Posted tagged ‘angst’

The History of Punk, Class #9

2012/07/12

Saturday 14 July 1:30PM
Location: Humanities 1-14,
The University of Alberta All-Ages, All-Welcome

Money for Nothing and the Chicks for Free: Diet-Grunge and Punk-Lite

After punk broke into the mainstream via Seattle, the city reversed a trend that had held true since Ray Charles left the region for a record deal in Los Angeles: instead of leaving, bands started coming to the Pacific Northwest to further their music careers. Rather than trying to sound like the latest hair metal band, imitators were latching on to the sonic characteristics of punk bands…and wearing lots of flannel.

This week we will trace the legacy of punk since 1991, and the bands that cashed in on the angsty grievances of a generation. Not all the musicians that became successful were doing it just to get on MTV though, so we’ll examine milieu participants that stuck to their ideals, and the punk attitude, as they navigated their way from community hall shows to Top 40 rotation. The hardest part, of course, will be telling the difference between authentic punks and the marketable pretenders. So we’d better bring food to share, be prepared to sit outside and the sun, and let the debate begin.

Readings:
This is Not For You: The Rise and Fall of Music Milieux in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, 1950s -1990s, pp. 167-180.
That Tom-Tom Club bought all the Wack Slacks, Fuzz, Plats and Kickers!
In Defense of Nickelback or: How I learned to stop worrying about having credibility

Playlist:
The Offspring -“Jennifer Lost the War” live on public access 1988
The Offspring – “Days Go By”
Green Day – “Disappearing Boy”
Green Day – “When I come Around”
Rancid “The War’s End”
NOFX – “Bob”
Bad Religion – “Stranger than Fiction”
Pennywise – “Fight Till You Die”
Good Charlotte – “The River”Avril Lavigne – “Sk8er Boi”
Simple Plan – “I’m Just a Kid”

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Here we are now. Entertain us: The politics of boredom

2011/03/15

Late 1991. A couple kids from an affluent family gets picked up by their parents from soccer practice and are chaffered to their safe suburban home. While the youths are waiting for dinner to be ready, they turn on MTV. But instead of MC Hammer dancing around in really baggy pants denying them even the chance to touch…this…they see something different but at the same time familiar: kids that are waiting for something to happen. Kids that are disaffected and bored. Kids just like them. And then there’s a guy with a guitar on the screen, not wearing Hammer pants or dressed like Gene Simmons or Vince Neil or even Axl Rose.  Hold on  a second – he’s just like them. And he’s screaming out the words, “here we are now, entertain us.”

It seemed like in an instant, these kids finally had a soundtrack for how they felt about their lives.

The beginning riff in the Nirvana video for their song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was the exact moment that the politics of boredom hit the mainstream. They’d been around in the underground for ages before that though. Let’s go for a listen through history and see what that tells us.

copyright John Mostrom 2003

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