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When I was a teenager I lived in England. At about that time, punk came along and captured the front pages of the tabloids: `The Filth and the Fury'. The Sex Pistols brought out `God Save the Queen' during the Queen's Jubilee year (a celebration of Elizabeth II for sitting on the throne for 25 years without falling off), just when the rest of England was lining up to kiss the royal posterior. The Pistols' ode to her majesty started:

`god save the queen
the facist regime
they made you a moron
potential h-bomb
god save the queen
she ain't no human being
there is no future
in england's dreaming

don't be told what you want
don't be told what you need
there's no future no future
no future for you
god save the queen
we mean it man.'

    That summed up for me the spirit of punk. Johnny Rotten was obviously being sarcastic (he didn't "mean" `God save the Queen' as in "Lord watch over our ruler"), but in fact the Pistols proved to be far more than the marionettes McLaren wanted them to be, and they really did stand for something punk: chaos, rebellion, and a gob in the face of traditional values.

American punks seemed to be second-rate imitators who never embodied the whole spirit of the movement the way the Pistols and the Clash did. Later I got to know the Ramones, who were as real as any of them and just happened to do it first. But to an 18 year old raised on rugby and aggro, US punk was just kids from the suburbs playing dress-up.

In 1984 I went to see X at the Orpheum in Boston. When I got there the support had finished and X were already onstage. There was no way I was getting anywhere near the front. I knew how punk audiences were. But I tried anyway, and within 5 minutes I was standing a few feet from Exene. These so-called "punks" melted like butter - they wouldn't even stand their own ground. US punks had no spunk.

I know there are good US punk bands, but I hardly know them. I never got into hardcore, which is in some ways truer to the spirit of punk than what came before it. I do think Iggy and the Stooges and the MC5 were living the punk life years before anyone in England thought of it, but can you call their music punk, or is it just raw, primitive rock? I know some great New York bands that hung around CBGBs when the Ramones played there, and were informed by their spirit, but they all got poppy or arty pretty fast (Blondie, Television, Talking Heads).

Tomorrow morning I'll do an overall Best Punk Band Diary (with a poll and a quiz), but could you educate me a little in the meanwhile, in the comments below? What US band really showed you the meaning of punk?

Originally posted to Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 09:11 AM PDT.

Also republished by Electronic America: Progressives Film, music & Arts Group.

Poll

Who is the best US punk band?

1%1 votes
1%1 votes
5%4 votes
4%3 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
19%14 votes
5%4 votes
6%5 votes
2%2 votes
41%30 votes
11%8 votes

| 72 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Duh (none)
    Anyone who votes for any band other than the Ramones is just wrong.

    The Ramones showed the brits what punk was all about.

    All you have to do is look at the timelines.

    New York Dolls -> Ramones -> Clash/Pistols blah blah blah

    It's the Ramones.

    The Ramones.

    The Ramones.

    No debate.

  •  DK's (none)
    Yup, the DK's played a lot of 'suburban dress up' venues.  Yup, the English hardcore scene was always more real, less posers.  But we did have our moments in the SF bay area as did LA.  Why?
    England sucks thats why.  Whe Sid sang about no future, he meant it, 'cause he, and most of his generation, didn't think they had one.  It was too hard to maintain angst in Huntingdon Beach when yer dad was going to give you a car and a $50K a year job if you let your hair return to a stock configuration and quit the band.  You might as well be dedicated in the UK, because you weren't going to ever amout to anything anyways.

    Also, I think the one way road of speed+music to heroin+music to just heroin+no music played out faster in the states, resulting in the premature demise of some great talent.

    All punk was local to start.  In England the scene was London and that was about it.  If the band played in London, everybody knew them.  In the US there could be sombody great in NY, or LA, or SF that you never ever heard of, and that may have been way more 'comitted' than anybody in your area.  So the US movement was more fragmented, and dissolved with greater ease than in the UK.

    •  I prefer the Ramones now (none)
      but the first US punk record I heard, in England, was 'Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables', which had such vicious and hilarious lyrics, and such burning energy, that we all loved it.

      Punk as we know it in the late 70s grew mainly out of 3 scenes: LA, New York, and london. And London certainly had the most of a scene. The Ramones went and played England and found they had not just a small cult but an actual record-buying fan base. The Clash, the Damned, the Pistols, the Banshees, and the Pretenders all played incestuously in each others' bands. The energy of the first 100 or so punks in London, the original tribe, is what made the London scene grow - more fans had the chance to catch the fire of inspiration and go start their own bands (e.g. the Buzzcocks).

      Chrissie Hynde said that everyone was doing speed. Sid Vicious stayed up for 3 days on speed, playing along to the Ramones, and then started joining bands. But she also said that when Johnny Thunders brought smack and everyone got into that, that was the death of the original punk scene.

      "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

      by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 09:36:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Punk in the U.S. (none)
      It was about the local scene and not being a sell-out. I voted for Iggy Pop, the ur-punk.
      •  Yeah, Bigtime Props to Brecht... (none)
        ...for stating what those of us from Detroit have argued for years: Punk started in suburban Detroit around 1967-1968, when James Osterberg and his buddies started The Stooges and the insurrectionists  championed by John Sinclair--who predated Malcolm McClaren by almost a decade--who called themselves the MC5 kicked out the jams.  

        The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

        by Dana Houle on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 11:37:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I kind of think Iggy's (none)
          the embodiment of punk, a "street-walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm". The very fact that (like Keith) he's still alive is pretty punk in itself, a barbaric yawp across the rooftops of America, or whatever it was Whitman said.

