Friday, 9 April 2010

How punk rock passed me by

To this day I don’t know The Damned from The Clash, The Jam from the Buzzcocks, the Ramones from The Stooges. By the mid-Seventies at 30 I was already too old for punk rock. I had a friend, Ray, who followed the Sex Pistols. He encouraged me to join him at one of their gigs.
A passionate Dylan fan, Ray knew his music. Without him I wouldn’t have gone down Ronnie Scott’s jazz club and stood for hours (seats were sold out) through both sets entranced by Dizzy Gillespie.
I imagined – probably correctly – that I would be appalled by stumbling into a sweaty club to have my ears assaulted by raucous music turned up to 11; where I would be charged into by pogo-ing headcases; and where gobbing over the band was a compliment.
I regret my decision not to see the Pistols – the more so with the news of the death of their manager Malcolm McLaren yesterday.
At the time I thought the Pistols were foulmouthed clowns. What Ray had seen and I missed completely was that punk music wasn’t a passing fad. Its rawness, its rhythms, its pounding discordant harmonies captured the essence of what was rebellious and angry in rock and roll.
Sometimes when I have my radio providing I’ll stop whatever I’m doing because my brain recognises a piece of music is playing whose energy stands out from the bubblegum. Invariably it will be a punk-influenced band playing – and not necessarily one dating from the brief Golden Age.
I had to buy Green Day’s American Idiot a few years ago – it was that good. But nothing has stirred my old bones since. But then opera passed me by too.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think? GC