 600 years.

    Abandon all reason

  • Referring back to the thread title, keeping it real and musical snobbery, I tend to find Jools Holland's show on BBC2 is a bit too "cool", ie/ if you aren't one of "us" you won't be on this show.

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile

  • Referring back to the thread title, keeping it real and musical snobbery, I tend to find Jools Holland's show on BBC2 is a bit too "cool", ie/ if you aren't one of "us" you won't be on this show.

    Interesting, I don't really get that from it, I usually find it has quite a good range of acts and at times appreciated their showcasing of interesting new acts or ones unknown to me which have led me to delve into their work. Not that I've been a regular viewer in recent years, I should add. The things I tend not to like are JH's appalling amateurish interview style, being able to see grinning audience members clustered around the acts, and the occasional tendency to bring on some revered act from the 60s who gets treated like royalty but sadly is simply unable to cut it anymore.


    An example of this was Martha Reeves. I'm not a Motown fan but appreciate its impact and importance for many fans, and that she was one of its popular exponents. But when she appeared on Later a few years ago, in all honesty her voice was like a frog complaining hoarsely as it tried to force its way through a sandpaper tunnel. Yet JH was practically bowing before her and a friend of mine was outraged when I dared to say MR's voice was wrecked, which it so blatantly was.


    And the annual 'Hootenanny' shows have long since been an extended excercise in cringe-inducingness mixed with tedium.

    Abandon all reason

  • I like punk. Even though I don't enjoy all of the music, I do respect the spirit and underlying principles. It was very much a reaction to the complexity and increasing grandiosity of some of 70s rock music. It was about attitude, politics, and a in-your-face lack of virtuosity. Although some writers and some punk musicians may have believed that they were going to create a whole new musical order, I don't think that was the heart of the movement. It was more about challenging the status quo musically and politically, which is always a good thing.


    Many of the key bands in the punk era actually had a lot of admiration for the "dinosaurs" of stadium rock. The Sex Pistols (which were really a manufactured punk boy band) were Who fans, as were The Clash. The Ramones had all kinds of nods to 50s and 60s rock and pop.


    And punk has had important impact on the music of subsequent decades. I'm not just talking about more current punk bands, most of which I can't name. I'm talking about chart-topping artists that wouldn't always be viewed as punk but definitely had punk influences: Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Green Day (also big Who fans), Foo Fighters, etc. So punk served as an important challenge and stimulus to 70s rock and then influenced a newer generation of artists, who then further influence others.

  • Interesting, I don't really get that from it, I usually find it has quite a good range of acts and at times appreciated their showcasing of interesting new acts or ones unknown to me which have led me to delve into their work. Not that I've been a regular viewer in recent years, I should add. The things I tend not to like are JH's appalling amateurish interview style, being able to see grinning audience members clustered around the acts, and the occasional tendency to bring on some revered act from the 60s who gets treated like royalty but sadly is simply unable to cut it anymore.


    An example of this was Martha Reeves. I'm not a Motown fan but appreciate its impact and importance for many fans, and that she was one of its popular exponents. But when she appeared on Later a few years ago, in all honesty her voice was like a frog complaining hoarsely as it tried to force its way through a sandpaper tunnel. Yet JH was practically bowing before her and a friend of mine was outraged when I dared to say MR's voice was wrecked, which it so blatantly was.


    And the annual 'Hootenanny' shows have long since been an extended excercise in cringe-inducingness mixed with tedium.

    Didn't see Martha Reeves, but I think it was Jools shows where both Chrissie Hynde and Ray Davies both demonstrated that their singing careers were effectively over.


    Incidentally, does that 600 year long piece of music give a new meaning to "In the Cage"? :/

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile

  • Interesting, I don't really get that from it, I usually find it has quite a good range of acts and at times appreciated their showcasing of interesting new acts or ones unknown to me which have led me to delve into their work. Not that I've been a regular viewer in recent years, I should add. The things I tend not to like are JH's appalling amateurish interview style, being able to see grinning audience members clustered around the acts, and the occasional tendency to bring on some revered act from the 60s who gets treated like royalty but sadly is simply unable to cut it anymore.