          I don't know what's in Detroit's water. It makes people set buildings on fire and guitars too: Stooges, MC5, Funkadelic, Motown. Maybe the reality's so bleak people have to explode their imaginations.

          "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

          by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 12:23:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Voted for the Ramones (none)
    But, the Pistols gave punk the theatre and snottiness it needed to blow up in one big fireball.

    Like Neil Young says in his Johnny Rotten tribute, "It's better to burn out, then it is to rust."

    I've heard in interviews that the Pistols were afraid of the Ramones when they came to England in their motorcycle jackets and torn jeans, snarling.  They were scared they were gonna get clubbed!  

    If Jesus Christ came back today and saw what was being done in his name, he'd never stop throwing up... - Hannah and Her Sisters

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 09:22:48 AM PDT

    •  Ramones played Elvis to Pistols' Beatles... (none)
           By the way, I wonder if your story is apocryphal. Sid Vicious beat a rock writer with a chain once, clubbed some audience member in Texas with his bass, etc. Not to mention his being an actual killer.
      •  *Alleged* actual killer (none)
        There is a theory that Nancy had been killed by a burglar looking for drug money. Sid found the body later but was too drugged to remember what happened.
        Still, I can't picture him being scared of The Ramones....

        I'm not black, but there are times when I wish I could say I'm not white. --Frank Zappa

        by Bob Quixote on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 09:36:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  By all accounts (4.00)
          Sid had no fear. Johhny, on the other hand, lived in the real world.

          "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

          by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 09:44:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Steve and Paul were tough (4.00)
            Sid was more image and intimidation, it wasn't realy in him to be as mean as his image. Jonny could take a beating for a skinny dude. Glen was very nice. McClarin would run and hide, then clain otherwise.

            "Just when they think they know the answer, I change the question!" R.Piper

            by McGirk SF on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 11:12:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Oh yes, you're right, definitely (none)
        This was PRE-Sid.  This was really pre-Pistols, actually.  It was when they were just hanging out at McLaren's store.

        If Jesus Christ came back today and saw what was being done in his name, he'd never stop throwing up... - Hannah and Her Sisters

        by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 09:37:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I hadn't heard that the Pistols were afraid (4.00)
        of the Ramones, who seem to be mostly pretty nice guys. But the Pistols got beat up an awful lot in '77 and '78, once they became the poster boys of punk, and the tabloids and TV found they could move a lot of copy by manufacturing outrage.

        I did hear that the Jam beat up the Pistols once, and that the Stranglers (who, while less authentically punk in their music - witness the Doorsy keyboards, even before they discovered synths - were more dangerous thugs than most of their peers, frequently inciting riots) once beat up ALL the other groups in the 'Top of the Pops' dressing rooms.

        "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

        by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 09:43:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  speaking of fear... (none)
      Glen Matlock was kicked out of the Pistols for admitting in public to liking the Beatles.

      Sid was actually an Abba fan. When the Pistols played Sweden Sid saw Abba in the airport. He ran up to them to get their autographs. Not surprisingly, Abba took one look at Sid and ran away.

      "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

      by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:08:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not a lot of Pere Ubu fans here (none)
    DK are a close second.
  •  Punk Philosophy (none)
    Punk is an idea.  Not a sound, style, or esthetic.  Punk is DIY (do it yourself).  Punk is being true to your art.  Most importantly, punk is the expanding cultural boundary of the human experience.  The frontier, the exploration of ideas, the art of the possible.  

    Artists don't label themselves punk.  That's the job of the fans and critics.  Unless they're posseurs, of course.

    There is no such thing as "best".  Punk just is.  I'll let anthropologists argue the issue of "best".  Growing up in Seattle, most of the shows I saw were local talent just doing their thing.  Jam sessions.  Fantastic, awful, it didn't matter.  It was all good.  Done by largely unknowns.  Now disbanded, leaving behind some concert posters and maybe some warped vinyl EPs.  Though I admit to still having a soft spot for punks still doing it, like The Fall Outs.

    If I'm working late or just hanging out, I sometimes like to tune into Sonic Reducer Saturday 9:00pm - midnight on KEXP 90.3 fm.  Check out the website for archives and live streaming audio.

    •  Nicely put (none)
      I was too young to catch the early scene, and that may have effected my view, but I completely agree with this. You could look like a punk, but if you didn't have the right attitude, then it didn't matter. Just the same, you might come across as something else, but if your attitude was right, then you were a punk act in my book.

      Eventually I think England was more true to the genre and there were a lot of American punks who sold out, but not because of their music or look, as much as their attitude. Having said that, I never cared as much for punk acts that didn't believe in the future or the possibility of a better society, although I still felt connected to them through their negative vibes.

      Sadly, I think the music scene has failed to produce acts with a real social concience since punk died, except for a few acts here and there. Although acts like U2 have made a career out of being socially concientious, I don't usually believe them (not to say they don't do some good things, but the attitude doesn't seem authentic.) Modern punk isn't bad, but I can't help to question if they really understand what it means to be punk.

      Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

      by rogun on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:15:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There is much in what you say (none)
      but I'm not sure how to respond in less than 1000 words. May try again later.

      "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

      by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:16:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I voted for the Stooges (none)
    because they were the earliest band on the list and a big influence on all the others. Thought of voting for the Ramones. Their first few albums define the genre, but they started to become caricatures after, say, End of the Century or thereabouts.
    And, although they weren't really considered punk, the Velvet Underground should be mentioned on this thread somewhere, just for their immense influence on the whole punk class of '77.

