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Otto Masson

What was punk?

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Hi Walesdad,

You were 18 at the time Punk came in to being, just the right impressionable age to be hoodwinked in to the idea that Punk was needed, it was another Music Fashion unworthy of being called anything other than that, that's my honest and humble opinion anyway.

Yea i know what you mean, but the Rock Fraternity Fans didn't give Punk the time of day, in fact here in London there were running battles between each other, it took another generation to appreciate both Genres together without going to war over it, and I'm as guilty as anyone for that. :yesnod:

Some might say that "Punk gave that Breath of Fresh Air to the Stagnancy of Rock Music" but i didn't think that at the time Rock had become Stagnant, neither did anyone that i knew that was into Rock Music either, and we as a Group never wanted or subscribed to Punk, either Now or Zen, and i know i speak for the majority of the True Ancient Rock Fans, that's if they are Truthful and still have their memories intact. :o

Regards, Danny

Hello Danny,an interesting reply.It's probably true that you and I are going to have to agree to differ on the subject of punk because when it's all said and done,it's all about opinions.Just as an alternate view,I'd like to quote from an article from the current,February 2010 issue of MOJO magazine.A famous musician has been interviewed recently at home and he's also been asked to pick out some his favourite music.Among tracks by the likes of James Brown,Billy Boy Arnold,Muddy Waters and Sly and The Family Stone is The Damned's first single,'New Rose'.Here's what the musician had to say.

"I went to see the Damned at the Roxy and it was absolutely phenomenal.It was a case of 'One-Two-Three-Four!' and it was fantastic!The energy coming out of them just nailed you to the wall.It was really exciting adrenalin music,you know,and 'New Rose',I just thought it was a great song,I don't know whether it's punk,whether it's rock,but whatever it is,it's just really good.And they were really good.Rat Scabies is a fabulous drummer to listen to.He's got the right sort of dynamics.He might speed up,he might slow down,but he keeps you right on the edge as much as any guitarist would.I played with him and I really enjoyed playing with him around the time that we were going to do The Firm with Paul Rodgers.It was great.He was so good to play with.He had such a good energy.I hope he say's the same about me!Unfortunately I didn't get to see the Sex Pistols.Back then you couldn't catch the Sex Pistols because all the gigs were being cancelled.It was a weird time too,and it was an interesting time to go in there because it was fashionable.Did it bother me when we were labelled dinosaurs?No,it really didn't.I was more interested to hear what they were doing.I knew what I did and what I'd done,and I had no problem with that.But I wanted to see what these guys were up to,and infact they were really laying it down."

There is more,but that what Jimmy Page had to say about it.Anyway,enjoy listening to what you enjoy listening to.

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"I went to see the Damned at the Roxy and it was absolutely phenomenal.It was a case of 'One-Two-Three-Four!' and it was fantastic!The energy coming out of them just nailed you to the wall.It was really exciting adrenalin music,you know,and 'New Rose',I just thought it was a great song,I don't know whether it's punk,whether it's rock,but whatever it is,it's just really good.And they were really good.Rat Scabies is a fabulous drummer to listen to.He's got the right sort of dynamics.He might speed up,he might slow down,but he keeps you right on the edge as much as any guitarist would.I played with him and I really enjoyed playing with him around the time that we were going to do The Firm with Paul Rodgers.It was great.He was so good to play with.He had such a good energy.I hope he say's the same about me!Unfortunately I didn't get to see the Sex Pistols.Back then you couldn't catch the Sex Pistols because all the gigs were being cancelled.It was a weird time too,and it was an interesting time to go in there because it was fashionable.Did it bother me when we were labelled dinosaurs?No,it really didn't.I was more interested to hear what they were doing.I knew what I did and what I'd done,and I had no problem with that.But I wanted to see what these guys were up to,and infact they were really laying it down."