    An example of this was Martha Reeves. I'm not a Motown fan but appreciate its impact and importance for many fans, and that she was one of its popular exponents. But when she appeared on Later a few years ago, in all honesty her voice was like a frog complaining hoarsely as it tried to force its way through a sandpaper tunnel. Yet JH was practically bowing before her and a friend of mine was outraged when I dared to say MR's voice was wrecked, which it so blatantly was.


    And the annual 'Hootenanny' shows have long since been an extended excercise in cringe-inducingness mixed with tedium.


    Didn't see Martha Reeves, but I think it was Jools shows where both Chrissie Hynde and Ray Davies both demonstrated that their singing careers were effectively over.

    I tend to agree with all of this. Jools’ banal interviewing technique is cringeworthy, & the Hootenanny thing has gone way beyond its sell-by date.


    But Later’s strength is in bringing a range of disparate acts together in the same programme so each episode usually has at least one act worth watching like Interpol or Marc Almond to compensate for the several others that aren’t. Also as foxfeeder said, some of them try so hard to look cool it’s embarrassing, witness Serge Pizzorno prancing around in pyjamas, & as for St Vincent.... :rolleyes:


    The top-billed acts are often disappointing: I didn’t see Martha Reeves, or Chrissie Hynde & Ray Davies (were those two on the same episode?!), but the once great Echo & the Bunnymen were clearly past their best. However if I hadn’t switched on that particular episode to witness their decline I’d never have stumbled across the Lemon Twigs, & for that I’ll forgive Jools anything ;)

  • as for St Vincent.... :rolleyes:

    I absolutely love St Vincent. She doesn't particularly come across to me as trying to look cool but even if she is I'm not bothered as I find her one of the most consistently interesting acts at the moment.


    Yeah Bunnymen were not good. Sad when you think back to that deep sonorous voice back in the Ocean Rain days. I'll have to investigate Lemon Twigs, recommended anything in particular?

    Abandon all reason

  • Amusingly, rock-head friends castigated me for liking punk, whereas my punk friends - by which I mean Peter Kelly who was the only other person who liked it - derided me for liking prog.


    Int was brief, image-led, generated more heat than light and probably mostly not very good but I liked that it happened, and remember it fondly. I'm also grateful to it for sewing the seeds of new wave from which genuinely good stuff arose and which in itself influenced many of the bands I've liked since the 90s onwards.



    But the quote above reminded me of something an old punk told me. He liked lots of different music but was big into punk during it's time (and still maintained that some sex pistols album was the best ever). He said they used to drive clothes hangers through their noses when they went to clubs. And the number of hangers you'd have dangling from your nose was symbolic of how much of a punk you were. It all sounded very strange to me!


    One of my best friends Lee Taylor was a Punk fanatic . That was before the leather jacket Mohican image . The punk idea was that you wear anything you want. A bin liner would do. It wasn't me but I liked it. Lee wore liked to wear the unusual. We went out once he had about ten ties bought from Oxfam tied to his belt and draped around his waist.


    We had arguments about music all the time. It was pretty tribal back then , and I was 16 so although I liked some I didn't give it the time I could have . Over the years I have come to like some more but still most was rubbish to me . At some point rock and punk just melded . As I said I have re evaluated but most still leaves me cold.

  • I like punk. Even though I don't enjoy all of the music, I do respect the spirit and underlying principles. It was very much a reaction to the complexity and increasing grandiosity of some of 70s rock music. It was about attitude, politics, and a in-your-face lack of virtuosity. Although some writers and some punk musicians may have believed that they were going to create a whole new musical order, I don't think that was the heart of the movement. It was more about challenging the status quo musically and politically, which is always a good thing.


    Many of the key bands in the punk era actually had a lot of admiration for the "dinosaurs" of stadium rock. The Sex Pistols (which were really a manufactured punk boy band) were Who fans, as were The Clash. The Ramones had all kinds of nods to 50s and 60s rock and pop.


