When Punk Was Real and Dangerous

Inspired by a discussion about early punk rock, here’s a slice of early ’80s hardcore, back from the days when punk was learn, mean and dangerous, not turned into Broadway musicals and half-assed cinematic masturbations.

Trigger warning for the lyrics – they are NOT pretty. Ironically, Tipper Gore felt that the song was “pornographic” because it depicts a real-life string of rapes committed by LAPD cops. How anyone could mistake this song as approval of that atrocity is anyone’s guess… but then, an understanding of irony (even the white-hot kind that early punk specialized in providing) is not exactly the strong suit of people in power.

As I said in that discussion, think of early punk as The Onion with an attitude, or as Stephen Colbert with a moshpit. (Hell, even the moshpits were ironic demonstrations of consensual force from folks who were often the victims of violence.) Back before you could log on and catch memes that exposed corruption through an ironic lends, you could go to a punk club or put some Plasmatics or Killing Joke on the turntable and see your insane world reflected back through a cracked funhouse mirror that made you wanna dance in an epileptic rage.

This goes out to Steve Bunche, Inky Grrl, Marc Campbell, Monica Richards, Dave Brockie, Storm Constantine, and everyone else who remembers when punk was a revolution, not a marketing demographic. (*)

* – Yes, I know – it was a marketing demographic even then. Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood brought the Bowery look to London in 1975… and fucking Westwood is even a Dame of the English Crown these days. Still, to those of us in the pits, it still MATTERED. We fucking meant it; even when we realized it was being sold to us, punk rock still felt real. And thus, as Jello Biafra’s fate at the hands of the LAPD, SFPD and PMRC proved, it WAS socially dangerous back then.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *