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Thursday, April 19, 2007

If You’re Bored Then You’re Boring. Right?

posted by on April 19 at 12:10 PM

Then I must be really boring.

This past Tuesday, this book was released.

socalledpunk.jpg

My So-Called Punk: Green Day, Fall Out Boy, The Distillers, Bad Religion—-How Neo-Punk Stage-Dived into the Mainstream

It’s no secret I’m (admittedly strangely) obsessed with mainstream “neo-punk,” so when a review copy came in the mail, I was sorta stoked to read it (knowing, of course, it could be terrible). I’m only 25 pages in, and not only am I fucking bored out of my skull, but I also grow increasingly more frustrated with the turn of every page.

It begins with a “A Brief History of Punk.” Now, the history of punk is long, and there are tons of different tangents to go on. More notably, the history of punk music is also one of the most notoriously fucked-up, intriguing, and exciting stories in music’s history (in my opinion), but the way Matt Diehl puts it together is confusing, sometimes wrong, and (worst of all) boring.

Example #1: His description of Black Flag.

Black Flag—a later incarnation of which included future alternative rock celebrity Henry Rollins—took the Ramones’ speedy rifferama and transformed it in its own image. Black Flag made punk even faster, more raw, more brutal, more jazzily experimental, resulting in a subgenre known as “hardcore.”

What? Jazzily experimental? No. Hardcore as a subgenre? Also no. Hardcore is not a subgenre of punk, it’s a genre in its own right. Also, why are you writing about it like you’re trying to describe it to my grandmother?

Example #2:

What’s more punk than multicultural bands like Bloc Party and TV on the Radio out-Radioheading Radiohead, making challenging, experimental, yet indelibly soulful rock that follows no plan other than their own desire to be innovative?

Bloc Party and TV on the Radio are out-Radioheading Radiohead therefore they’re more punk!? Out-Radioheading Radiohead? Are you fucking kidding me?

Furthermore, this sentence also baffled me:

…it’s not a coincidence that “crunk” rhymes easily with “punk.”

Uh… it is, actually. Crunk also rhymes with drunk, you see. And the “C” comes from crazy, meaning “crazy drunk.” So yeah, dude, it’s a complete coincidence that crunk rhymes easily with “punk.”

So far in the 25 pages I’ve suffered through, when I’m not on the verge of falling asleep, I’m on the verge of scraping my face off with a copy of God Save the Queen.

I’m going to keep reading, though. Perhaps Diehl will get more in his element when talking about the era of punk I grew up with (the Dookie, Stranger Than Fiction era)? Or maybe the whole thing will continue to be a complete wreck.

If things don’t get better by page 50, I’m gonna burn it.

RSS icon Comments

1

Burning books is sooo punk rock! it's actually punk rawk.

Posted by Ryan | April 19, 2007 12:40 PM
2

I think it was Legs McNeil (70s fanzine NY guy) who once explained the etymology of the word 'punk'- one who gets it up the ass in prison. irch?! glad my days of the 'punk' fashion are gone.

Posted by james | April 19, 2007 1:16 PM
3

I thought punk was something they sell over at Hot Topic in the mall.....

Posted by anal ring toss | April 19, 2007 1:59 PM
4

Actually, I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with locating Hardcore as a sub-genre of Punk. Back in the late '70s and early '80s when this stuff was being made, it was called Hardcore Punk by many people.

Moreover, jazzy and experimental may not describe early Black Flag, but it certainly is a fair description of certain post Rollins Black Flag. Black Flag didn't go out as far as say Greg Ginn's other band, Gone, but I certainly saw Black Flag shows in the mid '80s that completely fit this description.

Clearly, the guy is painting in kind of broad strokes, but that doesn't seem like a ridiculous caricature of Black Flag.

Genre boundaries are always a moving target, and from the get go punk encompassed a pretty broad, heterogeneous, and often internally contradicted aesthetic.

What do the Ramones, Patti Smith, Blondie, Television, and Talking Heads really have in common musically? Not much. But in one way or another they were all identified as punk at one time.

To me, the story of neo-punk in many respects is the story of punk losing that diversity and settling into a pretty clearly defined stylistic archetype centered musically around the Ramones, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Dickies, etc., and lyrically around a take on teen angst that was often more earnest than the somewhat ironically detached take of bands like the Ramones (who in many cases were already in their late 20s when their bands became prominent).

Add in a little bit of hyper-real, steroid infused guitar and drum production from the hard rock realm (thank you grunge) and you've got the pummeling yet melodic sound of neo-punk.

Posted by j-lon | April 19, 2007 3:03 PM
5

What unifies the Ramones, Patti Smith, Blondie, Television, and Talking Heads is that they were part of something that occurred in a specific time & place (same with LA hardcore, or Bay Area 2nd wave punk).

What's maybe more interesting than the permutations of punk throughout the 80s and 90s is the way it exists today when emphasis is on non-spatially-bound interconnectivity (myspace emo) rather than geographically localized scenes (bay area pop punk).

Posted by Eric Grandy | April 19, 2007 3:31 PM
6

Arguing about what is or isn't punk rock is what keeps me young and svelte.

Posted by shinshin | April 19, 2007 4:55 PM
7

After reading this I got to thinking, and after thinking, I got to putting on side B of My War. And if by "jazz" the author meant "absolute shit" then I guess he was right.

The Process of Weeding Out is kinda jazzy though. Apparently Ginn thought this instrumental album had a very strong "anti-cop vibe."

Posted by Horsewash | April 19, 2007 6:15 PM
8

Speaking of jazzy punk stylings...I love the Dead Kennedy's "We've Got A Bigger Problem Now"...the jazzy update of California Uber Alles.

Posted by Sally Struthers Lawnchair | April 19, 2007 7:05 PM
9

I'm thinking of changing the name of my column to "Jazzily Rifferama." What do you guys think?

Posted by Eric Grandy | April 19, 2007 9:15 PM
10

Glad you like my book! (Oh, well--irony doesn't translate well into print...)
No offense, but you're totally wrong re: Black Flag and hardcore... Listen to Greg Ginn's guitar solos: even in their most hardcore moments, his solos are pretty "jazzily experimental." And hardcore IS a subgenre of punk--where the hell do you think it came from? J-lon (and I) are both right on this score.
As for "crunk" and "punk," to see what I mean try reading the sentences following it--about how Li'l Jon grew up as a skate punk, and puts that influence into the aggressive sound of his crunk jams (strange, but all true). You can actually hear it if you, I dunno, listened to the music and knew what you were talking about. As for your grandmother, I hear she is tres "jazzily experimental."
Looking forward to seeing what you think past page 50... if you get there!

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 19, 2007 9:49 PM
11

FROM WIKIPEDIA:
"Gregory Regis Ginn (born June 8, 1954) is a guitarist, songwriter and singer. He is best known for being the leader of and primary songwriter for the punk rock band Black Flag, which he founded and led from 1976 to 1986.
Ginn's guitar sound is distinctive, often recognizable within a few notes. His guitar tone is typically characterized by a lack of highs and a high amount of mids, which creates a muffled sound. Black Flag singer Henry Rollins has repeatedly compared Ginn's playing not to any other guitarists, but to free jazz saxophonists Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy. These may initially appear unlikely comparisons, but a closer examination reveals some similarities: Like both saxophonists, Ginn tends towards highly emotive playing and has a thorough grasp of musical harmony, though often choosing to play notes that are technically "incorrect" but which frequently carry a greater visceral impact than "proper" playing. Ginn is an avid jazz fan, stating he generally prefers music by saxophone or piano players.
One review of Black Flag's Slip It In (1984) notes that Ginn's "playing was becoming increasingly avant-garde and exciting. Rather than simply coughing up one clichéd solo after another, he wandered harmolodically up and down the fretboard as a jazz player like Blood Ulmer would, making the material more interesting than what most Black Flag-influenced bands were playing."

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 19, 2007 10:03 PM
12

Hardcore punk (usually referred to simply as hardcore/hXc) is a subgenre of punk rock which originated in the United States of America in the late 1970s. It emerged as the first wave of punk artists disbanded or moved onto different genres and the left behind artists became more underground and 'hardcore.'[1] The sound is thicker, heavier, and faster than 1970s-style punk rock. It is characterized by short, loud, and passionate songs. It should be noted that hardcore often refers to two very different styles. Hardcore punk, the original usage of hardcore, refers to bands from the early 1980s (and modern day bands of similar style), which has more in common with punk than it does with the modern day music simply referred to as "hardcore" (with the word "punk" notably absent).

