WHAT’S PUNK?

Back in the days I was extremelly influenced by punk music. I wouldn’t say that I was a punk per se but punk music was always on my walkman, specially ‘Dead Kenedies’ and some brasilian bands like ‘Garotos podres’ who I used to listen in order to sleep. ‘Ratos de porão’ as well was one of my favourite bands at a time I was sticking nose bugers on the school’s class room walls and spiting all over the school yard, long and greace hair, wearing a sepultura cap and telling girls to just fuck off while I was around them. Good or bad, I was just free.(J)

by Paul Hiebert

Trying to define punk rock is a perennial endeavor that leads to endless frustration. Is it about smashing the system? Is it about rebelling against oppression? Or is it nothing more than an efficient way to sell T-shirts? Discerning between the sellouts and the authentic is not easy.

Always willing to take on a sisyphean challenge, we decided to give it a go — except that instead of using our own words, we’re quoting the women and men who once were, and continue to be, the faces of punk. After the jump, check out 25 diverse definitions of punk and let us know who we missed, who should have never been included, and whose take you agree with most.

“When punk rock came along, the one thing you were not supposed to be was musical.”
Nick Lowe (songwriter, producer)

“The popularity of punk rock was, in effect, due to the fact that it made ugliness beautiful.”
Malcolm McLaren

“Punk is musical freedom. It’s saying, doing and playing what you want. In Webster’s terms, ‘nirvana’ means freedom from pain, suffering and the external world, and that’s pretty close to my definition of Punk Rock.”
Kurt Cobain

“A guy walks up to me and asks ‘What’s Punk?’ So I kick over a garbage can and say ‘That’s punk!’ So he kicks over a garbage can and says ‘That’s punk?’ and I say ‘No, that’s trendy!’”
Billie Joe Armstrong

“Punk rock is a word used by dilettantes and heartless manipulators about music that takes up the energies, and the bodies, and the hearts, and the souls, and the time, and the minds of young men who give what they have to it… I don’t know Johnny Rotten, but I’m sure he puts as much blood and sweat into what he does as Sigmund Freud did. What sounds to you like a big load of trashy old noise is in fact the brilliant music of a genius — myself. And that music is so powerful that it’s quite beyond my control, and when I’m in the grips of it I don’t feel pleasure and I don’t feel pain, either physically or emotionally.”
Iggy Pop

“[Punk] was something which brought people together, so they realized something was possible”
Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks)

“Punk was defined by an attitude rather than a musical style.”
David Byrne

“There are characters in [punk] that do deliberately go as far as they can in certain kind of taboo areas.”
Richard Hell

“Punk is: the personal expression of uniqueness that comes from the experiences of growing up in touch with our human ability to reason and ask questions; a movement that serves to refute social attitudes that have been perpetuated through willful ignorance of human nature; a process of questioning and commitment to understanding that results in self-progress, and through repetition, flowers into social evolution; a belief that this world is what we make of it, truth comes from our understanding of the way things are, not from the blind adherence to prescriptions about the way things should be; the constant struggle against fear of social repercussions.”
Greg Graffin (Bad Religion)

“I think punk rock, especially for me, was a big middle finger to this whole talent thing.”
Mike Watt (Minutemen)

“I came into the punk scene because punk stayed with you, it has taught you something. A lot of the other music of the time left you as it found you.”
Mick Jones (The Clash)

“At its best New Wave/punk represents a fundamental and age-old Utopian dream: that if you give people the license to be as outrageous as they want in absolutely any fashion they can dream up, they’ll be creative about it, and do something good besides.”
Lester Bangs

“Punk rock seems like my childhood, the glorious, very exciting naivete of rock n’ roll. Stenguns and guitars seem very idealistic when you’re twenty.”
Tony James (Generation X)

“Punk rock, when I was a part of it, was called ‘the underground.’ There was something very attractive in all the hidden places, the hidden histories.”
Mary Harron (journalist, filmmaker)

“The whole punk ethic was do-it-yourself, and I’ve always been very literal, especially as a kid. When they said that anybody can do this, I was like, ‘OK, that’s me.’”
Michael Stipe

“I think what we took away from first hearing about the punk stuff in England and then the early American punk stuff was a sense of self-definition and also sort of playing music for music’s sake and being part of a family for family’s sake.”
Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat, Fugazi)

“I don’t need to advertise my punkness. A real punk doesn’t need to show off…Its like a Karate man… the Karate man bleed on the inside. A real punk is punk on the inside.”
Mark Hoppus (Blink 182)

“What people don’t understand is when punk started it was so innocent and not aware of being looked at or being a phenomenon and that’s what everyone gets wrong. You can’t consciously create something that’s important, it’s a combination of chemistry, conditions, the environment, everything.”
Siouxsie Sioux

