Archive for March 2010

My Sources Indicate…


In the important, innovative, and of course GROUNDBREAKING field of punk research, compiling a competent list of interesting sources is a vital part of any project. Luckily, a few weeks ago I met a gentleman and scholar named Christopher L. Parsons, and he offered to send along some sources he thought might be beneficial. He posted them as a comment on another subject, but I reckoned we could start a section dedicated to listing sources associated with this incredibly profound field of study. Heck, we could even provide some commentary on each source so people have an idea of what they are getting into. Here are the sources Parsons suggested:


Canadian Network Of Musicians


If you aren’t on Facebook yet, this could be just the thing to push you over the edge and join the dark side. This Facebook group, “Canadian Network of Musicians,” was created by musician and gentleman Denver Swainson in order to encourage connections between bands touring through Canada. Canada is kind of a big place, and often the only way bands can mount a serious expedition across the country is to get support from other musicians – for help finding venues to play, places to crash for the night, etc. An underground  network was created in America in the 1980s, and not only did bands end up surviving, the national scene ended up thriving with little aid from mainstream institutions. Hopefully that can happen here too.

Find the Facebook group at: Canadian Network of Musicians

Look up Denver Swainson’s band the Frank at:

This was Not a Conference


On Friday 5 March 2010, the Graduate Music Student Association and the History and Classics Graduate Students Association joined forces to hold a combined panel as part of their respective Graduate Student Conferences. Held at Dewey’s, a pub on the University of Alberta campus, over 175 people showed up to “This is Not a Conference” to watch presentations, hear music, and of course drink beer. Big Rock Brewery graciously covered the expenses to ensure that all proceeds brought in from the $5 cover at the event went directly to support local music.


Punk as Political


As mentioned already in the post what the heck do we even call it?  there is a considerable amount of danger in applying labels to music scenes and the bands involved with them. Another serious danger, on par with walking through a minefield that also happens to be in an avalanche area, is defining the terms being used to characterize the scene, or the movement.*

A term that always comes up when discussing punk is “political.” Some define political, or politics, as actively taking part in the political process – voting, running for office, and the like – the argument is that if you go outside that definition, then everything could be defined as a political action, from watching television to walking down the street.

Now many people, myself included, consider punk to be very political. BUT it was usually outside the normal political channels.  There are some examples when people involved in the punk scene became active participants in the political process – Jello Biafra running for mayor of San Francisco for instance – but mainly you didn’t see punk governors or punk prime ministers (sadly).


but if you go carrying pictures of hitler’s moustache, you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow


Say somebody has a brilliant argument. It’s well articulated, insightful, and has profound implications for the entire world. Literally, this argument could change the direction of all humankind. BUT THEN, when everything seems to be going great, the person making the argument uses the “Hitler Analogy,” where they compare something to Hitler, like, say, “People that don’t agree with me about this are just like Nazis.” 

Suddenly, all credibility is lost. Forever. A bad analogy just stopped the potential for a change to all civilization, because of a silly analogy.

Just as serious and dangerous as the “Hitler Analogy” is the “Hitler Moustache.” You may have seen it being put on United States President B. Obama lately, from what I can tell because he likes health care. I was in Seattle a few weeks ago doing “research” and was walking by Pike Market about to go into my hostel when I noticed some guys on the street corner with big picket signs, being ignored by everyone that walked by. So of course I went over to them to see what was going on.


Where did punk start? Who cares?


Remember that song that little lamb puppet used to sing? You know, the one that never ends? Yeah, it’s probably in your head now, sorry. But anyways, if that’s the song that never ends, then the debate that never ends is over where punk rock got started. Some argue that it began in Foggy London Town (hereafter referred to as FLT), while others maintain that it started on the dirty stage (or maybe even the bathroom) of CBGBs. Or people that prefer Vegemite to real food often protest that the Saints, out of Brisbane, had a record out before the Sex Pistols and almost before the Ramones. In fact, when the guitar player from the Queensland band heard the Ramones for the first time, he said “the Ramones have stolen our sound.” (Heylin, 51)

Well I’ve had enough of this debate and I’ve decided to do everyone a favor and settle it once and for all: WHO CARES? IT DOESN’T MATTER THAT YOU CAN’T FIND THE EXACT STARTING POINT. If you could, it wouldn’t mean as much.  The fact that punk rock was sprouting up all across the world says A LOT.