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 19, 2007 10:05 PM
13

Yes, hardcore is hardcore punk. And Black Flag was experimental, at times even jazzy. And I don't really care about crunk so, like, hooray for words that rhyme.

But Black Flag were not the first hardcore band. Nobody sounded like Bad Brains before Bad Brains and even Henry Rollins will attest to that.

Posted by Norman | April 19, 2007 10:43 PM
14

this from wiki:
Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life traces hardcore back to three bands: Black Flag, Bad Brains and Minor Threat. He calls Black Flag, formed in Los Angeles in 1976, the music’s "godfathers." Azerrad credits Bad Brains, formed in Washington, D.C. in 1977, with introducing "light speed" tempos. He calls Minor Threat, formed in Washington, D.C. in 1980, the "definitive" hardcore punk band.

this from me:
It's apparent from the dates above that hardcore was a zeitgeist thing--Black Flag may have been first in Azerrad's chronology, but yes, Bad Brains brought the radical tempos we associate with the genre today (the "forbidden beat"). But they were all basically coming up with it at the same time... I think we (well, me and Norman) basically agree.

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 19, 2007 11:21 PM
15

As for "out Radioheding Radiohead," my point is basically that, being musically challenging and experimental may in fact be more "punk" in terms of values than just slavishly following formulaic punk aesthetics.
Punk is more than just a sound, but also an ideology. The most innovative punk bands--i.e., Television, Patti Smith--are often the least stereotypically "punk."

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 19, 2007 11:24 PM
16

From Wiki:
Crunk Rock is the solo debut album by Atlanta based producer Lil Jon.

From Me:
Is it coincidence Lil Jon named his album "Crunk Rock"? Sounds suspiciously like "Punk Rock"--and as Lil Jon is an ex-punk rocker, I'm sure the parallel was intentional. Does Google not work at The Stranger?

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 20, 2007 12:13 AM
17

Arguing about punk rock = boring

If I was willing to read the numerous, verbose, defensive postings then I am sure you'd be vindicated

Posted by zgirl | April 20, 2007 1:06 AM
18

not defensive - just correcting facts

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 20, 2007 1:22 AM
19

#8 Right on!

Posted by elswinger | April 20, 2007 10:08 AM
20

mr. Diehl you obviously have read more than you understand. nice try. did you interview ANYONE for the history chapter(s)? your use of the wiki here sounds like it COUNTS for YOUR understanding/knowledge, so it only inflates how your historical context is transparent and tragic. you've done the kids NO service by misleading them.

Anyways...

@ 11 Ginn's solos were NOT jazz as he didn't really know HOW to play guitar, he's not a cranked up Wes Montgomery cartoon. No one who was THERE in 1984 would have assumed some hopeful connection to Ornette Coleman. To do so NOW is revisionist. Seriously, have you even HEARD Black Flag?

@ 12 Hardcore was NEVER a subgenre as it was the ONLY genre of relevant "punk" by 1980/81, it was an evolution of the revolution. and it was finished, redundant, by 1985.

@14 Bad Brains/Germs birthed hardcore, tho' they didn't play super fast @ first, not until '80-ish (GI came out 12/79, and there were Germs tracks on Yes LA and Tooth And Nail comps from '79).

What is a "forbidden beat"? A '90s HC concept? I've NEVER heard the pace of HC defined as such, another literal idea you gleaned from another's text? And your source, Mr. Azerrad, has it wrong, the definitive HC band should be Negative Approach, or The Fix.

@ 15 music that is more challenging and/or experimental is NOT punk, punk is reactionary AGAINST "challenging" ROCK...in the context of ROCK, challenging music is in fact PROG. Radiohead is a prog band, always were.

@ 16 crunk = punk, well, is just dumb. Crazy Drunk = CRUNK! dig?

