This quote suggests that Punk Rock was more or less a political statement, which like most, was a product of the attitudes of the time; the excitement of the revolutionary nineteen sixties had fizzled and from the “boredom” emerged something completely different. There are several reasons as to why the Punk movement began. Many theories suggest Punk to have been a raw political statement for the sake of change and rebellion (Laying, 1978, Pl Para) while others would argue that the whole scene was just scripted controversy for the sake of commercialism and moneymaking.
Comparatively, similarities can be drawn between the nineteen fifties Rock n Roll era and the punk Rock phenomenon of the seventies. Not only do they bare an aesthetic likeness, but also their following with both genres of music playing a key role in the uprising of a “Youth Culture” (Larkin, 1 997, IPPP). As Broodier observed, “nothing more clearly affirms one’s class, nothing more infallibly classifies, than taste in music. ” (Shaker, 1994, pop).
Punk adhered to this, as it’s lyrics and cultural attitudes were based on youthful ideals such as rebellion, nihilism, obscenity, violence, sexuality and attitudes towards school (Shaker, 1994, pop & IPPP But why? Did the young people simple seek a commercial outlet to voice their opinions and anger or was it all out of boredom? Boredom is a recurring theme in many iconic Punk anthems (see “I’m Bored”- Gigs Pop, “I Just Want Have Something To Do”- The Ramose and “Boredom”- The Buzzwords, to name a few).
Boredom is another quality widely associated with teenagers in particular, and for nineteen seventies youths the post sixties lifestyle was all but thrilling but with the invention of punk the seventies brought more than a monotonous end to some of the greatest rises of the 20th Century. It filled the void, “with a sound so terrifying and disordered that you knew- from the first momentum heard it- that it couldn’t last. ” (Roomers, 2009, page).
While from a cultural perspective Punk Rock can be viewed as a very real lifestyle for the misfit youths of the nineteen seventies, some, such as reporter Hanna Gardner from a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, suggest that the musicians started the genre purely for “money, fame, kicks and chicks”, that the Punk Rock phenomenon was all “a put on” (Roomers, 2009, puppy-207). While the youths may have en adopting the disheveled aesthetic and “up yours” attitude of their Punk Rock music icons, were the musicians who were responsible for the blow up of this entire subculture only focused on becoming rich and famous?
Malcolm McAllen was one figure in Punk Rock in particular who, some might say, affirmed this theory with his commercialism The Sex Pistols and famously causing them to split and “sell out”. McAllen was an entrepreneurial type whose early involvements in the Punk scene eventuated to his management (or “creation”, as he deemed it) of the Sex Pistols in the mid eventides (Savage, 1 991 , IPPP). The Sex Pistols blurred the lines between commercialism and rebellion, with them having as many songs on the pop charts as any famous pop musician of the time.
Anthems like “Anarchy in the UK’ and “God Save the Queen” became enormous hits in the UK charts and soon were heard all around the world, turning The Sex Pistols from angry teenagers who were part of the underground Punk movement into rich and famous rock stars. The band members themselves would deny ever being in it for the money, but McAllen himself has admitted to cashing in on the ands popularity With merchandise and even film, giving the impression that they were more a product of commercialism rather than a Punk Rock band (Savage, 1991, puppy-502).
While some iconic historical Punk figures attitudes became askew due to fame and wealth, assimilation into Pop Culture was not the only intention behind why Punk Rock really began. For some Punk Rockers, the idea of creating a reactionary artistic statement against pop culture was key and the music was but a vessel for that creative expression of anger, anarchy and nihilism. In Phil Strongman “A History of Punk” he observes that in some areas, Punk Rock was viewed as more of a religion than a subculture. It was a means of bringing people of the same ideals and beliefs together (Pl 3, Para).
This affirms the idea that Punk was made to act as a political a statement, a movement lead by the youth of a generation to call for change and progression. The “uniform” of the “Pure Punk” was one that was part of the statement (Strongman, 2007, Pl 2-20). American Punk Rock Pioneer Richard Hell from the innovating band “Richard Hell and the Voids” claims that the inspiration for the Punk uniform dates jack as early as 1 959, he himself taking influence from the French New Wave film ‘The 400 Blows’ by François Truthful. Richard Hell once stated, “It (Hells uniform) looked like the kid in The 400 Blows, The Truthful movie.
I remember I had a picture of those three guys. I really thought all this stuff out in ’73 and ’74. ” This theory of punk beginning as an artistic statement suggests that, unlike others, Punk was a well thought out art form rather than just rebellion for the sake Of rebelling. Everything, down to what they wore served purpose in their intricate artistic intentions and counted towards the overall effect of the Punk phenomenon. In conclusion, there is no one reason as to why Punk began but multiple theories, all of which bare an element of truth.
While Punk rock may seem a contradiction in itself (what with it becoming a commercial genre of music when it was intended to remain on the cusp of popular culture) the initial intentions are ones that beg for a revolution, a change in music, image, and attitude towards politics, people and popular culture. “Like a weed, punk emerged during the parched decade between the sixties and the eighties, when the compass was spinning out of control, when he captain had lost control of the wheel. ” (Roomers, 2009, “Opening Shoo. Punk did happen for a reason.