Got something to say or just want fewer pesky ads? Join us... 😊

[Music] British v American Punk

British V American Punk

  • British

    Votes: 56 74.7%
  • American

    Votes: 15 20.0%
  • Can't stand either

    Votes: 4 5.3%

  • Total voters
    75


Harry Wilson's tackle

Harry Wilson's Tackle
NSC Licker Extraordinaire
Oct 8, 2003
48,597
Faversham
Which part? The pistols and the Clash were both manufactured. That's not opinion it's fact. They were selling an image, they were essentially pop stars who happened to annoy some people
The frauds bit in particular. Why are they frauds? I don't feel I was miss-sold anything.

As for manufactured, what's wrong with 'managed'?

And if you think McLaren could have written NMTB, or Bernie Rhodes written, er, anything, then you haven't been keeping up.

Adam and the Ants mark 2 were also 'manufactured' (again by McLaren) but the music was all Adam and Marco.

There no special virtue in having no manager. Caravan had a couple and they just stole the band's money. Bowie and Belouis Some both manufactured their own images. So what? Even no image is an image. Everything in the arts is a choice. If you are a purist then you will stick to the totally raw, such as Kevin Coyne or Peter Hammill, but this leaves you with a rather narrow palate.

Incidentally I have always liked Billy Bragg, having seen him live in the early 80s. There is no need to start a culture war just because you don't like an artist.
 

Herr Tubthumper

Well-known member
NSC Licker Extraordinaire
Jul 11, 2003
58,854
The Fatherland
The Clash were as far from a manufactured band as it is possible to be. They were authentic, and refused to toe the line - they did exactly what they wanted to do, much to the annoyance of those who would wish to make money from them.

Their first album was pretty much straightforward 'punk' (with a few hints at the varied directions they would soon move in), but after that they annoyed many of their fans with their changes of direction.

They went on to become one of the most interesting bands that there has ever been, and their legacy still holds firm to this day.

A truly great band.
Totally agree, I’m genuinely curious why anyone would say they’re manufactured. I can only assume it’s because of their manager was a quite a personality. Obviously this means nothing more than he was a quite a personality.
 

Harry Wilson's tackle

Harry Wilson's Tackle
NSC Licker Extraordinaire
Oct 8, 2003
48,597
Faversham
Interesting because there are two streams of thought - was ‘punk’ defined by the style and attitude attributed to 1970s British youth culture or was it an American invention that grew on from the civil rights and other resistance movements of the 1960s? They both were about a youth subculture and both developed around the same time - but for me there’s nothing more British ( or anarchically British ) than the Sex Pistols singing GSTQ or Crass‘s nihilistic lyrics on Big A Little a.

British Punk wasn’t just a musical genre - it represented a subculture of politicised youth that was very much about life in Britain in the 1970s - anti-Thatcher, anti-class, anti-establishment messaging - so for that reason it is part of my own rebellious history in a way American Punk never could be.

Having said that- musically the sounds of the New York Dolls and the Ramones had earned their place in my teenage music collection!
If only that were true. Thatcher didn't get in till 79. We were not remotely interested in her in 77. Or indeed UK party politics. There was an element of squatting and protesting, but most of the squatters I knew were middle class, who would later be part of the 'Crass' end of things, and Crass were not really around in 77 (early gigs largely unattended, first release was 78, and some of them were quite old, more hippy/anarchist/squatter than punk, perhaps). The strident RAR, anti-facist stance was a much wider post punk thing. RAR started in 1976*. It was strongly present and felt by those of us who went to see British reggae acts like Steel Pulse, but this was not punk mainstream, not in 77. The BNP didn't form till 1982

No, my experience in Brighton was that most of the young (16-19) faces were at art college, (and heaven forfend) uni, or living at home with the parents. There were at least two trustafarians in our group. There was a conspicuous proportion of people who were 'other' (gay, mixed race, and in retrospect I would add, autistic). It was a safe space for people who were used to being picked on. Also let's not forget that blokes like those in the Depressions and the Molesters were mostly all older, frankly pub rock veterans in their late 20s. Lots of the younger ones in bands, like Tommy in the Wrist Action, and their guitarist (nice lad) whose name escapes me, looked 'normal' because they had day jobs.

As for the politics in the music, if I'm honest, I found some of the proselyting by the likes of John Mellor, son of a diplomat, to be a bit rich. But it was fun so I didn't mind. Mellor was primarily interested in what Steve Jones called "gettin' me 'ands on some birds".