Great post. I've been saying for years on this forum & the old forum what a huge fan of The Damned that Page was/is, mostly to deaf ears. "Wearing And Tearing" is "New Rose", without question, albeit Zep-ified. Page's personal soundtrack for the 1977 Zeppelin tour was dominated by The Damned's "Damned Damned Damned" album. Simply put, Page liked The Damned because the music was good & not because he was interested in having a mohawk & wearing shirts featuring the Queen with safety pins through her nose. It was not about fashion to Page, as it is not for myself & the people I associate with in punk circles. I've also always said that's Page has a very punk approach to his guitar playing. Page doesn't have perfect technique, he's sloppy, plays bum notes, etc but he always has great feel, puts the "song" across more than his guitar playing, & he's just more imaginative than most guitarists with greater technique & that's why he is so highly regarded. As I stated about Page's time doing sessions & joining the Yardbirds, he had a great deal of time to advance to what his playing was on the first Zeppelin album, that it did not happen over night. These punk rockers of the 70's were still kids & learning as they went along & eventually became better themselves. When the Sex Pistols play today or even 15 years ago they do/did not sound like they did 1n 1977, it's day & night in the difference.

Anyway, if a punk band is good enough for Jimmy Page to love then I'd say there had/has to be something worth investigating in there. It's not all about Howlin' Wolf for Jimmy Page folks, his love of music continued past that & Howlin Wolf's recordings & performances were far from perfect too but that's probably why I'm a fan of his as well. Jimmy Page, The Damned, Howlin' Wolf... all heart, that's the common thread.

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^^ Great posts!

That's how I like to think about music too. The only time I use a genre name is when I am trying to describe the music for someone who hasn't heard the artist in question. You can hear all kinds of influences in different music, it's not about what people call it, but what you hear and what makes you feel good and like what you hear.

I had no idea Page was such a great fan of The Damned, but it is understandable.

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It was a breath of fresh air and it had to happen.

Concert goers getting their heads beat in didn't.

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Thanks for the link! NYD is an absolute favorite band of mine. I have a great DVD called "All Dolled Up," filmed by Bob Gruen and his wife. It has got some really rare footage of NYD. Johnny Thunders were Chuck Berry on acid!!

You're welcome! I love the Dolls too and I've seen that fantastic vid that Bob Gruen and his wife filmed. Bob was often at the clubs and on the streets and in addition to the films he made, he took some fantastic photos of the band. I love the outtake from his film where you can see in the interactions between the band members and the bond between them. I don't personally remember Billy but I remember the Jerry Nolan years and he was truly an older brother to Johnny.Jerry left this world 18 years ago today. He was tough and raw and real…a genuine rocker.

As far as the violence that has been mentioned on this thread with regard to the punk music venues, I think that people are referring to different places (NYC, London, LA and possibly other cities) and, it seems, different times (early-mid1970s vs. late '70s-early 80s) and imagining that it all must have been the same. There was violence at some clubs in LA and there was certainly violence in London (my husband and I visited punk music clubs in LA and London during those years and the scene, the people, and the vibe were completely different from NYC, where the audiences were more subdued). When my friends and I were frequenting the clubs in NYC there was no violence at all. In the early years, many of the people who were hanging around the clubs were what I would describe as "downtown Bohemians", not young, violent "punks." While in the clubs, I never felt unsafe, although I can't say the same about riding the subway home during those years.

I know several people (including my husband and several close friends) who worked at the clubs, owned clubs, were musicians or, like me, were there to hear the music and they can attest to the fact that there was no violence in the NYC punk music clubs during that time. The owners were very hands on and wouldn't let in or tolerate anyone who exhibited violent or hostile behavior. Moreover, there were always bouncers stationed at the doors. I am sure that someone like Bob Gruen, who knew the bands and the clubs far better than I did, can attest to the fact that there was no violence at the downtown NYC clubs. In fact, everyone I talk to remembers the sense of camaraderie and the spirit of fun. It was a very interesting time and place – many of the musicians and others around the scene had been hippies and had lived in places like Boulder and the Haight during the hippie era so they carried in them the bloodlines of hippies.

As far as the downtown NYC scene: Punks,Hippies, Bohemians, Hipsters, Beats…maybe it's not the labels that ultimately matter but the fact that each group, had a commonality in that through their art, music, and literature they made who they were and their perspectives and lifestyles heard by others.

Someone here mentioned Joe Strummer. If you haven't seen it, I recommend the documentary: Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten. I never met Joe but my husband and others who have described him as "down-to-earth" and a "no BS" guy .

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Nice post MSG. The Jerry Nolan article was great too. Sorry I haven't gotten back to you, it's on my things to do pile. I'll pm you later I promise.