    I'm not black, but there are times when I wish I could say I'm not white. --Frank Zappa

    by Bob Quixote on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 09:33:10 AM PDT

    •  Un-punk, but interesting just the same (none)
      Ian Curtis of Joy Division was WAY into Iggy.  In fact, he was supposedly listening to Iggy when he hung himself.

      While we're at it, let's talk "seminal bands"

      The Velvet Underground
      The Stooges
      Joy Division
      Sonic Youth

      who's yer fav?

      If Jesus Christ came back today and saw what was being done in his name, he'd never stop throwing up... - Hannah and Her Sisters

      by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 09:42:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There is an argument that VU could never be punk (none)
      because they were just too musically talented

      "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

      by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 09:48:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I voted for the Stooges too (none)
      Still, when I listen to their stuff, I can't believe how early they sounded like that. Maybe more "Primitive Rock", like the diarist desrcibed it as, but definitely the dust cloud that would become the planet of punk. Velvet Underground should be on that list too. I would have voted for them.

      we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

      by Tirge Caps on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:31:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  X (4.00)
      I picked X, well, because I live in Los Angeles and they did and occasionally can still put on a great show.  DK is up there though.  I still don't think of the Ramones as punk.  I think of them as pop-punk, which pisses off people, but if I'm going to mosh about my house, I'm tossing on DKs.  I sing Ramones songs to my toddler for goodness sake.

      Anyway...my point is that I agree with you about the Stooges.  I tend to forget that they were out there before everyone else.  And even though I loathe Loe Reed as person, I also think the Velvet Underground should be up there too.  They really did influence a lot of bands, even beyond the punk class of '77.

  •  gabba gabba hey (none)
    I voted for the Ramones too, because fblau is right, but I have to give a shout out to the DKs.  I grew up working class in the South and they expressed a lot of the rage I felt during the Reagan years.

    I once talked to Joey Ramone about the CBGBs scene (long story....) and he said that most of the bands were arty to start with, especially Patti Smith.  She'd already been doing the poetry thing by years at that point, and hanging out with Robert Mapplethorpe. The guys in the Ramones were just as dead-end as anybody living in an English counsel block.

    Hey, maybe if things get as bad in America as a lot of dKos posters seem to think (avian flu, economic meltdown, etc.) we will finally get a real U.S. punk movement.  (And don't flame me, I know that's small consolation!)

    Bush is "oblivious, in denial, dangerous."

    by magic1 on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 09:36:10 AM PDT

    •  Patti Smith, Television, Talking Heads (none)
      were art bands who jumped on punk because it was the hottest and most exciting game in town

      "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

      by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:13:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hey, check out my song "God Save (none)
         The Queen 2005 (Prince Harry Mix)" at http://d-bo.com/GodSavetheQueen2005(PrinceHarryMix).html .
    •  Whoops, link not glowing in all parts. (none)
           Paste it in if you have to.
      •  Well, here are the lyrics: (none)
        Lyrics for "God Save The Queen 2005 (Prince Harry Mix)":

        Heil Harry?
        You thought Belsen was a gas?
        Time to visit Auschwitz my lad?
        Tsunami of insensitivity?
        A cheap holiday in other people's misery?

        Adolf Hitler ist ein Londoner?

        God save the Queen
        the royal fascist regime,
        your grandson's a moron
        a potential H-bomb.

        God save Prince Harry-y-y
        he ain't no human being.
        There is no future
        in Tony Blair's dreaming

        Don't be told what you want
        Don't be told by the BBC.
        There's no future
        there's no culture
        there's just a swastika for you

        God shave Queen Harry (antichrist junior)
        we mean it man
        Sieg Heil Harry
        God saves

        God save Prince Chuck (and Camilla-a-a)
        he's clean out of luck
        an old figurehead
        with Nazi progeny

        Oh God save history
        your colonial parade
        Oh Lord God have mercy
        all crimes are paid.

        When there's no future
        how can there be sin
        we're the black natives
        in your Belmarsh prison
        we're the poison
        in your Windsor machine
        we're the future
        your dark future

        Blair save the Queen
        we mean it man
        we love Queen William (in his leopard skins)
        God saves

        This is the boring part--
        rock on Jimmy Page
        Adolf Hitler?
        or Adolf Windsor?
        Torture at Abu Ghraib and Basra
        like Hector's body dragged at Troy

        Sod save the Queen
        we mean it woman
        there is no future
        in Baghdad's dreaming

        No future (Harry is the enemy)
        no future for you (Harry is anarchy)
        no bloody future for me

        No future for Gordon Brown
        the Berlin Wall is in London town
        no future for George W. Clown (in his gilded crown)

        No holidays in the sun
        anarchy in the Palace is no fun
        all decency is on the run (and under the gun)

        No future
        No future for Jews! with that filthy, dirty swastika.

        Oi! Down with the Nazis! (clap)
        and monarchy too! (clap)
        Britain's head of state (clap)
        should be black or a Jew!!! (clap)

        (Hava Nagilah theme)

        Long live Israel! --HEY!!!

        - - -

        Copyright 2005 David Boyle     All rights reserved

  •  don't forget (none)
    Richard Hell's  "Blank Generation" and Patti Smith's "Rock'n'Roll Nigger"
    •  Looking at Television, the Voidoids (none)
      and how much McLaren and Vivienne Westwood ripped off his dress-sense, you get the sense that Richard Hell is the great lost punk leader of New York. There's a lot of power and talent on that first Voidoids album.

      "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

      by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 09:50:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The problem with these diaries is... (none)
    ...that they can't possibly include everyone that desreves to be included. And questions that reduce the choice to is this better than that are too limiting.

