The Punk World Where Did it Start
Did you know that the first commercially successful punk
band was the Sex Pistols? Then came groups like Black Flag,
Husker Du, and Bad Brains. Punk was invented in Britain in
the mid Seventies. The first American punk started in a New
York club called CBGB's. CBGB's would attract a crowd of
about 500 with its Sunday-afternoon hard-core matinees. The
concerts would be over by a reasonable time so kids could
get home to eat dinner with their parents. In this paper we
will take a look at some history and aspects of punk rock
over the years.
Slam dancing has been popular through the history of punk.
You may have heard of called "mashing" or "stage diving."
Mashing is just a big game of bumper cars like you played
when you were a kid. I think Natalie Jacobson who is dating
the lead singer of "Murphy's Law" describes stage diving
best when says, "It's like diving into a human carpet.
Something like the old kids' trust game. Just my way of
getting into it. Gospel people got their thing, I got
Some punks consider themselves Nazis', or are concerned
with issues like peace, racism, and nuclear war. Most punk
is against parental, musical, and political authorities. On
the other hand some isn't. Bob Mould of Husker Du talks
about politics quite frequently in his songs.
I don't write about politics because I'm not an expert.
Some bands find it very necessary to claim they're
politically relevant when in actuality they don't know shit
about politics. Not informing people is much better than
misinforming people. We're sort of like reporters in a way.
Reporters of our own mental state. Reporters of the state
of the air. Consciousness. Of the day. We make personal
Most punks that live in small towns have trouble making
friends. They find it hard to relate to most people.
Sixteen-year-old Becca Levine finds it hard to make friends
in her small town. She comes from a family of divorced
parents that never have understood her. Her mother thinks
it's just a phase she's going through. As Becca Quotes,
"Parents around here treat me like I'm kind of weird."3 She
has met someone from New York City that understands her.
She meets with him at concerts at clubs like the Ritz or
CBGB's. She met someone else also. Someone about 20 minutes
away from her hometown who wrote an ad in a national
magazine looking for someone to associate with that would
understand him. He got a lot of responses, but when he saw
the letter from Becca he called her right up. They met for
the first time at a Hard-Core show in New York City. But
still no one in her hometown understands her. Fitting in
with the New York hard-core scene is one of her goals.
Punk has its very own unique style. Although punk sports
hard edges, bright colors, shaved heads, leather jackets,
Mohawks, and army boots. You can't really tell if a person
is a punk by the way they dress or do their hair. Wanda
Draper, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at
the University of Oklahoma says, "We need to look at their
reactions and responses to what goes on around them in
everyday life. When we know that this is a fad-that it is
an effort to be a part of the 'group'-we can usually
Development of Punk
Through the years some punk has had influences from country
to the Grateful Dead. Some of this may not even be punk at
all. Take Rancid's song "Time Bomb" off their latest album,
"...And Out Come the Wolves"5 for instance. It is their
rendition of Reggae.
Most punk groups don't make much money at all. Once in a
while a punk group will hit it big time but that is very
Paul Westerbert, lead singer of the Replacements quotes,
"We are the hungriest band I've ever seen. We get in the
van and drive to a town, play, stay at a friend's house.
Wake up when they throw us out. Drive the rest of the day.
Play the next night. We get fifteen dollars a day.
And when we're home, we don't get nothing. We're way in
debt. We own a van, it breaks down, and you know when you
play that the gig money goes to pay for the broken-down
van. We're used to it.6
Punk is also related to Hard-Core and Ska. Hard-Core is
usually heavier and more upbeat the regular punk. Ska is
punk with some trumpets or saxophones playing along.
Punk Is Still Going Strong
Drugs, rock star ego's, and in some cases death ruined the
development of punk bands back around 1980 like the Sex
Pistols, Black Flag, and The Germs. It made a recent
comeback in the early nineties. Julia Sazbo quotes, "Music
lovers will argue that it all started in early 1993 when
Rhino Records came out with D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself), a
nine-volume aural history of punk. They came tours by the
Ramones, the Stranglers, and Television."7 Believe it or
not. Punk has been and still is surviving mostly on minor
1 Blauner, Peter. "Hard-Core Kids." New York. 26 May 1986:
2 Goldberg, Micheal. "Punk Lives." Rolling Stone. 18 July-1
August 1985: 30.
3 Blauner, Peter. "Hard-Core Kids." New York. 26 May 1986:
4 "Draper, Wanda. "Punk Look-Fad or Defiance?" USA Today.
April 1990: 14.
5 Song. "Time Bomb." ...And Out Come the Wolves. Performed
by Rancid. Epitaph, 86434-2, 1995.
6 Goldberg, Micheal. "Punk Lives." Rolling Stone. 18 July-1
August 1985: 30.
7 Szabo, Julia. "Think Punk." Harper's Bazaar. November
Blauner, Peter. "Hard-Core Kids." New York. 26 May 1986: 41.
Goldberg, Micheal. "Punk Lives." Rolling Stone. 18 July-1
August 1985: 30.
"Draper, Wanda. "Punk Look-Fad or Defiance?" USA Today.
Song. "Time Bomb." ...And Out Come the Wolves. Performed by
Rancid. Epitaph, 86434-2, 1995.
Szabo, Julia. "Think Punk." Harper's Bazaar. November 1993: