In the 70’s, Punk music rose up all across the UK in a time of recession and hostility. From within the bowels of the nation people burst out from all over Briton with two fingers pointed up at society. An anti-establishment uprising, standing against racism, war and greed. Punk was a music fronted statement by the discontented society.
An important movement in many ways but most important of all was what it meant for music. Punk showed that music was raw, it could send a message to millions and that music didn’t have to be pretty. The effects of the punk era can been seen throughout music generations that followed, from the two-tone that was passed the batten to the grunge of the late 80’s and the solid rock sounds of some bands in the new millennium. However most original Punk’s and fans of the original artists will tell you there hasn’t been a “Punk” band ever since the early 80’s when the times began to change; when what Punk stood for, didn’t need the voice that the music so successfully gave it.
So, is Punk dead now that the times have changed and true punk cannot be made? Well in my opinion no.
On the 31st of July this year I was lucky enough to be in New York when American Punk legends the Dead Kennedys kicked off their 2012 world tour. As well as being very excited I was also quite sceptical, not only because famous front man Jello Biafra was off with his new band but also because the Dead Kennedys had been in their prime in the late 70’s, had they still got what it takes to create that energetic Punk atmosphere? Yes, the atmosphere was a fierce, high energy beast puppeted by some amazing music playing. The sound stayed true to its original, skilfully intense roots and the lyrical character so accustomed to Biafra was maintained by new lead man Skip McSkipster.
The gig was amazing and one thing that surprised me the most was the crowd’s average age. People from all ages came out to watch East Bay Ray and co do their stuff. No matter if you were a 20 year old mosh-pitters or a 50 year old back-stander, everybody knew the lyrics and basked in the music. I thought it to be a great display on how Punk has been appreciated by every generation and as long as bands such as the Dead Kennedys are touring, punks not dead.
However, by this definition, Punk will die. With the effects it’s had and the music it’s made it will never be forgotten but it will die. Luckily for us bands such as the Dead Kennedys are still going strong and there are plenty more out there. The Damned and the Stiff Little Fingers are currently on tour and bands such as the UK subs still play. I recommend you see music history in the flesh, while you can.