“Were it not for the Clash , punk would have been just a sneer, a safety pin and a pair of bondage trousers.”
Billy Bragg

“I don’t like saying, ‘You’re a punk and you’re not.’ There was a record out there called Ca Plane pour Moi by Plastic Bertrand, right? And I guarantee you if I had to play it for you right now you’d go, ‘Right! That is rockin!’ Now, if you were to say to any sort of purist punk, ‘This is a good punk record,’ they’d get completely enraged. But Plastic Bertrand, whoever he was, compressed into that three minutes a bloody good record that will get any comatose person toe-tapping, you know what I mean? By purist rules, it’s not allowed to even mention Plastic Bertrand. Yet, this record was probably a lot better than a lot of so-called punk records.”
Joe Strummer

“Punk became a circus didn’t it? Everybody got it wrong. The message was supposed to be: Don’t follow us, do what you want!”
John Lydon

“I come from the home-grown punk ethic, where it doesn’t matter if you can’t play a note, it’s how you communicate.”
Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama)

“Mozart was a punk, which people seem to forget. He was a naughty, naughty boy.”
Shirley Manson

“Undermine their pompous authority, reject their moral standards, make anarchy and disorder your trademarks. Cause as much chaos and disruption as possible but don’t let them take you alive.”
Sid Vicious

“Punk rock is just another word for freedom.”
Patti Smith

female on the front

A Reference Of Female-Fronted Punk Rock: 1977-89 (Part 1)


Avengers photo by Theresa K.

This is a pretty insane project put together by my pal Vince B. from San Francisco a few years back. As the title indicates, this is a homemade 12 x CD-R (!) compilation of punk bands fronted by female vocalists from 1977 to 1989. More like a giant mixtape than a compilation, as he only made 36 copies which he sent to friends and people who submitted material. You may notice that some of the bands didn’t have a steady female vocalist (The Lewd, etc.) but he still included songs that were sung by another member of the band. This is as international as it gets, with stuff ranging from world famous Blondie or Crass to the most obscure Eastern European cassette compilation veterans. The boxset came packaged in a handnumbered fancy translucent lunchbox enclosing all 12 CD-Rs, a stack of full-colored cards featuring comprehensive tracklist and artwork/info, as well as a manga pin-up figure! Talk about a labor of love.

Since this is such a massive compilation that takes time to listen to and digest, I’m gonna split it in 3 posts. Here are discs 1-4, make sure you stay tuned for the rest.

(Feb. 24th update: part 2 and part 3 are now available)


#11/36 – Luc’s copy 🙂

DISC 1: Download link

1. Blutsturz – Schweigen (Demo) (Germany, 198?)
2. Penetration – Money Talks (England, 1977)
3. Pyhäkoulu – Painajainen (Finland, 1986)
4. VulpeSS – Me Gusta Ser Una Zorra (Spain, 1983)
5. The Comes – Panic (Japan, 1984)
6. Suicide Squad – New Kids Army (Australia, 1980)
7. Rivolta Dell’Odio – Altari Del Terrore (Italy, 1984)
8. Sick Things – Anti-Social Disease (England, 1977)
9. Accident (a.k.a Accidents) – True Detective (USA, 1979)
10. Dishrags – I Don’t Love You (Canada, 1979)
11. Último Resorte – Hogar, Dulce Hogar (Demo) (Spain, 1981)
12. The Fastbacks – Someone Else’s Room (USA, 1981)
13. Anorexia – Rapist In The Park (England, 1980)
14. Phobia – Pretend You’re Not Crazy (USA, 1978)
15. Androids Of Mu – Bored Housewives (England, 1981)
16. Sort Sol (With Lydia Lunch) – Boy-Girl (Denmark/USA, 1983)
17. Tappi Tikarrass – Skrid (Iceland, 1984)
18. Flowers – After Dark (Scotland, 1979)
19. The Rentals – I Got A Crush On You (USA, 1979)
20. Pariapunk – Double Face (France, 1987)
21. Amsterdamned – Traditie Amme Balle (Netherlands, 1982)
22. Dr. Zeke – Vild I Skogen (Sweden, 1979)
23. The Lewd – Magnetic Heart (USA, 1982)
24. Au Pairs – Kerb Crawler (England, 1980)
25. Mo-Dettes – White Mice (USA/Switzerland/England, 1979)
26. Stripes – Weekend Love (Germany, 1980)
27. Violators – The Fugitive (England, 1980)