With the violence at punk shows it did depend on what bands you went to see. In the 80's if you went to see Skrewdriver or another Oi band, expect to see Skinheads with white laces in their Doc Martens looking to beat the crap out of people for no good reason. During the same period if you went to a Damned show, expect to see girls dressed in goth attire with their eye shadow running down their faces due to their tears of joy once their sex god Dave Vanian hit the stage. Punk cannot be pigeon holed into one thing anymore than heavy metal, alternative, or just rock'n'roll in general can be. Each band is different & so is the core fanbases from band to band.

"The Future Is Unwritten" is my visual bible. I love that movie. My favorites are the extras. It's those who knew Strummer commenting on their relationships with him, often brutally critical of him, thus giving a fair portrait of the man.

That was another great thing about punk, the "punk star" was no better than the audience. He/she was expected to be treated the same as his/her audience & not to be exalted to some kind of mythical demi-god status. Constructive criticism was important & encouraged amongst punks. Go anywhere on this Led Zeppelin forum & watch the blind worshipping Robert Plant devotees throw a conniption fit over the slightest bit of criticism of him as if he or the other members of Zeppelin are above any comments of a critical nature. It's absolutely delusional & sickening to watch as none of us would be here if we weren't fans of the band to begin with. Punk gave the fan & the star an even playing ground again & I definately subscribe to that train of thought.

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Nice post MSG. The Jerry Nolan article was great too. Sorry I haven't gotten back to you, it's on my things to do pile. I'll pm you later I promise.

With the violence at punk shows it did depend on what bands you went to see. In the 80's if you went to see Skrewdriver or another Oi band, expect to see Skinheads with white laces in their Doc Martens looking to beat the crap out of people for no good reason. During the same period if you went to a Damned show, expect to see girls dressed in goth attire with their eye shadow running down their faces due to their tears of joy once their sex god Dave Vanian hit the stage. Punk cannot be pigeon holed into one thing anymore than heavy metal, alternative, or just rock'n'roll in general can be. Each band is different & so is the core fanbases from band to band.

"The Future Is Unwritten" is my visual bible. I love that movie. My favorites are the extras. It's those who knew Strummer commenting on their relationships with him, often brutally critical of him, thus giving a fair portrait of the man.

That was another great thing about punk, the "punk star" was no better than the audience. He/she was expected to be treated the same as his/her audience & not to be exalted to some kind of mythical demi-god status. Constructive criticism was important & encouraged amongst punks. Go anywhere on this Led Zeppelin forum & watch the blind worshipping Robert Plant devotees throw a conniption fit over the slightest bit of criticism of him as if he or the other members of Zeppelin are above any comments of a critical nature. It's absolutely delusional & sickening to watch as none of us would be here if we weren't fans of the band to begin with. Punk gave the fan & the star an even playing ground again & I definately subscribe to that train of thought.

As an add on to a previous posting of mine,I've got to say that I went to a number of punk gigs from '76 on and I saw virtually no trouble at them.They were just great nights out,and as much as I loved The Beatles,Led Zeppelin or T.Rex,it was great to go and see bands like The Stranglers,The Clash,The Undertones or Ian Dury and The Blockheads during that time.For me though,the real lasting legacy of punk and its finest achievement was the fact that from then on,any kid could really believe that,"....yes,I can do that".

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Once i found Led Zeppelin my musical quest was over, i knew that right away, all i had to do from them on was enjoy it at every opportunity, which i still do, but it doesn't stop me from eating out musically from time to time, but i always come back to what sustains me emotionally, only thing is that I'm always hungry for more, a glutton for nourishment i suppose. :lol:]

This is interesting. I respectfully challenge the idea that a musical quest can be over. I think it gives musicians a role that they cannot fufill and wouldn't want, anyway.

Edited by Suz

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Robert Plant in a 1986 interview:

"When I started writing "Pictures at Eleven", in 1981 there was nobody imitating me at all. I was the last monster vocalist. No Ian Gillan, no Ozzy. I was there going, well these are the new days. I'd been listening to XTC and Squeeze, or whatever it was, and taking great stock in a lot of music that was fresh, or music that had turned from the punk era into something either interesting or inspired like the Cockney Rejects or the Angelic Upstarts or whatever. What I'd been given from 1978 onwards was another look at the early days of Led Zeppelin, by seeing The Damned and people like that, Jimmy and I just saw ourselves again. In fact we wrote "Wearing and Tearing" which appeared on "Coda", because we knew that that's exactly where we were too. We were still two punks."

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