    And punk has had important impact on the music of subsequent decades. I'm not just talking about more current punk bands, most of which I can't name. I'm talking about chart-topping artists that wouldn't always be viewed as punk but definitely had punk influences: Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Green Day (also big Who fans), Foo Fighters, etc. So punk served as an important challenge and stimulus to 70s rock and then influenced a newer generation of artists, who then further influence others.

    I actually agree with much of that and am a big fan of Nirvana and other later punk bands but most . Also quite a few well known stuff that has stood the test of time. What dislike mostly is the mythology that has grown it around it which seems to be accepted as true these years later. It obviously it had a big impact but no more so than prog, metal, disco , or any other major style. Musically it was suddenly very different , especially the vocal styles , it sounded very odd at the time but quite normal now. Also you hit my point exactly. The sex pistols were manufactured. Many liked and were influenced by previous stuff but it was kept quiet. I know a lot of punks have later admitted their liking for some established bands, I didn't know about The Sex pistols liking for The Who especially at the time when The Mods and The Punks were at each others throats. Music was quite tribal at times. The Mods and Rockers look back and laugh now at their youthful attitudes . Punks often don't and still keep up this myth of 1976 year zero. Punk was not this real and genuine genre that is so often made out.

  • or Chrissie Hynde & Ray Davies (were those two on the same episode?!),

    I honestly can't remember. I don't think so, in fact it may have been Hootenanny, in one or both cases. I have probably seen more of those than of "Later.." which I just don't bother with. Yes, there are often acts worth seeing (Marc Almond would be one I'd happily tune in for too) but I rarely feel motivated to even look.

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile

  • One of my best friends Lee Taylor was a Punk fanatic . That was before the leather jacket Mohican image . The punk idea was that you wear anything you want. A bin liner would do. It wasn't me but I liked it. Lee wore liked to wear the unusual. We went out once he had about ten ties bought from Oxfam tied to his belt and draped around his waist.

    I loved the punk look on girls, I was in awe of them. Down in my corner of SW London we didn't see many punks but on the rare occasion I saw a punky girl my tongue would practically hang out. It's still a style I really like, along with the indie/gothy look.

    Abandon all reason

  • I actually agree with much of that and am a big fan of Nirvana and other later punk bands but most . Also quite a few well known stuff that has stood the test of time. What dislike mostly is the mythology that has grown it around it which seems to be accepted as true these years later. It obviously it had a big impact but no more so than prog, metal, disco , or any other major style. Musically it was suddenly very different , especially the vocal styles , it sounded very odd at the time but quite normal now. Also you hit my point exactly. The sex pistols were manufactured. Many liked and were influenced by previous stuff but it was kept quiet. I know a lot of punks have later admitted their liking for some established bands, I didn't know about The Sex pistols liking for The Who especially at the time when The Mods and The Punks were at each others throats. Music was quite tribal at times. The Mods and Rockers look back and laugh now at their youthful attitudes . Punks often don't and still keep up this myth of 1976 year zero. Punk was not this real and genuine genre that is so often made out.

    I agree about the over-mythologising of punk but I also think you're somewhat underplaying the impact and significance of it. Perhaps some of the language that tends to get used about it doesn't help, such as "real" etc. It was no more 'real' than any other genre, and if people call 1976 'year zero' yes that's a bit much but there's no question it was a milestone moment that created a jumping-off point for many acts and fans in a way that has proved to be quite significant in terms of what's happened since then. Metal and disco are of course perfectly valid as genres in their own right but I don't think they were a spark-point in quite the same way (though still provided inspiration for future acts in some ways).

    Abandon all reason

  • I loved the punk look on girls, I was in awe of them. Down in my corner of SW London we didn't see many punks but on the rare occasion I saw a punky girl my tongue would practically hang out. It's still a style I really like, along with the indie/gothy look.

    Presumably complete with piercing? :)


    Must admit the goth look can work quite well on girls. Certainly makes a change from the uniform, pouty look used by almost all of them on Instagram, etc.

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile