Punk Rock 19761976 Punk Rock
1976, Punk conquers London: "Be everything this society hates" - Music - Shows
When the " punk problem " broke out in London in 1976, it had been discussed in New York for some time. There were Ramones, Patti Smith, Richard Hell, Television, there were bands performing on the stages of Max's Kansas City and CBGB's, a creepy place down in the Bowery.
Legs McNeil and John Holmstrom had just founded an amateur magazine called Punk, a kind of official bulletin of the New York music scene. In London, instead of punk, a word with a very broad meaning and a difficult date (there were already many tracks, from the American garages bands of the 60s to Glam-Rock, the transgressive New York Dolls to the hard and pure Stooges of Iggy Pop), we started talking towards the end of 1975.
In the capital, the disrespectful performances of Sex Pistols, a very unprofessional group founded by Malcolm McLaren, former New York Dolls executive and owner of an eccentric fashion store on 430 King's Road called SEX, made noise. He wanted to take advantage of the cultural terrorism inherent in the character of the singer Johnny Rotten and put together disturbing aesthetic elements (straight hair, torn clothes, chains, fetish objects, safety pins attached everywhere) and impose an outrageous image on the group.
With very clever strategies he had the bands immediately cancel contracts with majors like Emi and A&M and pocket about 125,000 pounds as compensation without the bands recording a note. It was in this context, and despite McLaren's intentions of speculation and manipulation, that the Sex Pistols quickly became a real cultural fire.
Their trail gave visibility to dozens of groups and the punk, from word of mouth for a few intimacies, turned into an increasingly overwhelming wave. In 1976, England really burned down. A small group of very loyal people who came from Bromley on the outskirts of South London. These included Souxsie Sioux (real name Susan Ballion) and Steve Severin, who would soon found Siouxsie and the Banshees, a group symbolizing the British Black Movement.
During the months of dizzying spread of ideas came a strong drive for the entire movement from the underground activity of bands like London SS, formed by Mick Jones (later in Clash), Tony James (future generations X) and Tony James (Damned); raw and fast tracks, dirty guitars, elementary rhythms, screaming voices without modulations: to dominate these months of cracks and provocations, the contemptuous rejection of all music that was trendy at the time (the favorite targets of the punk generations were the heroes of the progressives, those of the West Coast and Zeppelin, but the T-shirt worn by Rotten with the words "I hate Pink Floyd" went down in history) were not only the pistols.
London (and not only: the flu had spread to many cities) was crazy about the cursed of Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible and thelash. Hell, they were outrageous and openly disconnected, but they were the first real punk band to release a single (New Rose). When Johnny Rotten was Richard III of the punk period, as Julien Temple portrayed him in the documentary The Filth and the Fairy, Joe Strummer was Che Guevara.
It was the splash that redefined the extent of the rock after it had essentially destroyed it, reworked the tradition in its records and drawn it into today's world. And they were among the first to open the door to Reggae together with the Ruts DC, creating a musical fusion with profound political and anti-racist effects.
In punk clubs like the 100 Club of Oxford Street, the Roxy, the Vortex or the Marquee it was easy to meet people like Billy Idol, singer of Generation A, or Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex, one of the many representatives of the female revolution in the world of rock. For the first time the bands were actually no more exclusive than men: In X-Ray Spex there was Lora Logic and Poly Styrene themselves, in Penetration there was Pauline Murray, in ads there was Gaye Advert.
Not to mention the slits that, alongside a wild and cultivated style at the same time (punk nerves plus Db, Rg and Tribal rhythms), invented the look with tight fishnet stockings and amphibian Doc Martens that were then recorded by Madonna. In London during these months the London and Shame 69, the Adverts and the Eates, the Lurkers and the 999 went mad.
The bands would show up and burn within a few weeks, then mix and start new projects. Artists who shared anger and creative urgency with this movement, but not style such as Stranglers, Jam, Ultravox, were added to the great magic of punk!
From 1976 to 1977, the deconstruction of the entire music industry seemed to be successful: in the face of the punk storm, everything seemed to grow old all at once. But when the destructive pressure came to an end and the time of reconstruction came, many bands disappeared. Those who are able to go further, on the other hand, rewrote the grammar of the rock by codifying new rules.
The front row included John Lydon's Public Image Limited and The Cub. London celebrates Punk's 40th anniversary with a series of concerts, exhibitions and events. Nostalgics will meet at the Roundhouse in Camden on the 9-10 July for a two-day event with music and words: the line-up will be announced shortly.