What Is Punk Rock?Punk rock is a type of rock music that typically creates fast, hard-edged music. The songs often contain anti-establishment lyrics such as that of the Sex Pistols‟ „Anarchy In The UK!‟.It has been used to describe music of various different sub-genres of rock too, and it is debated about when it truly became a genre itself.
Influential Punk Rock Bands The Ramones The Smiths The Velvet Underground The Stooges The Sex Pistols The Clash Siouxsie & The Banshees The Misfits Minor Threat Bad Religion
What Makes A Punk-RockSong? Fast, aggressive beats and sound overall. The idea of rebellion or anti-establishment lyrics, or band members who are known for this. Independence of style, such as releasing records without record labels. A rejection of conformity and a desire to sound „different‟. Punk rock was described by John Holmstrom (editor of Punk magazine) as "rock and roll by people who didnt have very much skills as musicians but still felt the need to express themselves through music“. Album covers generically featured the band themselves or their motif or logo, combined with the title and artist. Occasionally the covers are more detailed too. Some examples are on the next slide.
Key Punk-Rock Bands (1965-1976) The Velvet Underground“The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band.” – Brian Eno/Peter BuckManaged by Andy Warhol, the band was known for provocative lyrics and a negative outlook on various aspects of life. Famous solo artist Lou Reed was a founder of the band.Formed in 1965 and lasting until 1972, Velvet Underground released 5 studio albums in their time as a group, and reformed for one final concert in 1996 when inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.
Key Punk-Rock Bands (1965-1976)The Stooges (Or, Iggy & The Stooges), formed in 1967 until 1974.They were very recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame (2010).Famous vocalist Iggy Pop formed the band to create “a whole new form of blues music” and their original sound was described as “more avant garde than punk-rock”. However, their later music became hugely popular with punk- rock artists and fans alike.
The Stooges The Stooges were widely known for their wild, primitive and outrageous live performances, with Iggy Pop being credited often with the popularisation of the technique of stage diving, and his wild performance can be seen in the video below.
Key Punk-Rock Bands (1965-1976) The RamonesThey were cited as „the first punk-rock group‟, formed in 1974. They toured for nearly 22 years non-stop, and their shows were said to influence many many bands, and “instantly nearly every band speeded up”. FUN FACT: The members of the band all adopted psuedonyms with the surname “Ramone”, despite not being related.The Ramones‟ logo has also become a popular brand on t-shirts, bags and other merchandise recently.
Key Punk-Rock Bands (1965-1976) The Sex PistolsThe Sex Pistols are renowned worldwide for initiating the British Punk movement. They formed in 1975 and their songs included heavily anti-establishment messages, such as „Anarchy In The UK‟ and „God Save The Queen‟. When inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, they refused to attend the ceremony and were very derogatory towards it. The band broke up in 1978 when vocalist Johnny Rotten left the band and announced it‟s break up. Sid Vicious, the bassist, died a year later from a drug overdose and since then the remaining members have done a few reunion tours, but only from 2002.
Key Punk-Rock Bands (1965-1976)The ClashFormed in 1976 and disbanded in early 1986, they were classed into many different genres alongside punk-rock. In alternative rock, they were classed as “the only band that matters”. They used political and rebellious lyrics to create an impact and their songs have received commercial success since their creation, with the most famous being „London Calling‟.
Musical & Lyrical Elements Punk rock instruments consist usually of two guitars, vocals, a bass and drums, as is quite generic for most sub-genres of rock. The songs are often short, such as The Ramones‟ debut album, containing 14 tracks with nearly all under 2 minutes long. Guitar solos are not often used, but short guitar breaks are preferred. Lyrics often sound nasal or are shouted, offering little change in pitch or tone. Lyrics often focus around anti-establishment or conveying a political message, such as The Sex Pistols or The Clash‟s lyrics. The musicians often were not of huge skill, but put all their heart into their work.
Vocals The vocals of a punk-rock band often rely on shouting or scratchy voices. Vocalists tend to be seen shirtless, or in denim cut-off jackets, much was the style of punk-rock. Some of the most famous punk-rock vocalists are pictured below;(Left to right: Johnny Rotten (The Sex Pistols), Joey Ramone (The Ramones) and Joe Strummer (The Clash)).
Punk-Rock: Where Are YouNow? Punk-rock has progressed to be a very popular but quite generalised sub-genre. It has become blurred with the sub-genres of alternative rock and „emo‟ in today‟s world of music, and the idea of being “a punk” to listen to punk-rock is much less common. It also helped to spur on independent record labels or artists, creating the idea of the „indie‟ sub-genre.
Modern Punk-Rock Bands Green Day Anti-Flag NOFX AFI (A Fire Inside) Sum 41 The Offspring Many of these bands were forming around the late „80s and „90s but did not become popular until the 21st Century when television channels such as Kerrang! And Scuzz began to work in the same way that MTV and Top Of The Pops did for other genres of music by promoting their videos.
Blurred Lines of Punk-Rock There are some bands that fall into more than one sub-genre, and can fall under heavy criticism for their lack of reference to the punk-rock genre when classified into it. One of these bands in the recent „emo‟ band, My Chemical Romance. First classed as a punk-rock or alternative-rock (alt-rock) band, their later album releases seemed to disprove this genre and caused quite a lot of controversy in the music world for their fans or „haters‟. Another band like this is Blink-182, who have only recently reformed after a split of 4 years. Classed more as pop-punk than punk-rock, the band receive criticism due to the nature of their lyrics. Whereas most punk-rock bands have heavily political and important messages in their songs, Blink-182 are notorious for not taking themselves very seriously, therefore contradicting the sub-genre people have grouped them into.
Fun Punk-Rock Facts Many artists within punk-rock are known only by pseudonyms. This is because of various reasons. Michael Ryan Pritchard III (Bassist, Green Day) changed his name to „Mike Dirnt‟ because he liked the sound that his bass guitar made: “dirnt, dirnt, dirnt”, when he played the strings. John Simon Ritchie (Bassist, The Sex Pistols) adopted the name „Sid Vicious‟ after he was bitten by a hamster named Sid, and had exclaimed “Sid is really vicious!”. The name stuck with his friend and he soon adopted it. Jeffrey Ross Hyman, John William Cunnings & Douglas Glenn Colvin (The Ramones) all changed their surnames when they played with The Ramones: Joey Ramone, Johnny Ramone and Dee Dee Ramone. This was because of a story based upon Paul McCartney of The Beatles, who allegedly checked into hotels under the false name of “Paul Ramon”.