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  • Punk Rock

    Punk rock music is a form of rock that formed as an anti-corporate genre in the mid 70s. Beginning its development throughout the US, UK, and Australia with bands like the Ramones, Sex Pistols and The Clash in the years 74 through 76, punk rock soon began spreading across the entire world by 1977. Bands of the genre created mostly short songs with fast, hard instrumentation and more often that not lyrics with some sort of political aim. The subculture created by the genre produced distinct style of clothing, anti-authority ideals, and those who followed the culture came into a rebellious, do it yourself attitude. If even only for brief time, punk rock became what some called a “cultural phenomenon” very quickly in the UK. Punk easily found roots in the local scenes that were not apart of the mainstream ideology of music. In the early years of the 80s, the hardcore style of punk took a front seat in the genres spotlight, hardcore having been a much more aggressive style of music.

    Punk rock also helped inspire many musicians that helped bring along the alternative rock genre in later years. The early years of the 90s saw bands that began to bring the punk genre a large amount of popularity, such as the ever popular pop punk band Green Day. The first wave of punk was an attempt to be more aggressive and to carry less sentiments that had been portrayed in the early 70s rock scene. Early punk rock was said to prefer the bare musical formats and array of the garage rock of the 60’s era, avoiding the flashy musical effects and the technological demands that most bands in the early and mid 70s put such a heavy emphasis upon. The instrumentation usually found in most punk rock bands is actually quite normal, consisting usually of nothing more than two electric guitars, a drum kit, and a bass guitar, and of course vocals.

    Most punk rock genre music is actually unusually short for rock music, for instance, most of the songs on the Ramones’ first album were under two minutes in length. During the early days of punk rock, most songs retained a rock ‘n’ roll feel, using verse-chorus form, and the same type of time signature, though during the genres second wave most bands began to break away from this form of music, and the trend has continued. The lyrical content of punk rock music is often not sung by the vocalist as in traditional music, rather it is shouted, this being much more true in the hardcore form of the genre. The long and often difficult guitar rifts and solos are uncommon and viewed mainly as completely unnecessary, and some guitarists tend to use more distorted power chords.

    Though, some bands prefer a more, ‘surf rock’ style, guitarists taking a lighter approach in these cases. Bass guitar rifts are more often than not much more basic and are usually only used to carry along the melody of the song, but in some cases a few bands have used more technically difficult lines, such as in the rifts by bass guitarist Mike Watt, who is well known for his work with bands like The Minutemen and fIREHOUSE. Drum set ups are usually minimal in the genre, and often have a dry, heavy sound, and in the hardcore styles, the drumming tends to be extremely fast. Lyrical content in the punk rock scene is quite blunt and often confrontational about issues dealing with politics and the state of society. While some other bands focus on more traditional rock themes, such as dating, heart broken themes, and spending time hanging out with friends and the like.

    The actual use of the term punk before the mid 70s scene was actually in referral to young males who were considered to be “hoodlums” or the like. The first time punk was connected to a music genre was when the actual terminology was used in March or 1970 in the Chicago Tribune in reference to the band The Fugs by the co-founder Ed Sanders, when he was trying to describe the band itself. By 75 the term was used to refer to such acts as the Patti Smith Group, Bruce Springsteen, and the Bay City Rollers.

    Punk rock was originally begun in three main places, New York City, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The New York punk scene originated in early 74, around the Manhattan area thanks to a club called CBGB. The punk rock scene broke out around the same time in various parts of Australia, becoming highly popular in 76 and on. Bands attributed with the beginning of Australia’s punk scene include The Saints and the Cheap Nasties to name a few. The band the Sex Pistols are attributed to beginning the punk rock movement in the United Kingdom, thanks to a man called Malcolm McLaren who had bore witness to the emergence of the punk genre in New York City at the CBGB.

    In 75 he opened a clothing store called SEX, and it carried a clothing line that produced articles of clothing such as slashed t-shirts and fetish gear that he saw punk rockers wearing, items that would soon become highly popular thanks to the punk rock scene. By 76 bands like the Ramones and The Stranglers became heavily associated with punk rock, and were accredited to the scenes outbreak in the UK. By 77 the punk rock movement was in full swing and on its second wave of movement through not only the New York, Australia and United Kingdom scenes, but well on its way into emergence in multiple other countries. By 78, the hardcore version of punk rock music was creating uproar in southern California and was causing a rivalry between the old school punk rockers and the newer hardcore punk genre.

    From the two sub-genres many other music scenes developed, such as the New Wave movement, Oi, Anarcho-punk, Pop-punk, as well as many other fusions and influences on other genres. Though the Punk movement died out, the early 90s saw a revival of the genre, through bands such as Green Day, Nirvana, and other bands such as The Offspring in later years. Some more notable punk bands throughout the scene include AFI, Radio Birdman, Reagan Youth, Eve 6, Fear, Rosa, Apocalypse Hoboken, among an entire culture worth of other performers and talented bands.

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