    Where would you put:

    • The Germs
    • The Adolescents
    • Agent Orange
    • Social Distortion
    • Bad Brains
    • The Avengers
    I could go on, but why?

    And across the pond:

    • The Buzzcocks
    • The Stranglers
    • 999
    • The Undertones
    • New Model Army
    • The Damned

    Those were the days...

    Or were they?

    • The Pixies
    • Nirvana
    • Smashing Pumpkins
    • Jane's Addiction

    OK, I'm done.
    •  Best Of lists are stoopid (none)
      in that they presume to an authority they never earn. How the hell is there a best Rock Album ever made out of millions of albums which are all good IN DIFFERENT WAYS? And why did the critics back in 1980 all say the Greatest LP was Sgt. Pepper's, but now the critics all say it's Revolver/ OK Computer/ Nevermind?

      I don't write these diaries because I think I can find a definitive answer, they're just a drawing board for dialog so that people who know some music can learn about other music.

      So let me learn you real good. Just kidding.

      Of your first six bands, people all say the Germs (and Darby Crash) were as punk as LA got. Aren't the others all second wave, 80s bands? I love Bad Brains. Just as well, since I don't have any good ones.

      Of your second six bands, New Model Army were later. Yes, you have good taste, the others are all great but underated punk bands, except the Stranglers (despite 'Rattus' and 'Heroes') were not true punks but fellow travellers - like the Police, they were old schoolers looking for a break. Perhaps that's just a quibble,since they did knock out classics like 'Peaches' and 'No More Heroes', which is more than Sham 69 ever did for punk.

      "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

      by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:58:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Best Of lists are amusing, but no more (none)
        And why did the critics back in 1980 all say the Greatest LP was Sgt. Pepper's, but now the critics all say it's Revolver/ OK Computer/ Nevermind?

        Different people, different generations. I would say it's Abbey Road. It seems like the Beatles are the unifying common denominator.

        Nice to see 999 mentioned. When I was in high school, I bought an album of theirs called Concrete because I'd heard the band's name, and the record was mid-line priced. Barely heard it mentioned anywhere else, but every track on it was great.

        I'm not black, but there are times when I wish I could say I'm not white. --Frank Zappa

        by Bob Quixote on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 01:22:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Easy (none)
      You listed a bunch of groups that 1) aren't punk, 2) suck ass 3)both.  

      Social Distortion?  Punk?  I thought they were like punkabilly godfathers.  They play most of the rockabilly shows down here it seems.  I can't put them in the same category as The Adolescents or The Germs.  I'll also give you the Buzzcocks.  They should have been up there.  

      In my mind, your last group aren't even anywhere near punk.  They're not even great-grandchildren of punk.  Why not The Vandals, Voodoo Glow Skulls, NOFX, or even late 80s/early 90s No Doubt?  They're punk and ska-punk bands who flippin' rock and put on great shows.  The best part about them is the lack of pretense.  They knew they were rich, white OC kids and sang about being rich, white OC kids.  Not like the rich, white OC kids who think themselves "punk" today and try to act like having to shop at JCPenney's is being "poor".

    •  Some other thoughts (none)
      The Avengers and Bad Brains were some of my punk influences. Although I was a huge fan of The Damned, I really find it difficult to label them 'punk' after 1985 - goth drama is more like it.

      How about the Oxnard groups? I am a huge fan of Dr. Know.

      Also, how about Sham 69 and the like? Can we classify those Oy bands as punk?

      I see someone mentioned Husker Du above. Certainly cannot forget them as a 'mature' punk group.

      Inquiry that does not achieve coordination of behaviour is not inquiry but simply wordplay - Richard Rorty

      by BuckMulligan on Sun Oct 09, 2005 at 01:35:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oxnard Groups? (none)
        I've never heard the term before.

        Oh, the Damned should have been Kings of Punk, the fools, they squandered it away. The first punk single (in the UK). The first punks on the telly. The first punk band to break up.

        Their first few albums were mostly great and then, like the Stranglers, they started playing with more synthesizers and less plot.

        Personally, I barely classify Sham 69 and the Oi bands as music, but if you know a good album of theirs to point me to I'm willing to reconsider.

        Husker Du? Punk? I mean, I see why, but they always seemed more of the hardcore/alternative 80s scene to me. Brilliant and powerful with hooks to spare.

        Incidentally, Mr. Mulligan, are you by chance stately and plump (no offense intended)?

        "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

        by Brecht on Mon Oct 10, 2005 at 05:45:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  it's all good! (none)
    I love every one of the bands listed but the Ramones (sepecially the first album)are really the best distillation of "punk" ever.

    My personal fave on the list is Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Bob Quine was one of the best guitarist ever to mangle a Fender. RIP

    The real underdogs listed are the Dictators. GO GIRL CRAZY is another one of those great lost albums.

    Someone showed me a picture and I just had to laugh.. Dignity ain't never been photographed

    by jz63 on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 09:51:07 AM PDT

  •  you have to be kidding?!? (none)
    To say that The Ramones "just happened" to get there first is transparent and false.  There was no accident about it.  Iggy & The Stooges were no accident either.  These things were no accident because punk is rock-n-roll, not different from it.  The Who were close in the 60s, but punted on going the last steps needed to do what the Ramones actually did...to recast punk as its own thing within rock, not just loud, angry rock.  The attitude was added by Iggy, Joey, and even Jonathan Richman (that first album was done in 1971!) long before any of the Pistols so much as saw a guitar.  The attitude is something that even the best british rock bands only got by imitating Americans, be it the stones imitating the cockiness of bluesmen or the sid vicious trying to one-up Iggy.