Posted by nipper | April 20, 2007 10:29 AM
21

Hey Nipper
1. I WAS there in '84, and anyone can hear the influence of jazz--Coltrane, Dolphy--etc. on Greg Ginn's solos. As he himself proclaims it an influence, what's the problem?
2. Your definition of hardcore is seriously flawed. Of course it's a subgenre of punk. Where else did it come from? The bands you cite are punk bands? I think it is you that is being misleading.
3. Playing fast, while a part of hardcore, is not the only part of the sound. Nor was I claiming it to be the definitive aesthetic aspect. Bad Religion termed the oompah! drum beat that marks much hardcore in the song "The Forbidden Beat." This has been in the punk lexicon for some time.
4. I love Negative Approach (saw them many times, met them the day after they broke up when my band played Detroit), and also love the Fix whose first single I bought when it came out. Being from Chicago, I was exposed early on to the Detroit punk scene, saw L7 early on (not L.A. version...). However, to say they are the definitive hardcore bands is ludicrous. They are important, but hardly the founding fathers of hardcore.
5. Personally, I prefer my punk to challenge, as I do all my music. Are you telling me the Sex Pistols/Ramones did not challenge assumptions about pop music when they debuted? Or that they weren't experimental? Or Television? Black Flag wasn't experimental? Huh? Also, bands that took punk's lead and went farther sonically, like Gang of 4, Joy Division, etc., took the sound beyond limits. This is a very strange idea of what punk is, you have, in my opinion... The "prog" bit you may have got me on, however...
6. It is your right to think my comparison of punk and crunk is stoopid. I was taking poetic license in comparing their rhyme scheme, to compare/contrast their sonic/cultural similarities. To "get crunk" and "act punk" is to act in a loud, obnoxious manner that transcends societal ideas of decorum. This is not lost on one of crunk's innovators, Lil Jon. Crunk offends today much in the same way punk did way back when--if Lil Jon and the Eastside Boys run screaming through the suburbs, people will take notice, but not so if a bunch of Hot Topic mall punks do. So, whatever... Read what I said about it in the book.

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 20, 2007 10:49 AM
22

Right on, Matt.

As for Nipper, you're buggin'. How could you say hardcore is not punk? Here in New York City, we saw the two as parallel — but undebateably connected — lineages. When I saw 7 Seconds open for Circle Jerks in 1986, I did not think: What a diverse show with two different genres!

And hardcore "finished by 1985"? That is the language of someone who didn't understand what the new kids — and many of their mentors — were doing: Hardcore in New York between 1986 and 1989 was some of the most exciting shit ever.

And hey I do love Negative Approach — they are one of the few hardcore bands I still listen to regularly — but you can't exactly look down on Minor Threat. That band, like em or not, changed the way we looked at this music.

Posted by Norman | April 20, 2007 12:20 PM
23

Right on, Matt.

As for Nipper, you're buggin'. How could you say hardcore is not punk? Here in New York City, we saw the two as parallel — but undebateably connected — lineages. When I saw 7 Seconds open for Circle Jerks in 1986, I did not think: What a diverse show with two different genres!

And hardcore "finished by 1985"? That is the language of someone who didn't understand what the new kids — and many of their mentors — were doing: Hardcore in New York between 1986 and 1989 was some of the most exciting shit ever.

And hey I do love Negative Approach — they are one of the few hardcore bands I still listen to regularly — but you can't exactly look down on Minor Threat. That band, like em or not, changed the way we looked at this music.

Posted by Norman | April 20, 2007 12:21 PM
24

Norman,
You are so correct: to say hardcore disappeared in 1985 is just not true. And yes, 1986 - 1989 NYC hardcore was AMAZING! And Minor Threat... Oohhh, chills.

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 20, 2007 12:26 PM
25

why is everybody in here so sure
crunk = 'craaazy drunk'?

no matter what the world's most accurate encyclopedia tells you, it comes from being high & drunk. unironically listen to UGK.

everybody should just sekkle. why not argue about the elements of hiphop while you're at it? the architecture dance class is all full today.

mike watt stole my triple x posse tape

in a jazzily experimental manner

Posted by lar | April 20, 2007 12:35 PM
26

Punk is more than just a sound, but also an ideology. The most innovative punk bands--i.e., Television, Patti Smith--are often the least stereotypically "punk."
-Matt 'whats my deal' Diehl

Hey Matt, after reading that thing above, I was gonna make a joke about you being an 'unkle' or 'grandpa' or something.
Now, however, I am more hung up on that fact that you have the first Fix 7". This is my top want. I will buy your book, and wear it on a fucking goldchain around my neck Flavor Flav stylee for that record. It's my top want. Sell it to me. I was literally shitting and pissing in a diaper when that joint came out, but I am old enough to know that the difference between 'punk' and 'hardcore' is that hardcore dudes have cooler record collections better fitting clothes. Up the punks.
Contact me.

Posted by white cross | April 20, 2007 12:42 PM
27

Disco lasted well into the 80's, but like hardcore in '87, it was finished. Didn't mean it was all bad, it just... wasn't, so much, anymore.

I don't really care to argue the merits of punk outside the context of Rock and Roll. Greg Ginn telling people his solos were influenced by Coltrane... I'm sure he did, but jesus, that's like me telling people my design work is influenced by Picasso (as if I'm even capable), then telling people it's pop art.

Rat Scabies penning a brilliant ode to the Bay City Rollers in '75 is in my head now (brilliant!), and it's enough to make me stop contemplating the origins of punk.

Posted by Dougsf | April 20, 2007 12:50 PM
28

Doug, hardcore was 'finished' in 87? Huh. I was totally unaware of that. What sort of evidence is there indicating this?

Posted by white cross | April 20, 2007 12:55 PM
29

Oh, there was tons of hardcore bands in '87 of course, but in was FINISHED. That's about the age I started going to shows, and it was new and fresh and the greatest thing in my world - but I was a kid. Those are fond memories for me... but in retrospect, it didn't hold any lasting context. DIY ethos I suppose bacame punk's gold standard, which is great, but it isn't always rock and roll, so I can't always give a shit... From here, 20+ years later, that really seems like a weird period of stagnation... it's fun stuff, but I'n not sure it deserves credit for much.

Posted by Dougsf | April 20, 2007 1:25 PM
30

Also, yes, I type like an illiterate person.

Posted by Dougsf | April 20, 2007 1:26 PM
31

so Matt, you were there...then WHY all the wiki if you lived through it? and of course, I am reading the book. okay...

RE: #21 @1 where is the quote and when was it made? and if you heard the "jazz" then you were the ONLY ONE. Everyone else heard it's NOT VAN HALEN/DURAN DURAN, "lets go skate"...and parents heard ugly and awful. Remember? uh...seriously Dolphy?

@ 2 okay, subgenre? Then punk itself is a subgenre of '60s R&B/garage. My point was that HC was an evolution, a specific evolution...most '70s punks, I know, didn't like HC, few if ANY of 'em played it.

@ 3 fast came first, working class/middle class kids couldn't afford STACKS of Marshalls and had little skill @ playing guitar. Matt, you were in a band, you should know that. so fast WAS it...plus sass that middle class (hope) could afford. Short. Loud. Fast.

@ 4 the Fix/NA? they were some of the the hardest of US HC NOT founding groups, definitive is relative to who did it BEST, NOT derivative of who is best known 25 years on. It could be Void? SSD? Crucifix? not Minor Threat.


NYC HC was awful '85 on...it turned into chuggy metal. Once COC crossed over w/Animosity I knew it was over ...and I knew what the new kids were doing, it was getting HUGE, but it had become redundant. There were a few stands outs, but as a rule it all sunk.

Posted by nipper | April 20, 2007 1:52 PM
32

Doug,
We are coming from very different places. You are entitled to your own opinion, but if anything, around that time you speak of 1987, hardcore was revitalized in such a serious way, someone with your lazy attitude would never care/get it anyway, so lets agree to disagree.

Pardon the run on sentence.

Posted by white cross | April 20, 2007 2:22 PM
33

Hey Matt, I like Nadsat Rebel too. I got the Middle of America comp as well as the Code Blue tracks. Is there other stuff?

Contact me about the Vengeance ep.

Posted by white cross | April 20, 2007 2:34 PM
34

Agree to dissagree actually means just that - not "you don't get it and you're lazy because you don't see it my way"... but just the same, agreed.

Posted by Dougsf | April 20, 2007 2:39 PM
35

Back into the fray...
1. Nipper: Yes, I was there - that is why I stated what I did so unequivocally in the first place. I only resorted to Wiki AFTER having stated it so to demonstrate that even the laziest Internet search proves that what I stated is FACT. As for Black Flag/jazz, I am tired of going over this, but you can undoubtedly hear the influence of free jazz in Greg Ginn's guitar solos. You don't need him to tell you that, either. If you've never heard free jazz, however, you may not recognize its influence. I actually got into Ornette Coleman et al because of Greg Ginn; also heads should check for the likes of Borbetomagus... Anyways, this is well, well docuemented, sonically and otherwise. Ask Thurston Moore, Byron Coley, Henry Rollins, any professor of music that specializes in this era of jazz, etc. It is, in fact, not unheard of for rock guitar players to try to incorporate this kind of jazz-influenced harmelodic, willfully atonal playing into their sound when inspired. The Byrds, for example, openly admitted the Coltrane influence on the guitars in "Eight Miles High," and it's pretty apparent from listening to it. In truth, this kind of genre cross-pollination is what made for some of the most exciting music ever made. For example, Gang of Four incorporating James Brown rhythms and Hendrix/Townsend feedback into revolutionary punk aesthetics; three great tastes that go great together!
2. While I agree it would be weird to consider punk as we know it an exact subgenre of '60s punk/psych/garage, the '60s influence is massive on punk and cannot be denied; they are symbiotic--without one, there is not the other. Lenny Kaye wrote the liner notes to NUGGETS, remember, which is how I got into it; and have you heard of this band called the Stooges? Also, by your own example, many '70s bands played hardcore-Germs, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, etc. all started in the '70s, last I checked.
3. Speed in tempo is important in hardcore, yes. Undeniable. But again, tempo is not the whole story of the sound. The best hardcore bands built a variety of tempos/sounds into their thing. Slow and sludgy was used as obvious contrast by many. But yes, hard and fast DOES rule.. But attitude and attack were more indicative of hardcore than easily categorizable formal style.
4. Minor Threat are the Beatles of hardcore, period. In fact, certain artists transcened genre, and Minor Threat is one of them. It's like calling Prince a R&B artist: it's not entirely wrong, but it certainly doesn't do justice to the whole story, either. Great artists are great artists, period. That said, I FUCKING LOVE Crucifix, and even before this melee began, I wrote a blog in praise of Crucifix on the book's myspace page (which you will connect to if you click the link on my name; I will also post my Crucifix paean at the end of this long-ass post. They were definitely one of the most unjustly unsung bands of their time.
5. White Cross, I have sad news for you: my Fix single was destroyed sometime during college. Even then, however, it had been played sooo many times that it was essentially ruined. I had no idea at the time it would be worth, like, $1,000--it was just a record I loved. I destroyed Husker Du's "Eight Miles High" 7" in much the same way; I went through three or four copies! That said, you Flavor Flav/gold chain offer made me laugh uncontrollably; you are a God. Also, buttering me up with Nadsat Rebel praise works EVERY time. In truth, I'm in awe thinking back to the greatness I was exposed to being in Nadsat Rebel: our first show, we opened for Big Black (Albini recorded our demos) and in fact Breaking Circus, a far better band than we ever were, opened for US at that show because they felt the crowd we drew wouldn't appreciate them! Our second show was Husker Du on the Metal Circus tour... I mean, wow; I'm not worthy...
6. I rediscovered Patti Smith's cover of "My Generation" recently, and it totally rules!
7. Here's my Crucifix blog post from MySpace:
Hey old-schoolers (or savvy new-school punkers):
Any of you remember Crucifix? They were an '80s-era super fast-'n-loud band from Berkeley. Radically political in the classic East Bay fashion--their album Dehumanization came out on an offshoot of Crass records!--Crucifix worked a savage Discharge-meets-Rudimentary Peni anarcho street-punk sound (I also liked them because they rocked cool liberty spikes).

Anyways, my fave Crucifix song was "Annihilation," the opening track off Dehumanization (click link above to hear). I didn't realize until recently how influential this track was until I searched for Crucifix on Wikipedia. That's where I read this:

"Samples from the opening track of Dehumanization, 'Annihilation,' was used by Orbital on the song 'Choice' and was recently recorded in 2004 by A Perfect Circle for the Emotive album. Sepultura covered it as well as a bonus track on the album Nation (2001)."

Huh--I always thought Crucifix were my own little personal underground glory. Now that I think about it, though, you can hear Crucifix's influence in bands ranging from Rage Against The Machine to the early Casualties. Anyways, unfortunately the best part of "Annihilation," an a capella spoken-word intro (don't know what a capella means? Google it), is not on this version. Here are the lyrics from the intro.