DISC 2: Download link

1. Schund – Schund (Austria, 1982)
2. Wunderbach – Raya (France, 1982)
3. Total Muzak – Någonstans I Sta’n (Sweden, 1980)
4. Liliput – Hitch-Hike (Switzerland, 1980)
5. NJF – Sitting!! Pretty (Canada, 1984)
6. S.I.B. – Listless (Italy, 1981)
7. Manisch Depressiv – Zeitmaschine 1 (Switzerland, 1983)
8. Sheena & The Rokkets – Omae Ga Hoshii (One More Time) (Japan, 1979)
9. Rezillos – Flying Saucer Attack (Scotland, 1978)
10. Sado-Nation – Messed Up Mixed Up (USA, 1982)
11. Lucrate Milk – Fucking Pacifist (France, 1983)
12. Dan – Lust Is Greed (England, 1987)
13. Nasty Facts – Drive My Car (USA, 1981)
14. Life Cycle – Indifference (Wales, 1988)
15. Livin’ Sacrifice – Mentalsjuk (Sweden, 1981)
16. The Brat – Attitudes (USA, 1980)
17. Non Band – Ducan Dancin’ (Japan, 1982)
18. Bizkids – VIPs (Netherlands, 1980)
19. Minus Cway – Gdje Me Vjetar Odnese (Yugolsavia, 1982-88)
20. The Rats – Broken Wire Telephone (USA, 1983)
21. Anouschka & Les Privés – Contrôle (France, 1980)
22. Slits – Vindictive (England, 1977)
23. ICA – Untitled (Netherlands, 1981)
24. Trash – Peace Of What (USA, 1984)
25. Boys Boys – Monley Monkey (Japan, 1980)
26. Honey Bane – Girl On The Run (England, 1979)
27. TNT – Razzia (Switzerland, 1981)
28. Nuns – Wild (USA, 1980)
29. Electric Deads – 30 Years (Denmark, 1982)
30. Conflict – Who Will (USA, 1984)
31. Atims – Women (Netherlands, 1982)

DISC 3: Download link

1. Hans-A-Plast – Polizeiknüppel (Germany, 1979)
2. Usch – LTO (Sweden, 1979)
3. Desechables – El Asesino (Spain, 1984)
4. Ici Paris – Le Centre Du Monde (France, 1980)
5. Action Pact – Suicide Bag (England, 1982)
6. Invaders – Backstreet Romeo (England, 1980)
7. Lepers – Flipout (USA, 1979)
8. Franti – Vento Rosso (Italy, 1983)
9. Out On Blue 6 – Examples (England, 1981)
10. Mr. Kite – Exit B9 (Japan, 1978)
11. De Zweetkutten – Atoomgeweld (Netherlands, 1981)
12. Ideal – Berlin (Germany, 1980)
13. Holly And The Italians – I Wanna Go Home (USA, 1981)
14. Modesty – Kad Srce Radi Bi Bam (Yugoslavia, 1982-88)
15. Delta 5 – Anticipation (England, 1980)
16. Beex – He Obliterates Me (USA, 1981)
17. Kaltwetterfront – Revolverheld (Germany, 1982)
18. Hydra – Ombre (Italy, 1985)
19. Vacum – Är Ungdomar Människor? (Sweden, 1980)
20. Nixe – Man Under My Bed (Netherlands, 1981)
21. Alternative – Seen Through Tear-Filled Eyes (Scotland, 1984)
22. Schematix – Nothing Special (USA, 1980)
23. Eyes – Don’t Talk To Me (USA, 1978)
24. Russians – Anything She Wants (England, 1980)
25. Kontrola W. – Manekiny (Poland, 1982/1998)

DISC 4: Download link

1. Kizza Ping – Den Nya (Sweden, 1982)
2. Strapaze – Tage (Germany, 1983)
3. Glueams – 365 (Switzerland, 1979)
4. Kleenex Aktiv – Hilfe (Germany, 1985)
5. XL Capris – My City Of Sydney (Australia, 1980)
6. Josie Cotton – Johnny, Are You Queer? (USA, 1981)
7. Rakketax – Van Agt (Netherlands, 1980)
8. A-Heads – No Rule (England, 1982)
9. Drustvo Prisjecavalaca Boljih Dana – Sexualna Ovisnost (Yugoslavia, 1982-88)
10. Pink Champagne – Söndagsskolehyckel (Sweden, 1980)
11. Curse – Killer Bees (Canada, 1978)
12. Flirt – Don’t Push Me (USA, 1978)
13. Mizutama Shouboudan – Shinkuu Pakku Toraberu (Japan, 1981)
14. Bizon Kidz – Godsdienstwaanzin (Netherlands, 1981)
15. X-Ray Spex – I Live Off You (England, 1978)
16. Reactors – World War Four (USA, 1980)
17. Klasse Kriminale – Construito In Italia (Italy, 1988)
18. Debils – Maso (Switzerland, 1981)
19. Plastix – Geschlechtsverkehr (Austria, 1981)
20. Avengers – Teenage Rebel (USA, 1978)
21. Hagar The Womb – Idolization (England, 1983)
22. Blitzkrieg – Szene (Germany, 1989)
23. DIRT – Hiroshima (England, 1981)
24. Disturbers – KZ Syndroom (Netherlands, 1980)
25. Andreas Dorau Und Die Marinas – Fred Vom Jupiter (Germany, 1981)
26. Pandoras – That’s Your Way Out (USA, 1984)
27. Lost Cherrees – Living In A Coffin (England, 1982)
28. Learned Helplessness – Vegis (USA, 1982)
29. A-Gen-53 – Stalingrad-Stumpfsinn (Austria, 1981)