    The Sex Pistols took the early punk stuff and did it better in a lot of ways, which is why they are so important.  I don't think they would - even now - say they were the best.  Johnny Rotten has always worn his influences on his sleeve, and never been shy about giving credit where it is due.

    (Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers first album was equal to the Stooges and Ramones and should be on the list...)

    •  It can be argued that (none)
      The Velvets in '66-'67 were the very first.  I wonder who THEY were listening to?

      If Jesus Christ came back today and saw what was being done in his name, he'd never stop throwing up... - Hannah and Her Sisters

      by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 09:58:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Total Agreement... (none)
        I posted below and then saw your post.  D'accord.

        "We're all working for the Pharoah" - Richard Thompson

        by mayan on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:01:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  dude (dudess?) (none)
          have you seen, "A Night With Lou Reed" DVD?

          If not check it out!  Small club in New York, and really inspiring.

          If Jesus Christ came back today and saw what was being done in his name, he'd never stop throwing up... - Hannah and Her Sisters

          by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:10:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for the suggestion... (none)
            I saw the PBS thing and really loved it.

            I remember when the banana album first came out...I was so INTRIGUED - at about the ripe ol' age of 14...took it over to a girl's house to play it for her...she looked at me like I was an alien and then her mother kicked me out after she heard a song.

            "We're all working for the Pharoah" - Richard Thompson

            by mayan on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 11:46:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Reed was a poet (none)
        and Cale a classically trained musician who worked with John Cage and La Monte Young - mix well and you've got some pretty unique stuff.

        Bush is "oblivious, in denial, dangerous."

        by magic1 on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:04:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Reed Studied With Delmore Schwartz... (none)
          ...but he also LOVED doo-wop.  They are in many ways linked to the Beat like Ginsberg through The Fugs.  Sterling Morrison went on to become a scholar of literature.  And Nico and Andy Warhol added unique touches to what was in many ways a very Central European aesthetic.  They were in some ways punk, but in other ways I can listen to the first two VU albums and think of them as products of Weimar Berlin, or maybe Zurich of the Dadaists and Futurists.  

          The Velvet Underground were probably our most European band.  

          The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

          by Dana Houle on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 11:49:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And The Biggest VU Punk was Mo Tucker (none)
            A woman drummer in the 1960's, butch looking, totally unschooled in music, no ambitions of being a big star, and a significant chunk of her subsequent life spent raising a family in working in a convience store.  

            Mo Tucker was in many ways the ballast and grounding of that band, and along with Sterling the person the person who wasn't ever an asshole, and to this day considers her performance something she does "for the kids."  

            Mo exemplifies DIY more than anyone else in that band.

            The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

            by Dana Houle on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 11:53:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  and Maclaren took his cue from Warhol (none)
              Warhol "broke the fourth wall" on the backoffice part of music in way that I think provided the template for Malcolm.  VU never made the money, but the purpose was different.  

              With VU, the making of the product was more a part of the art than I think was even for the Pistols (and don't get me wrong, I love the Pistols and the swindle and so on)

            •  Two assholes from VU (none)
              First, of course, Lou. In '73 or '74 the New York Dolls came over to tour England and, as they were the critics' flavor of the month, they were lapping up their new cult following. Somewhere in the North of England they were getting ready to open for Lou Reed when the great man (peeved at all their adulation) stormed into their dressing-room and said he refused to play, he would pull out, unless they cancelled first. Which they duly did. If they were true punks they'd have done what Jerry Lee Lewis did to Little Richard: gone out and burned the house down, and dared Lou to top it.

              The second story is what Nico said when she dumped Lou Reed: "I'm sorry, I can longer fuck Jews."

              "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

              by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 12:15:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  VU and Assholes (none)
                A good friend of mine, about 12 years ago, mortaged his future and bought a mono, DJ copy of the VU and Nico album in the shrinkwrap.  It's about the rarest of the rare; those copies were mostly altered, because they had an unauthorized photo of hanger-on Gerard Marlanga on the back, and after he sued existing copies had a sticker put over the offending portion of the photo, and subsequent copies had him airbrushed out.  But this is unaltered, in the shrinkwrap.  Quite possible the only one of its kind.

                So my friend decided to screw up it's resale value, and try to get it signed by all the surviving members of the band (thus omiting Nico and Andy Warhol).  The first two to sign it were Mo and Sterling (before he so tragically died young).  He stopped Mo on the street outside the venue she would play at that night as she went inside for the sound check, and as usual, she was a delight.  She sent one of the band members inside when she saw it with instructions to ask Sterling to come outside.  (He was playing guitar on her tour during his summer off from teaching.)  They were both incredibly cool, and chatted with my friend and a couple others who were hanging out for about 20 minutes or so.  

                Next up was about 6 months later, same small venue in Pontiac, this time Cale.  He put on a scorching show, just incredible.  After the show my friend pleaded with whoever was at the door to let him back, showing the woman his album.  She recognized the uniqueness of what he had, and took him right into Cale's dressing room.  Cale sat there, covered in sweat, completely drained.  He looked at it, didn't say much, and said something like "sure, I'll sign it."  He did, and that was the end of the discussion, and he made it clear he was done with my friend.  Not really an asshole, but not that warm either.

                I can't do justice to his epic story about finally getting asshole Lou to sign it, but it involved him getting backstage because someone mistakenly assumed my friend was Lou's personal masseuse.  Lou saw the album, gave a sour look at my friend, signed it, walked away, and managed to never look at or say a word to my friend.  

