A look at the nihilist rock n’ roll forefathers of punk – Warhol & The Velvets, Iggy & The Stooges, MC5, Glam rock – Roxy, Bolan and Bowie – and the British Pub rockers and discover why they had such an impact on the young punks-to-be.
New York’s punk scene developed from its roots in Warhol’s Factory and The Velvet Underground through to the New York Dolls and venues like Max’s Kansas City. We explore how the now legendary CBGB’s evolved into a seminal punk club, playing host to the likes of Patti Smith, Blondie, Television, Talking Heads and The Ramones and how the New York scene informed the nascent London punks.
The British cultural revolution that defied authority and confronted the rock hegemony. This episode focuses on the rise of the Sex Pistols and other emerging British punk bands such as The Clash, The Damned and The Buzzcocks and the reaction their exhilarating music and confrontational behaviour received from the British public.
Here we look at the myriad of bands that emerged taking punk’s Do It Yourself ethic literally. This episode also covers the fashion, music and graphics – looking at designers who developed the punk graphic style; fashion designers such as Westwood and not forgetting the birth of the fanzine culture.
An outraged cry against the rising right wing sentiment in the country and a counter to National Front marches, organisations like the Anti Nazi League and Rock Against Racism formed. The band leading the way in energising punk in a political sense was The Clash, who played an integral role in the Rock Against Racism movement (as did many other punk groups), taking the stage alongside groups like Aswad and further cementing the links between punk and reggae. Anarcho-punk bands like Crass also began to emerge, taking on board anti-nuclear and vegetarian causes in opposition to the right wing politics of Oi! Bands. We discuss the political confusion caused by the mass of ideas thrown into the air by punk.
Women were finally seen as equal in the punk movement. If you could pick up a guitar and play it – great. If you could sing and form your own band, even better. Women were finally getting a voice and not just as backing singers. We look at the women who rocked and discuss the great female punk performers – Siouxsie, The Slits, Pauline Murray, Poly Styrene, Debbie Harry and the seminal Patti Smith – and find out how true the idea that punk emancipated women from rock’s macho posturing really is.
The fashion of punk was more important than the music according to some. The episode looks at Sex and Acme Attractions, the two leading shops competing with each other on the Kings Road, and the effect they had influencing punk clones across the country. This episode also looks at the importance of the punk picture sleeve and how the diy graphic designs of the time are admired today.
We look at some of the bands that were sniffed at by the punk elders for being cartoon-like; bands like Charlie Harper’s UK Subs, Sham 69, The Ruts, The Jam – but who dominated the late ’70s charts, as well as the different routes bands took as punk began to splinter.
The post-punk period of ‘79 – ‘82 was a time when the provinces really did rise up and challenge the metropolitan monopoly over music and attempt to complete punk’s apparently failed musical revolution. Labels like Manchester’s Factory, Glasgow’s Postcard and London’s Rough Trade and Mute evolved during this time and took the means of production back from the multinationals. We look at some of the key players from this period.
We look at how throughout the ’80s and ’90s, punk continued to influence music-making globally, but nowhere more so than America, through multi-million selling bands like Green Day and Offspring to the punk in contemporary acts from The Strokes to Limp Bizkit; The White Stripes to Blink 182.