yeah we love punk 🙂

Peter Giele in amsterdam

Peter Giele – Salon d’Amitié in Arti, Amsterdam

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the demise of Peter Giele (1954-1999) ..<=[Amsterdam post-punk artist, designer, activist and entrepreneur, who – pretty much single handedly – founded and built (just to name two) the seminal AORTA art gallery (early 1980s in the then NRC-Handelsblad squat), and – some years later – the legendary Roxy disco that went up in flames in the aftermath of the party following Peter’s grand & extravagant burial on the Amsterdam Zorgvlied cemetery, june 21st, 1999]=>.. the Giele Trust set up a Salon de l’amitié in Arti et Amicitiae, from june 20th till july 26th.
87 artists contributed works; most of them presented a pair, consisting in a work from the days they contributed to or were active within one of Giele’s initiatives, next to a recent one.
Here’s some pictures I shot at the opening on friday june 19th, and some made a few days later.

giele trust aorta giele trust aorta
giele trust aorta giele trust aorta

In one of the expo’s corners stood a Reciva, streaming Raudio, 24/7 … It was there as a contemporary counterpart to £pcM‘s ‘Het Glaswerk’ (1983), that you see him looking at in picture to the left, above.

giele trust aorta

The early 1980s Amsterdam of squats, DIY-ers, young post-punkers and emerging artists, was anarchic, fast-paced, influential and rich in ideas. Thirty years onwards this relatively short period still/again is discussed at large. It also is a period ‘claimed’ by many, which maybe is a reason why its documentation remains curiously sparse and fragmentary, presenting several often contradictory and mostly myopic views. Let me therefore jump at the occasion, and indulge in the means of a now blog to bring back to (some sort of) life even some of the most obscure among the obscure of back then 🙂 …
aorta 1983 In the black-and-white picture to the right (click to enlarge) you see ‘Silent Music (sound/no-sound)’, a minimalistic and wobbly 3-part sculpture that I made in the spring of 1983 with some odd bits and ends of wood lying around, in Peter Giele’s Aorta. The thing was part of a group show that included pretty much tout le monde, initiated and organized by Erik Hobijn, Maarten Ploeg and Rob Scholte. It was shortly after Ronald Heiloo and myself had released the Commuters album with Dagmar Krause, and the silent ‘wooden trio’ was obviously related to that, though the conceptual details by now have disappeared in the mists of time …
Tens of friends ‘n’ artists worked and schemed for one month; with, but – let there be no doubt about it – also against, one another, in the cold Aorta space. Then there was an opening, on the evening of saturday april 10th 1983. £PcM‘s contribution was a participation as ‘Publiek’; and Peter Giele covered his eyes, laid himself down and went to sleep, in the very middle of the spacious and dark Aorta, where the crowd had to crawl its way through a lot of wet and fresh creation with the help of red dyno torches (knijpkatten) that were distributed at the entrance.
The big ‘R’ on the floor next to the sculpture is from a poster of Mike von Bibikov’s “De Reagering”, a po(et)(lit)ical ‘movement’ striving for – of course – world governance. “Ik wil niet op iemand stemmen, ik wil het zelf doen!” was one of Bibikov’s better slogans. (“I do not want to vote for someone, I want to do it myself!”)
‘Silent Music (sound/no-sound)’ probably shortly after was de-composed and put to use to momentarily warm up part of the pretty much un-heatable Aorta space.

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amsterdam was the perfect place tohold such an exhibition from this ‘anarchist’. great work that lack frills and all that’s left is its rebelious soul, expetc chaos anf fast paced mind blowing images and rooms crowed decorated with what the punk attitude has always had…….chaos from a chatic mind……the uglyness of beauty is artless