But that's all fine. It was incredibly exciting going out to see bands, knowing there was always a threat (from teds primarily) and yet that the standard types, the 'Footy Lad' of this world, tended to shy away in fear. It was weird and tremendous.

But it only lasted a year. By 78 'standard' punk (Eater, Chelsea, etc), was no longer first choice. Bands were getting more interesting. Bands like The Au Pairs (78), The Mo-dettes (79), Magazine (77/8), The Soft Boys (actually 76, but not regular performers in London till later), Wire (were a punk band in 76 but just listen to Pink Flag - a different world from ramalama dole Q) etc etc. Even the Clash had moved on by album 2.

I never had the remotest interest in the American 'punk' that imitated British punk. Holiday in Cambodia (Dead Kennedys) came out in 1980. By then I had a long overcoat and a mournful disposition, listening to the likes of The Fall (still), Section 25, Thomas Lear, Comsats, Blue Orchids, Cure, Chameleons etc. The last think I wanted to hear was some well-fed American singing about his social deprivation.

Timelines are important.

*RAR not evident at early punk gigs. RAR started in response to Eric Clapton's racist drunken outburst. The chinless ****. From Wiki: "In Leeds, Gang of Four, The Mekons and Delta 5 were all actively involved in their local RAR group, as were Au Pairs and The Beat in Birmingham, and Misty In Roots and The Ruts in Southall, London. Tom Robinson, who was an early supporter of the movement, played several gigs with his band, TRB, and came occasionally to meetings of the RAR Central Collective"

I'm sure Attila has a different take to me. But unless he was extraordinarily quiet back then, I don't remember seeing him at any of the 30-40 punk gigs I went to in the hot summer of 77 in Brighton.
 

Harry Wilson's tackle

Harry Wilson's Tackle
NSC Licker Extraordinaire
Oct 8, 2003
48,597
Faversham
Good summary - the Americans may have coined the word 'punk' as a genre of music, but Iggy, MC5, New York Dolls - nah, not really. It was English bands that actually got it. Personally never took to the Sex Pistols, but The Damned, UK Subs, The Ruts, The Buzzcocks, Siouxie, The Undertones, The Valves, The Scars and a few others were right on the button for me.
The vibes went back over the Atlantic, and some American bands got it - Dead Kennedys for example, and Richard Hell and the Voidoids.

Other analyses are available.
I'm impressed. You're ten years older than me (I assume - 49er), and it was easy for people brought up on the first wave of pop culture to be snooty about 'punk'. God know the number of time's I've heard blokes in sweaters explaining how 'it isn't music' :lolol:
:thumbsup:
 

Harry Wilson's tackle

Harry Wilson's Tackle
NSC Licker Extraordinaire
Oct 8, 2003
48,597
Faversham
I'm going to suggest something now, a little tangential perhaps, about legacy may raise eyebrows.

There was an act that formed in the 70s that completely changed the sound of what we might call 'rock' music.

Was it the Clash? No.
Was it the Pistols? No.
Was it The Fall? No (although of the three these were the most game-changing)

It was.....The Police.

Yes. Listen to the Police, tracks like Message in a Bottle. What do you hear?
Pop Rock. Bog standard pop rock. Nice tune (shitty words).

But the drumming on that track was all off the beat. Stuart Copeland was a visionary and took reggae drum style and adapted it to create a New Sound. At the time tracks like Message in a Bottle were called 'white boy reggae' and yet, well to my ears anyway, they no longer sound at all reggae-ish. That's because the Copeland drum style proliferated and has become 'standard'.

Yes,, soon everyone was at it. It is why the 'post punk' rock bands were quite different to the pre-punk rock bands. It is why U2, the Comsat Angels, the Chameleons etc', are quite different from Wishbone Ash, UFO, Family etc.

Not a lot of people know that.
 


Tom Hark Preston Park

Will Post For Cash
Jul 6, 2003
69,685
The difference between British v American Punk was this...

Tony_Moon_-_Form_A_Band_540x.jpeg


(*edit* available as a print from Prescription Art in London Road)
 
Last edited:

Braggfan

In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded
May 12, 2014
1,797
Why do you think The Clash were manufactured? I’m aware of their origins, so I guess it’s a case of how you interpret their forming?
Joe Strummer was living in a squat and in band called the 101ers, and was approached to be in a new band, the clash, that was being created. I grant you that the term "manufactured" is open to interpretation. But ultimately he left his band and ditched his friends to join a band that was put together to sell records under the "punk" image. It caused a lot anger with his old band who accused him of blanking them and selling out. There will be different interpretations of it, but some have said that early history haunted him throughout his career. In fairness to him, I think he came full circle in the end and when they reformed and supported the firefighters strike before his death, they were arguably playing with the punk ethos that they moved away from in the early days.
 

Braggfan

In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded
May 12, 2014
1,797
The frauds bit in particular. Why are they frauds? I don't feel I was miss-sold anything.

As for manufactured, what's wrong with 'managed'?

And if you think McLaren could have written NMTB, or Bernie Rhodes written, er, anything, then you haven't been keeping up.

Adam and the Ants mark 2 were also 'manufactured' (again by McLaren) but the music was all Adam and Marco.

There no special virtue in having no manager. Caravan had a couple and they just stole the band's money. Bowie and Belouis Some both manufactured their own images. So what? Even no image is an image. Everything in the arts is a choice. If you are a purist then you will stick to the totally raw, such as Kevin Coyne or Peter Hammill, but this leaves you with a rather narrow palate.

Incidentally I have always liked Billy Bragg, having seen him live in the early 80s. There is no need to start a culture war just because you don't like an artist.
In fairness I was probably a bit over the top calling them frauds. But I do think their formation is happily glossed over because it wasnt as "righteous" as is sometimes claimed.


And the other fair point that you make, about not toeing the line is that they always supported good causes.
 


loz

Well-known member
Apr 27, 2009
2,212
W.Sussex
I'm going to suggest something now, a little tangential perhaps, about legacy may raise eyebrows.

There was an act that formed in the 70s that completely changed the sound of what we might call 'rock' music.

Was it the Clash? No.
Was it the Pistols? No.
Was it The Fall? No (although of the three these were the most game-changing)

It was.....The Police.

Yes. Listen to the Police, tracks like Message in a Bottle. What do you hear?
Pop Rock. Bog standard pop rock. Nice tune (shitty words).

But the drumming on that track was all off the beat. Stuart Copeland was a visionary and took reggae drum style and adapted it to create a New Sound. At the time tracks like Message in a Bottle were called 'white boy reggae' and yet, well to my ears anyway, they no longer sound at all reggae-ish. That's because the Copeland drum style proliferated and has become 'standard'.

Yes,, soon everyone was at it. It is why the 'post punk' rock bands were quite different to the pre-punk rock bands. It is why U2, the Comsat Angels, the Chameleons etc', are quite different from Wishbone Ash, UFO, Family etc.

Not a lot of people know that.
If you can remember the cover of the first live at Roxy LP, guess who that it clearing up their equipment…..The police or at least Stuart Copeland
 


Harry Wilson's tackle

Harry Wilson's Tackle
NSC Licker Extraordinaire
Oct 8, 2003
48,597
Faversham
In fairness I was probably a bit over the top calling them frauds. But I do think their formation is happily glossed over because it wasnt as "righteous" as is sometimes claimed.


And the other fair point that you make, about not toeing the line is that they always supported good causes.
:thumbsup:

I found the whole McLaren Svengali thing hilarious. Matlock liked the Beatles, and Jones was a really good wall of noise chords guitarist. They weren't like the mainstream English punk bands at all, really. McLaren had no hand in their music. Various people who became members of bands used to hang around Sex/Seditionaries, buying or stealing clothes from there and at that place along the road (Acme Atrraction). This was years before suburban punks made a pilgrimage along the King's Road. McLaren claiming that he masterminded a great rock and roll swindle was a classic bit of aftertiming. And all the more funny for it. Good luck to him. And RIP, of course.

I must say that in the 70s I was very keen on authenticity, and this is maybe why I didn't embrace Roxy Music and Bowie as warmly as I might, at the time (a mistake long since rectified). Having shed the worst of my snobbery by 1980 (ahem) I started to embrace anything that made me feel good, as well as things that made me think or want to dance. My ex wife could never get over the fact that I loved Madonna and (later) euphoric trance. 'not a good singer' and 'repetitive and soul-less' were her respective verdicts :lolol: And she was a veteran of Altamont (she is some years older than me).

