Saturday, December 30, 2006
Bye Bye 2006 -- Hello 2007: Punk Turns 30
And good riddance to 2006 already....
Actually, 2006 had its ups and its downs, just like any other year. Before we go any further, let's wish a Happy Birthday to David Quinton Steinberg the young man on the right, flipping you off. He's 18 in that photo, taken for the Stiv Bators solo album, "Disconnected." At 18, he was already a punk rock veteran before joining Stiv, having been playing punk rock since 1976...
And 1976 is when I really felt the active punk rock era began for me...the first time I saw Patti Smith in January 76, touring in support of her debut album, "Horses" which was released in November 1975.
Its also Patti Smith's birthday this weekend, and Lenny Kaye's too!
But by most counts, people credit 1977 being the year punk broke (despite the fact there's a documentary/tour film called "1991: The Year Punk Broke" - which is a movie about grunge bands and includes the Ramones). And what all that means is that 2007 is the year Punk Turns 30.
The Sex Pistols played their first gig around the same time "Horses" was released - during the last couple months of 1975. But their eagerly anticipated album wasn't released until October 1977. Of course, in the interim, there were several singles released - and I'm happy and proud to say I have every one of them!
If by turning 30, it means punk has grown up....well... I don't know what that means. It does mean that there are whole generations of people who have always known that punk rock exists - and that is a good thing. Punk Rock is the last musical phenomenon created by Baby Boomers. We should be proud of that as we turn 50 (because that's what happens to you when the things you did in college turn 30).
I think we've always had punk spirit and punk attitude - ever since the 1930's when Woody Guthrie used music as agitprop - and you can draw a direct line from Woody to The Clash and Billy Bragg. In the 1950's, you had your Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry punk bad asses.
In the 1960's, there was Keith Richards.
And that brings us to the 70's...and in the 70's, a great, classic, all-American, ultimate rock n roller, Tom Petty says something like "If you call me a punk... I'll cut you," which is a really punk rock thing to say.
The 80's pumped up the "New Wave" aspect of punk rock as well as the psychedelic and garage aspects.
LA girl group The Pandoras had the punk, the garage AND the girl group thing down.
In the 90s, while the critics and fans alike were all going crazy over grunge, three guys based in Memphis were saving punk rock for me. The Oblivians. Each of the Oblivians continues to make great music these days too.
Greg Cartwright a Compulsive Gambler, Oblivian, Tip Top and master of the Reigning Sound. Greg recently co-produced and wrote a lot of material for Mary Weiss, former lead singer of the punkest 60's girl group, The Shangri La's. The Reigning Sound backed Mary on that record. Look for that record (on Norton) and live shows in March, 2007.
Eric Friedl an Oblivian, Dutch Master, True Son of Thunder a DIY king and founder of Goner Records, which is more than a label and more than a record store; its a whole culture (that revolves around all things Oblivians).
Jack Yarber, a Compulsive Gambler, Oblivian, Cool Jerk, Tearjerker and one of Memphis's most valuable players. His Flipside Kid is one of the best records of 2006.
Here's Mary Weiss, the inadvertent coolest 60's punk girl group leader with Greg Cartwright and The Reigning Sound. The album they made this year for next year's release is among the most anticipated records since probably the Sex Pistols, at least among my group of friends.
Earlier this month, Punk Turns 30 surpassed the 100,000 unique visitors mark. Each month, our audience grows, and for that I thank you. All this bodes well for punk rock. Long may it reign.