Monday, September 28, 2009

The Damned Rules

In my opinion, newer punk rock music sucks. Punk was so vital and amazing in the late 70s and early 80s because it represented a complete breakdown of all the norms of society. It wasn't a set genre, the best bands were the ones who kept pushing the limitations of it to the breaking point and veering it into new territory. Like D. Boon from the Minutemen said: "Punk was whatever we made it to be." The Minutemen, by the way, are not only one of the greatest punk rock bands ever, but one of the greatest rock bands ever. And how brilliant of a philosophy is that? Taking the idea of punk and folding it in on itself. Its not only the energy and the 'lets tear down the walls' attitude, but also a canvas for 100 percent personal expression and invention. Lets tear down ALL the walls, not just the easy, cheesy ones, like square parents and the establishment, but the walls that keep people divided and keep people from being the best person they can be. Not trendy, in other words. The trendy, hipster aspect of it is of course the worst aspect of punk rock, and of course the aspect of punk rock that continues to this day. When I was a teenager in the mid 90s, there was a really amazing music scene on Cape Cod. Bands like Cheesewheel, No Siento, The Fleece and more represented the non-trendy, D Boon style philosophy to the fullest. These bands all sounded different, looked different and were all amazing. For some reason, punk rock back then was attitude that was all encompassing. Sort of like how you would say something was "awesome", you would say something was "punk rock". For example: when the Beastie Boys released "Licensed to Ill", that was punk rock. NWA was more punk rock than some new crappy punk band, because of what they represented and their attitude. NWA in the late 80s scared people to the core, and definitely represented a complete breakdown of society's rules. My Chemical Romance or whoever will never do that. Maybe that's why punk is dead, because all the great shit has been done already. Maybe its because not being a trendy, hollow jerk is no longer cool, and being a trendy, hollow jerk is just so cool now.

And furthermore, The Damned is amazing. They really represent that strain of punk rock that was extremely experimental and intelligent. My sister gave me their greatest hits tape (might have even been a double tape) when I was 10 years old and I loved it. I remember telling my friend's parents that they were my favorite band and seeing the parents' shock and confusion. Check out these videos, and enjoy. (Keep in mind that "Smash it Up" is from 1979. That video looks at least 15 years ahead of its time.)

1 comment:

Will Errickson said...

Nicely done, sir. I agree that both the Beastie Boys and NWA are some serious punk rock-style shit. The Damned are great too, and not just that first album either. I've always wondered why the Clash's "Sandinista" doesn't get the same love as, say, Television's "Marquee Moon" or PiL's "Metal Box" or Talking Heads' "Fear of Music." Just as bizarre and creative and unexpected... and punk rock.