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    The Punk Rock Music Genre Essay

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    The “punk rock” genre has been around longer than you may think, and has left influences on many modern genres today. Punk rock has a rich history of spreading throughout the world and eventually assimilated into different sub-genres such as: Proto Punk, Classic Punk, Post punk, Post Punk, etc. The list could go on for ages, but we are only going to focus on a select amount.

    Punk rock first began showing its roots in the night club scene in New York City in the mid 60s. The first significant band to that is believed to have started the movement is a band called The Velvet Underground. The band was organized by New York artist Andy Warhol, and mostly consisted of noisy guitar riffs, bass guitar, and a drum set made up of garbage cans, This began to form the genre people now call “proto punk”. Rolling Stone Magazine describes the band as having “intentional crudity, in their sense of beauty in ugliness, and in their dark and risqu é lyrics.

    ”(Rolling Stone). This shows what type of behavior punk rockers exercise. This began to set the ideal of Punk Rock saying, “I’m gonna say what I want and I don’t care what you think about it! ” The Velvet Underground’s concerts often consisted of crazy lighting, crude language, and a large verbal interaction between the bandmates and the audience, setting the tone for most all punk rock shows today. Another Proto punk band that set ideals was a band called The New York Dolls. This band was “known for “manic screaming” of lyrics, a foreshadowing of a similar trend in punk to follow. ”(Bartelt).

    These bands were really two of the most primary group of musicians to begin to take a leap of faith and stop theming their music on romance. Following the New York City proto-punk scene, began a new sub genre many presently refer to as “Classic Punk. ” The movement began to take place across the pond, in London, England. After the scene took root in NYC, a band called The Sex Pistols emerged from the UK. The band was formed by a man named Malcolm McLaren, who was the previous band manager of the NYC band called The New York Dolls.

    Rolling Stone magazine described McLaren as “The owner of a London clothes boutique, Sex, which specialized in ‘anti-fashion’. ”(Rolling Stone). The Sex Pistols were not liked and first, and the plug was often pulled 10 minutes into their shows due to crowd distaste. However, the Sex Pistols later began to rise up and inspired the formation of many Classic Punk. Shortly thereafter a band called The Clash was formed and people all around the world went crazy for them. The clash began to change the premise of Punk by combining multiple genres in one.

    Their music was hard-charging and roots-based but also future-visionary; their experiments with funk, reggae, and rap never took them far from a three-minute pop song. ” (Rolling Stone). They began the idea of expanding the values of punk through different audio mediums. This is important to the forming of all of today’s punk genres.

    When the 80s came about, a new form of punk emerged known as post punk. Examples of ands that dominated this genre were: The Cure, The Smiths, Joy Division, etc. Emerging from the 70s punk scene post-punk was very much different from previous punk rock. For example, The classic 60s Rock n Roll guitar sound was replaced with synth riffs. A way to describe Post Punk would be a dreary sound mixed with depressing and often gruesome lyrics.

    “Postpunk’s first contribution to pop was its refusal to hew to the old guitar-based formulas of rock ‘n’ roll. The ’80s synth sound comes out of post-punk, as does an angular, choppy, anti-blues style of guitar-playing that now dominates rock ‘n’ roll. (Metcalf). The Post Punk genre not only changed the game for what Punk could possibly sound like, but it also revolutionized the sound of Pop in the 80s. By the late 80s punk began to show its face in a new genre many call pop punk.

    As Punk began to grow more fast paced in the late 80s and early 90s, bands like Bad Religion and The Descendents began to establish a name for themselves. These bands were often called “hardcore” due to the often fast paced drums and speedy guitar riffs that are most familiar to us today. The shows were often occupied by teenage skateboarders who reeked havoc by pushing and shoving to the music, this is commonly known as “Moshing”. The idea of punk began to change to more popular themes such as hating parents, school, peers, and was a way for many outcasts to feel welcome and wanted. However many ideals were continued such as the use of irony and the questioning of authority.

    In 1989, a band called Sweet Children emerged, (later known as Green Day). Green Day played a huge role in making pop punk famous, as it was often played on the radio and also had their music videos played on MTV. Pop Punk still exists today and it is one of the most dominant kinds of punk in today’s society. Overall, Punk rock has a rich history of spreading throughout the world and eventually assimilated into different sub-genres such as: Proto Punk, Classic punk, Post punk, Pop Punk, etc. The list of different genres goes on for ages and the legacy of punk ideas live on as new genres of punk are being formed everyday. Punk rock is a way to express your opinion through music and a sense of belonging even if you believes you never would fit in anywhere.


    B, Kay. “History of Pop-Punk Music with Timeline. ” HubPages. HubPages, 27 Oct. 2013.

    Web. 03 Mar. 2015. Bartelt, Megan.

    “”No Future”” Weblog post. “No Future” N. p. , n. d.

    Web. 28 Feb. 2015. Cooper, Ryan.

    “A Timeline of Punk History – Late ’80s to Present Day. ” About. About. com, n. d.

    Web. 03 Mar. 2015. Metcalf, Stephen. “The Messy History of Postpunk.

    ” Slate. The Slate Group, n. d. Web. 03 Mar. 2015.

    Rolling Stone. “The Velvet Underground. ” Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone, 2001. Web. 3 Mar.


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