By Baby Tuckoo
So, at what point does post punk run out of steam? It’s the question on several lips.
Since the beloved Joy Division, PiL, Magazine, and The Cure first appeared, it’s been revived so many times. It’s become a silly and pointless fucking pastime of mine, pointing out to each and every would-be post punk band that they are direct descendents of aforesaid bands. Do you think we’re all fucking stupid?
But back to the question: At what point will post punk run out of steam? I’d venture, never.
Post punk is THE purest, the most distilled expression of the rock ‘n’ roll ideal that could ever be boiled down. And as long as this ideal exists, like Newton’s laws of physics or Einstein’s theory of relativity, post-punk cannot die. For, like the force and theory and mathematical expression of gravity, post punk is an irresistible force. Its magnetic electricity draws mass to it like Jupiter or Saturn, and gathers momentum the longer it orbits.
Just “earnest young men in grey overcoats”? I think the fuck not.
There is an altogether mathematical, scientific deliberation underlying the music that strips down rock and roll to its barest bones. It exposes the inner workings of a repetitive beat-machine, no matter how much hip-grinding, wide-eyed boyishness you want to layer on top of it.
The blues are the roots of all rock and roll? Yeah, correct. And post punk is nothing more than the blues. A repetitive, hypnotic, soul-searching, ofttimes violent, stomping howl. It’s also far superior to the “white man’s blues”, which weakly reinterprets and feebly mimics the original by way of a Stratocaster, a Marshall amp, and clothing to make some shudder.
Post punk’s delicate alchemy is distilled from a combination of European meticulousness and organic blues. Born into poverty, it bought the anguish of its existence and the pain of defeat to bear on six strings and a bottle of whiskey. It’s a gift passed down to descendants, spread through backwoods, in the backs of cars and the back-parlours of diners. It was brought to mainstream attention by Son House, Sonny Boy W, Mr R. Johnson, Muddy Waters and co. It was then made famous by the usual suspects and white faces – Elvis, The Stones, Eddie Cochran, The Animals, Bob Dylan, Beatles.
This was picked up by new transatlantic parasites: The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, Clapton, and infused it with new blood of another generation of listeners.
The bluesy, hypnotic backbeat also found its way into the rooms of Lou Reed, Marc Bolan, David Bowie, and eventually an altogether different breed of human. A breed so uncomfortable in its own skin, so dissatisfied with the order of things, so malevolent and so malformed that it had no other way to express itself than through discord and disorder.
Post punk is the musical distillate of everything that inevitably goes wrong in any human society. Given the current state of affairs, we can we be rest assured it shall never die.
So, for as long as there are men and women thinking, reading, creating and expanding the boundaries of thought, that loose term “post punk” is fairly safe.
Here are the words of what I believe to be the first post-punk song, sadly without a melody to accompany it:
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley
Just “earnest young men in overcoats”? Paggh! I spit on you. Lazy criticism, and lazy labeling.
Good f’ing night.
In the cold, cold night a boy was birthed. A flash of white noise; nearby televisions sparked; then returned to normal. Viewer’s wrongly put it down to electrical storm interference. The boy entered the machine. He’s been trying to escape ever since.