                The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                by Dana Houle on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 12:44:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Case closed (none)
                they're punks, see?

                If Jesus Christ came back today and saw what was being done in his name, he'd never stop throwing up... - Hannah and Her Sisters

                by AlyoshaKaramazov on Wed Oct 12, 2005 at 08:41:24 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Noone gets my sarcasm. (none)
      Ever since living in England my wit just flies under most people's radar. Of course, that might be because I'm not funny.

      I meant that about the Ramones as you might say "Columbus discovered America. The Indians just happened to do it 10,000 years earlier."

      I agree with most of what you say, and like your insight on the Who, who had so much of the punk spirit and noise at the heart of their maelstrom.

      I disagree about the Modern Lovers album. Yes, it's absolutely brilliant. Yes, it has a future Talking Head and a future Car on it. It is a milestone - like Big Star. But it is not punk, and it is much less punk than Iggy or the New York Dolls.

      "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

      by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:03:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hmmm... (none)
        Musically, I think the Pistols sound echoes the Modern Lovers debut more than it does the Ramones or Iggy.

        And could anyone have sounded more deliberately snotty and disaffected than Jonathan on that one?

        Also, please don't misunderstand, the Sex Pistols are the greatest in terms of impact and frankly, that album is untouchable.  It is a great synthesis of what came before, but is also way more than the sum of its parts.

        That doesn't make all Brit punk better just because the pistols were.  That's all I mean.

        •  I think the Stooges make a more similar racket (none)
          to the Pistols than the Modern Lovers do, but I'll have to check out the first couple of Stooges' LPs and the Pistols and Lovers to be sure of that. I am a huge fan of all aforementioned albums (and the first few Ramones albums).

          "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

          by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 12:31:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Roadrunner Roadrunner/John Cale (none)
      Great call on Jonathan. That first record is a killer. There's a link here that no-ones addressed yet... John Cale produced The first Stooges album, the first Patti Smith Band album, the first Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers album. And don't forget that Cale was responsible for alot of the wierdest elements of the VU.

      Someone showed me a picture and I just had to laugh.. Dignity ain't never been photographed

      by jz63 on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:04:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm Darby Crash (none)
    A SOCIAL BLAST..

    Husker Du, Minutemen, Cows, BLACK FLAG, Bikini Kill, Fugazi, Bad Brains, NATION OF ULYSSES, BIG BLACK

    I voted for Pere Ubu.  Dub Housing = classic classic classic

    George W Bush puts our security in the hands of incompetents.

    by daria g on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 09:57:52 AM PDT

    •  Descendents (none)
      I want to be stereotyped
      I want to be classified
      I want to be a clone
      I want a suburban home

      Also, Bad Religion (can't help but be fond of those guys, the kids just love 'em), Naked Raygun, Sleater-Kinney.. do Suicide count?  Devo?

      George W Bush puts our security in the hands of incompetents.

      by daria g on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:03:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Suicide and Devo (none)
        both had a lot of style (though they certainly both had a dorkiness to them) and were very influential both musically and imagistically on the bands that came after them.

        I really don't know Bad Religion or the Descendents, though I see them getting a lot of praise from critics. I'll check them out.

        "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

        by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:21:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Can't hurt.. (none)
          Bad Religion have been pretty much working the same formula for.. wow, two decades now, but their tunes are very very catchy and there's an almost folk music feel to some of it.  I'm still fond of them, I would buy their records when I was 15 and recently re-bought some I'd sold off during a college rock phase.  Recommended would be "American Jesus" (relevant as ever), "Atomic Garden" (ditto), "Yesterday," "Better Off Dead," the whole albums of Suffer, No Control and Against the Grain.  Don't know their recent albums though I hear the last one The Empire Strikes First is pretty decent, if you like their other stuff.  Oh, and I hear Kos is a big fan.

          Descendents, Milo Goes to College, short and to the point, "Suburban Home" completely rules.  I get it playing in my head every time I drive around the DC burbs.

          OMG awesome Descendents review on Amazon (this has to be a joke of course):

          A Kid's Review

          I'm 11 and I can tell that Descendents are the best band ever. Forget you kids with your stupid pop music. You call Simple Plan & Good Charlotte punk. The 'Dents are the best band out there.

          I told a kid in my school about Descendents and he said "I bet they're not good...their just another imitator of Good Charlotte." So I said, "Was Good Charlotte around in '82?" And he responded, "Probably.".

          Now, I'm a big fan of Green Day (I saw them in concert, kick-butt. Anyone who's been to a GD concert knows what I'm talking about) and so are alot of kids, but they think "Blvd. of Broken Dreams" is their only hit...and they laugh when they hear the F-bomb in "American Idiot". Kids, listen up. Good music isn't the stuff that cusses. That's probably the only reason they like it. They most likely never heard of hits like "Longview" & "Welcome to Paradise".

          Back to Descendents. Too bad these guys aren't on a major label. I mean most people probably couldn't resist songs like "Myage", "Kabuki Girl", and "I'm Not A Loser". Especially they're newest release, "Cool To Be You", which has alot of songs that sound like songs that could be #1 on Billboard.

          And that's what I call Real Ultimate Power..

          George W Bush puts our security in the hands of incompetents.

          by daria g on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:49:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  NATION OF ULYSSES (none)
      13 point program to destroy America.

      Great Live Band. True Punk Rockers.

      •  Cool! (none)
        senior high school!

        Never saw 'em live unfortunately, but great, yes.  I liked the Make*Up's first record as well but kinda lost track of Ian S's music after that (Scene Creamers, Weird War).  

