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June 11, 2010
What's in a word?
Where did this one
Punk was, of course, a word that was
around before it was associated with
music. William Burroughs claims It appears in some of
a "punk" was someone who "took it up his earliest writing,
the ass", which would account for it's the novel "Junky".
use as a tough-guy insult.
As for it's first use in describing
a musical phenomena, a lot of us Though there are even
are inclined to retroactively earlier music journalism
adopt Lester Bangs as the father. references dating back
to around 1970:
Bangs also had an
kicking around titled
But then, Bangs was clearly
talking about 60s garage
bands, lame-ass Yardbirds Though Bangs' attitude
knock-offs like Count Five. toward these bands,
knowing that they're
If he'd used it to trashy but kind of SUNDAY_CAMP
describe the Velvet liking them because
Underground, he they're trashy... that's
would've seemed not so far away...
But perhaps the PUNK
Velvets seemed too
intelligent. They And when punk happened,
had the Bangs didn't exactly
associations of need any help understanding
avant art world it.
going for them,
courtesy of the
I think it's interesting
that the SF band "The Tubes"
had released an album with
"White Punks on Dope" on
it as early as 1975.
Then when Holmstrom, Drum
and McNeil were starting McNeil was apparently
their zine it got called after the connotations
"Punk"... of young and criminal, Apparently they
dumb and out for fun. had the idea of
Then their first issue into a mascot,
featured interviews a living Alfred
with both the Ramones E. Newman.
and Lou Reed, conducted
at CBGBs. STANDUP_TRAGEDIAN
And there you
have the tension
between two AND_NOT_DUMBER
visions of punk.
Punk: a celebration of stupidity.
The trouble with things
like this... they get Punk: smart people indulging
used as rallying flags in intentional crudity
for a bad element, a
fallback for losers who I'll take door number two.
can't (or don't feel
they can) succeed in To me punk is a strategy,
any other way. a way of trying to deal
with the obvious failure
"It's so bad it's good" of more straight-forward
morphs into excuses and approaches.
justifications for being
bad, a injunction against UNINTENDED
trying to be good. RACE_DOWN
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