Music can be about acting up, having a laugh, being part of something, being stared at by 'normals' etc. At my age I can go to a gig and a young person will find me a seat (as happened when I saw Drab Majesty a couple of years ago). I have no shame. None at all :rave:
 

Gordon the Gopher

Active member
Jul 16, 2003
987
Hove
I voted British although my best ever gig in Brighton was the Ramones in 86 at the top rank. Blew me away. As a counter balance best ever gig in London was the Ruts at the Marquee with Malcolm Owen … two separate events but etched in the memory for ever. Sadly most of them no longer with us.
 


1901Seagulls

New member
Nov 13, 2023
1
Personally, I like any Punk Band with a protest against social injustice. E.g ‘Dead Kennedys’ -“Holiday in Cambodia”, lot of ‘Clash’ ‘Stranglers’
“Dread Loss loss Angelis” (It’s a couple of minutes
blast of what large parts of comfortable America
can stands for) But I still like most Punk Bands political or not.

Punk is an ideal outlet to challenge social injustice.

To the Tory MP who complained he was elected to serve the people and “The Sex Pistols” were not.
My retort to him would be- “Punk” never caused
poverty and Battlefields to be littered with the dead of mainly the innocent youths . I.e,” musical anger” against social injustice is just and moral. Turning the anger of the youth on each others (I.e, wars) is not !
 

Harry Wilson's tackle

Harry Wilson's Tackle
NSC Licker Extraordinaire
Oct 8, 2003
48,597
Faversham
I voted British although my best ever gig in Brighton was the Ramones in 86 at the top rank. Blew me away. As a counter balance best ever gig in London was the Ruts at the Marquee with Malcolm Owen … two separate events but etched in the memory for ever. Sadly most of them no longer with us.
Ramones 77, Roundhouse, Ruts 78, The Nashville. The Ruts had a biker following at the time.
 

WATFORD zero

Well-known member
NSC Licker Extraordinaire
Jul 10, 2003
25,459
I'm going to suggest something now, a little tangential perhaps, about legacy may raise eyebrows.

There was an act that formed in the 70s that completely changed the sound of what we might call 'rock' music.

Was it the Clash? No.
Was it the Pistols? No.
Was it The Fall? No (although of the three these were the most game-changing)

It was.....The Police.

Yes. Listen to the Police, tracks like Message in a Bottle. What do you hear?
Pop Rock. Bog standard pop rock. Nice tune (shitty words).

But the drumming on that track was all off the beat. Stuart Copeland was a visionary and took reggae drum style and adapted it to create a New Sound. At the time tracks like Message in a Bottle were called 'white boy reggae' and yet, well to my ears anyway, they no longer sound at all reggae-ish. That's because the Copeland drum style proliferated and has become 'standard'.

Yes,, soon everyone was at it. It is why the 'post punk' rock bands were quite different to the pre-punk rock bands. It is why U2, the Comsat Angels, the Chameleons etc', are quite different from Wishbone Ash, UFO, Family etc.

Not a lot of people know that.

Stuart Copeland, great drummer though he was, admitted to nicking a fair few of his reggae licks from another drummer who was around at the time and that was Lewes Priory's (and Elvis Costello and the Attractions) own Pete Thomas. Great guy, brilliant drummer but really annoying nasal laugh. Listen to the intro to Watching the Detectives.

Now not a lot of people know THAT :wink:
 
Last edited:


Swegulls

Well-known member
Aug 29, 2023
393
Stockholm
I love this thread! Loads of great bands here that I've almost forgotten. Also interesting to get a picture of the timeline. I'm born -67 so I missed the start of it, I guess I tried to catch up in the early 80s instead. Not the same scene in Sweden though. Thanks for sharing all your knowledge and stories! Keep the thread alive, please! Got to listen to some good music now!
 

GT49er

Well-known member
Feb 1, 2009
46,229
Gloucester
The frauds bit in particular. Why are they frauds? I don't feel I was miss-sold anything.

As for manufactured, what's wrong with 'managed'?

And if you think McLaren could have written NMTB, or Bernie Rhodes written, er, anything, then you haven't been keeping up.

Adam and the Ants mark 2 were also 'manufactured' (again by McLaren) but the music was all Adam and Marco.
No, but if you're looking for the ultimate 'manufacturing' there was never a worse example than replacing Glen Matlock with probably the worst bass guitarist since Stuart Sutcliffe just because he looked like (and was) a gobbing, vicious little punk!
 

Albion and Premier League latest from Sky Sports

Paying the bills

Latest Discussions

Paying the bills

Paying the bills

Paying the bills


Top