Posted tagged ‘labels’

The History of Punk, Class #5


The Edmonton Free School
Saturday 9 June 2:00PM
Location: Humanities 1-14, The University of Alberta
All-Ages, All-Welcome

“Folk = Punk”

Traditionally, folk and punk music were kept separate in the literary discourse. Instead of bringing to light any similarities, the differences between the two genres have been highlighted. This seminar turns away from this historical framework. Instead, we will examine a shared sound of protest, and a mutual attitude that spans across genres.  

Folk expert Dr. Michael MacDonald will be joining us for the class, which will again be in picnic form. If you can, please bring some food to share!


Fashion is a Passion, pp. 15-16
I, Shithead, pp. 177-181
Tyler Butler – Folk vs. Punk vs. Punk
Lyndsay Hobbs – The Evolution of Punk
The Many Sides to Nowhere: Blurring the lines between music and art 


Woody Guthrie – “This Land is Your Land”
The Clash – “Know Your Rights”
Billy Bragg – “Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards”
 Joe Keithley – “Playlist for the Planet”
Tom Morello – “This Land is Your Land”
Billy Bragg & Wilco – “All You Fascists” 

Here Comes the Sun, part II


You know, you’re right to say that Sam Phillips sure recorded a lot of good black and white artists down in Memphis in the 1950s.

The Fantastic Four

BUT – how the heck did he do it? What happened to musicians having to go to major music industry centres like Los Angeles or New York to get a start on their recording careers? For example, didn’t Ray Charles have to leave Seattle in just 1950 for California to get going on what would eventually culminate in Jamie Foxx getting famous and Kayne West shamelessly ripping him off?

The thing of it was, there were big changes to recording technology following World War II. And when an innovator like Sam Phillips came along to seize on untapped talent that was the Memphis region’s musicians, well, the rest is history.


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).