I am not a Punk rock fan. In fact, I genuinely call it “angry noise”. At best, I have considered it to be some sort of musical noise, but I’ve never taken the time to research it. However, there is a Punk Rock band that has intrigued me, and it is called the “Sex Pistols”.
The Sex Pistols:
I was shocked to read that the band had only been together for two years. Their impact was greater than I had ever imagined. They not only greatly affected the music scene, but also presented the first do-it-yourself independent band model. Their persona was antiestablishment and their sound was considered raw, loud and violent. Hear are the sounds I hear: First there is a really loud rock and roll sound, with a driving beat. The next thing that caught my attention was a heavy “crunch” gravelly guitar sound that is being played over a thumping bass line. According to Allmusic.com, the conceptual direction of the group’s music was geared towards “anarchy, abortion, violence, fascism, and apathy”. Those topics made the band highly controversial. After listening to and dissecting the song, “Anarchy in the U.K.”, I would have to say that I “got” their message. It was delivered in eight bar increments with an angry sounding vocal, but I heard the message and it was clear. I also felt the conviction in the singing and it made me sympathetic to the music. I was really surprised at my reaction to it.
While listening to the lists of songs, I thought that the song Bright Brigade reminded me most of the Sex Pistols sound. It is a song by Bad Brains, who were an American hardcore punk band located on the East Coast, in Washington D.C. When I researched the band, I discovered that the Sex Pistols, indeed, had influenced them. The Sex Pistols and Bob Marley had inspired the leader and founder of the group, Dr Know. He, then, put together a group that combined punk and reggae sounds together, with angry political overtones. Bad Brains is considered to be the innovator of hardcore punk rock in America. Listening to their recording was a little more challenging because it was hard to understand the words. Quite frankly, it sounded like some demons out of a movie trying to sing. It made me feel frustrated. They used the same eight bar technique as the Sex Pistols and delivered the same kind of angry sound. I thought that Bad Brains used more of a shredded guitar sound and the bass line varied between following the guitar chord and thumping. To me, it was a little more “muddy” sounding than the Sex Pistol recording.
Bottom line: I can honestly say that I understand the basis of the original Punk Rock music now. It was meant to make a statement, similar to the music of Bob Dylan and Curtis Mayfield. I would also group it with the original Hip Hop music scene. I may never be a real fan of the music, but I can say that I am, now, willing to take the time to listen.
Erlewine, S. (n.d.). Sex Pistols Biography. Allmusic.com. Retrieved from http://www.allmusic.com/artist/sex-pistols-mn0000418740/biography
Adams, R. (2008). The Englishness of English Punk: Sex Pistols, Subcultures, and Nostalgia. Popular Music & Society, 31(4), 469-488. doi:10.1080/03007760802053104
Erlewine, S. (n.d.). Bad Brains Biography. Allmusic.com. Retrieved from http://www.allmusic.com/artist/bad-brains-mn0000075264/biography
Maskell, S. (2009). Performing Punk: Bad Brains and the Construction of Identity. Journal Of Popular Music Studies, 21(4), 411-426. doi:10.1111/j.1533-1598.2009.01210.x