        George W Bush puts our security in the hands of incompetents.

        by daria g on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 11:53:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I had to go with the Dictators (none)
    For surviving Phil Specter.

    I can live

    Faster and louder

    PSoTD is more than letters, but not quite yet a word.

    by PSoTD on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 09:58:49 AM PDT

  •  The Velvet Underground (none)
    Set the stage for all of 'em.  And w/ panache and musical sensibilities that are still fresh.

    "We're all working for the Pharoah" - Richard Thompson

    by mayan on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:00:09 AM PDT

  •  Vital poll option left out. (none)
    Motor City 5 laid the groundwork for the entire punk genre.

    "How freeing it must be to walk through this world heeding neither conscience nor soul." - the rude pundit, 5/4/05

    by pattyp on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:00:16 AM PDT

  •  he he! (4.00)
    I just had a snotty thought.. can you imagine the music conversations going on over on a Repub board?  
    "What do you mean Toby Keith is better than Clint Black? Can you not see the sophistication and clever literary allusions contained in Clint's masterwork 'Iraq,I-roll'?  And don't forget the important seminal influence of the true trail-blazer of jingoistic patriototic music, Messers Lee Greenwood"

    Someone showed me a picture and I just had to laugh.. Dignity ain't never been photographed

    by jz63 on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:00:34 AM PDT

  •  The Ramones (none)
    The Ramones never got the credit, but their UK tour pretty much spawned punk over there. So really, they - and the Dolls, who also spread the word (as mentioned above)- get props.  The Stooges, MC5, Television, Suicide, Patti Smith - all part of the basics.  You could even look at a band like the Monks (a group of G.I.'s based in Germany)as protopunk. I'd also argue for Link Wray and ? and the Mysterians as punk godfathers, but that's me...

    Sex Pistols?  I never, ever, ever think of them as punk.  I think of them like the Monkees.  Yes, "Pleasant Valley Sunday" is a great indictment of suburbia - but it ain't authentic. It is easy to sing "No future" when you know Malcolm's got the tab.  But Wire, Gang of Four, the Damned, Joy Division, the Clash (the only band that matters!) - they could play and were awesome, and they ought to go on the UK list right quick.

    I'd add Husker Du, Minor Threat, & Flipper to your US list.  I'd also suggest 2 books: Joe Carducci's "Rock and the Pop Narcotic" and "Get in the Van" by Henry Rollins.  Both are excellent resources on the bands and the times.  

    •  sheeeeee-ite!!! (none)
      We forgot Suicide!  That's a felony in these here parts.

      If Jesus Christ came back today and saw what was being done in his name, he'd never stop throwing up... - Hannah and Her Sisters

      by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:20:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think you're right and wrong (none)
      Thanks for bringing up the 'see the Ramones and atart a band' side of the equation, echoed below.

      I think the purity, originality, simplicity and style of the Ramones did something noone else could: the Ramones were the the AC/DC of punk, a template so basic and immediate that any teenage thugs could go in a garage and try to copy them.

      But you are mistaken about the Pistols (who, with the Ramones and the Clash, make up my own holy trinity of Punk). They were as punk as it gets.

      The Pistols were many other things to. They were Malcolm's Monkees, but they bust out of that box. Then Malcolm nicked Adam's first set of Ants and made Bow Wow Wow, who really were the punk Monkees.

      I will skip over Steve Jones's brutal guitar work, and how Chris Thomas did for the Pistols what Butch Vig would do for Nirvana: capture all that aggression in bubblegum symphonies for the kids. We'll ignore Matlock and Lydon's instant anthems. Because none of that makes the pistols punk. What makes them punk is the smell of chaos and danger permeating everything Sid touched, egged on by Malcom's constant scheming and provocation, and the punkest singing of all, like acid dripping from Johnny's Rotten teeth.

      "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

      by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 11:17:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The ramones inspired british punk (none)
    The ramones are the obvious choice. Their 1976 british show (attended by to-be members of the clash, the damned, and the sex pistols) is viewed as the seminal event in british punk.
  •  The Johnny Thunders response: (none)
    Johnny Thunders would, of course, disagree with your Pistols-philic analysis:

    LONDON BOYS

    (Thunders/Lure/Rath)

    Are you telling me, you shut my mouth
    If I wasn't ** ** you wouldn't be around
    You talk about faggot, little mummy's boy
    You're still at home, you've got your chaperone

    You need an escort to take a piss
    He holds your hand and he shakes your dick
    You're so pretty, suburban kitty
    You think you're gonna change, re-arrange that city

    Little London boys
    You're little London boys
    You're little London boys
    You think you're gonna change me?

    A little rich kid, what do you know
    You had everything don't you think it don't show
    A-hiding in the closet just a-facing the wall
    Too Much Too Soon - do you recall?

    Have a holiday in the city
    Dildo souvenirs, vaseline pretty
    You don't need no junkies just LSD,
    You won't get shot, shot by me

    Little London boys
    You're little London boys
    You're little London boys
    You think you're gonna change me, ha ha!

    Little London boys
    You're little London boys
    You're little London boys
    You think you're gonna change me?

    Little London boys
    Little London boys
    Little London boys
    Little London boys...

    I had my own blog for a while, but I decided to go back to just pointless, incessant barking. --Cartoon Dog, The New Yorker

    by markymarx on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:26:52 AM PDT

  •  What are you kidding me? (none)
    The Ramones are the greatest punk band ever.

    Read "Please Kill Me" and get the record straight.  There would be no UK punk without the Ramones and the NY Punk scene.

