Monday, February 18, 2008
It was All New in 1979
At this time in 1977, The Ramones were making their second appearance in Los Angeles proper, after having spent the previous several months conquering England and then their own motherland... setting or cementing punk rock trends.
If 1976 was when punk rock started its preliminary campaign through pop culture, 1977 is when it made the media take notice, 1978 was when a broader audience adopted it and 1979 was when it hit the nadir... you know what its like when the mainstream starts to notice your little thing? How the people who looked upon your thing with disdain and all of a sudden, they were embracing it? Just like that phenomenon when songs you love start getting massive radio play and all of a sudden, you re-think what you're doing and why.. Yeah... that was happening, and there was a distinct shift in the attitude and execution of punk rock by those who birthed it. Of course, punk rock had to grow and shift with the changes. But there was indeed new life in 1979 with The New Masque (around the corner from the old one) and the arrival on US shores of the Clash who smartly had Bo Diddley and The Dils open for them at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in early February. A year after the Sex Pistols broke up in public, the much more politically motivated Clash brought round 2 of the 70s British Invasion.
Meanwhile a few days later, The Go Gos were rocking the New Masque.
No one could predict that only a month later, in the event that became known as the Famous Elks Lodge Riot, that the Go Gos were the only band that really got to play their whole set before all hell broke loose.
I like to remember the days when the Go Gos were a punk band. One of the "for better or worse" attributes of the class of 1979 was that so many grass roots bands started to hit the big time. Happy for them, we also realized that we'd have to accept a much bigger membership in our club.