  •  ps (none)
    I saw the Ramones 18 times, once in London, the English don't even know how to "Gabba Gabba Hey".  What's up with that?
    •  I saw Buddy Guy in London (none)
      and the English couldn't even figure out how to do a basic blues call and response. Or perhaps they were too shy.

      Buddy gave up on the real stuff and did what Jimi would have done for those who didn't get his art - he started doing overblown 15 minute Cream versions of the blues, which was the closest the crowd wanted to get to the nitty gritty.

      "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

      by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:40:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I saw the Ramones in 1994 (none)
      in Zagreb Croatia and even THEY knew Gabba Gabba Hey!

      Economic Left/Right: -7.25 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.13

      by calipygian on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 11:10:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Punk and the Pond (none)
    I've read that the entire British punk scene emerged from one Ramones show at Brixton Academy -- in attendance were the future members of The Pistols, The Clash, Joy Division, The Smiths, etc., who all promptly went out and formed bands. The British punk scene, in its original incarnation, lasted little more than a year before its leading lights discovered heroin and lost interest in music. It was a very short-lived moment.

    But the Ramones framed the whole thing, making punk first and foremost back-to-the-roots, stripped-down rock-and-roll of indeterminite but unquestionably alienated politics (Joey the romantic playing left wing to Johnny the managerial thug's right), born of lower-middle class suburban angst from the wreckage of '70s New York City (incidentally, as far as the class angle goes, virtually all of the early Britpunk greats were products of the middle class, art school rebels from the burbs).

    That said, you can't ignore the influence of their ur-New Wave CBGBs contemporaries, like Talking Heads and Debbie Harry, Television and Richard Hell. And how about second/third generation greats like the Dead Kennedys and Minor Threat, or, if you prefer the big, dumb and loud sound of the framers, the Dictators and the Germs?

    The Clash and The Ramones rule the roost in my book. Completely different sounds -- the first thoughtful, clever, complicated and political, the second pure rock and roll, a tribute to teenage mutant anomie, a head banged joyously into the wall of hormonal dystopia.  

    "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin

    by Septic Tank on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:33:07 AM PDT

    •  The Ramones mass-produced punk (none)
      (that's not a criticism). They made punk for the people.

      The Talking Heads and Television and Blondie only played punk at the beginning of their careers, and soon progressed to more complicated and exploratory musics.

      My favorite punk band is the Clash. They had that urgent rebellious questing spirit that came out first in 'White Riot' and 'I Fought the Law' where they stick it to the man, but with Mick Jones and Don Letts in the mix soon turned into sonic questing in dub and hip-hop (and at the rest of 'Sandinista'). They had the raw energy of punk and the hooks and polish of pop, right from 'Garageland' and 'Stay Free' at the beginning, to 'Rock the Casbah' and 'Should I Stay or Should I go?' at the end.

      "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

      by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 11:26:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sittin'here in Queens (none)
    Eating refried beans
    We're in all the magazines
    Gulpping down thorozines

    No Christmas cards to send
    Our troubles never end
    DADDY LIKES MEN!

    The first three albums were perfect.  All fell apart after Tommy left... who'da thunk.

    Measure twice, cut once.

    by zig on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:44:33 AM PDT

  •  Wrire-In: MDC (none)
    aka Millions of Dead Cops

    I am not currently Licensed to Practice in this State. Or yours.

    by ben masel on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 11:02:18 AM PDT

  •  tough decision (none)
    ramones...dead kennedys... or bands mentioned by others like bad brains.  Myself, I would also like to mention D.R.I. and Suicidal Tendencies (primarily the first 4 with Suicidal...) and being a proud Canadian, also make mention of a band as influential as many on the original list, the almighty D.O.A.  Joey 'Shithead' Keithley is still at it, with his band, solo acoustic work, his recent book "I, Shithead" and label Sudden Death Records www.suddendeath.com .  The band's motto is one we should all have: Talk-Action=0

    Mass Hypnosis Metal Radio- Sat Nights at 9pm PST http://www.theX.ca

    by mhradio on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 11:13:17 AM PDT

  •  The Fugs--The First Punks (none)
    Okay, so culturally, they were Beatniks.  Which means almost nothing, since the Beat scene was full of all sorts of contradictory currents. But just listen to the records, and it's obviously punk.

    Sample Lyric:  Kill For Peace

    Kill, kill, kill for peace
    Kill, kill, kill for peace
    Near or middle or very far east
    Far or near or very middle east
    Kill, kill, kill for peace
    Kill, kill, kill for peace
    If you don't like the people
    or the way that they talk
    If you don't like their manners
    or they way that they walk,
    Kill, kill, kill for peace
    Kill, kill, kill for peace
    If you don't kill them
    then the Chinese will
    If you don't want America
    to play second fiddle,
    Kill, kill, kill for peace
    Kill, kill, kill for peace
    If you let them live
    they might support the Russians
    If you let them live
    they might love the Russians
    Kill, kill, kill for peace
    Kill, kill, kill for peace
    (spoken) Kill 'em, kill 'em, strafe those gook creeps!
    The only gook an
    American can trust
    Is a gook that's got
    his yellow head bust.
    Kill, kill, kill for peace
    Kill, kill, kill for peace
    Kill, kill, it'll
    feel so good,
    like my captain
    said it should
    Kill, kill, kill for peace
    Kill, kill, kill for peace
    Kill it will give
    you a mental ease
    kill it will give
    you a big release
    Kill, kill, kill for peace
    Kill, kill, kill for peace
    Kill, kill, kill for peace
    Kill, kill, kill for peace

     
  •  so (none)
    To summarize, none of the best punk bands are from the UK, they're all from the US ;-)

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