"From dehumanization, to arms production,
for the benefit of the nation, or its destruction,
Power is power, it's the law of the land:
Those who live for death, would die by their own hands.
Life is no ordeal, if you can come to terms.
Reject the system, which dictates the norm.
From dehumanization, to arms production,
For the benefit of the nation, or its destruction,
It's your choice:
PEACE, or ANNIHILATION!"

Now, THAT is punk!

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 21, 2007 4:05 PM
36

Greg Ginn made it to 99th on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 21, 2007 4:11 PM
37

Right, when I said '70s punks didn't join HC bands or really dig HC, I meant it was generally atypical for first wavers to make the jump, the Weirdos didn't break up and reform as a HC band. And I still don't buy Ginn as a jazz-bo...tho' he should have placed higher than 99th.

oh yeah, I just ran across my Patti Smith 'Generation' 45 this morning...and I'm still reading your book.

PS - white cross, you still owe me a copy of that White Cross CD you promised! Richmond VA HC!!!

Posted by nipper | April 22, 2007 9:42 PM
38

This one-star "reader review" of my book MY SO-CALLED PUNK recently appeared on Amazon.com soon after I joined the responses to this blog, and it appeared suspicious to me:

This is a complete piece of crap., April 23, 2007
Reviewer: Benjamin E. Rupp "B" (Seattle WA) - See all my reviews

"This book showed up at my work....so one boring afternoon I tried to read it. It's completely worthless.

OK I'll be honest, I never got to the real meat of this book, the "new punk" part. I simply couldn't make it through the "Brief History of Punk" that begins this waste of paper. Simply put.... Deihl has absolutely no clue about the true history of punk... no clue at all. His "History" is basically factual error after factual error puncutated by insipid opinion after insipid opinion.... don't buy this book. Buy "Our Band Could Be Your Life", or "England's Dreaming" or anything else for that matter.

Anyway... who really cares about the history of the new generation of manufactured mall punk anyway. There is nothing punk about Jumiez, or Fall Out Boy, the fact that once great punks Bad Religion are lumped into this pile of puke is sad."

Hmmmm.... Apparently in Seattle my book shows up "at work," and everyone that reads MY SO-CALLED PUNK in Seattle can only read the first 25 or so pages, and feels the exact same way about the book! It is amazing that this pattern is so specific to Seattle!

Does anybody out there in Seattle--or elsewhere--think they know who wrote this review? Who is Benjamin E. Rupp? Is this a "real" reader review, people? Or is something else happening here?

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 23, 2007 5:24 PM
39

Ah, so I discovered Benjamin Rupp is real... And a friend of Megan Selings!
VERY classy!
Keep it classy, Seattle!

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 24, 2007 12:46 PM
40

Whoa there, Matt! Check your sources! Benajmin Rupp isn't a friend of mine. I've never heard of him, never met him, don't know who he is. Did you get that off Wiki too?

Posted by Megan Seling | April 24, 2007 1:08 PM
41

He's a "friend" on your myspace page...

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 24, 2007 2:11 PM
42

he's from seattle, he knows all the people/bands you know, he runs a punk rock record label...

Posted by matt diehl | April 24, 2007 2:12 PM
43

and his review mimics yours to a T!

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 24, 2007 2:13 PM
44

Furthermore, I don't mind quoting things off Wiki if they are CORRECT. I was simply demonstrating that the laziest internet search proves them...

Posted by matt diehl | April 24, 2007 2:15 PM
45

Dunno... Maybe he's just a REALLY BIG FAN

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 24, 2007 2:23 PM
46

Wow. Are you accusing me of having some sort of underground anti-Matt movement working throughout the city of Seattle? You wish, dude.

1) He's not my friend on Myspace, nor am I his. Sure you have the right profile?

2) Just because I like punk rock doesn't mean I know everyone in Seattle who runs a punk rock label, and to assume that we know each other based on the fact that we both have some of the same bands on our MySpace profiles is really, really poor judgement on your part.

3) Lastly, because his review mimics mine to a T doesn't mean I had anything to do with him posting it on Amazon. I didn't. I posted my review in a public forum and people can do whatever they want with it from there and I'd have no idea.

Posted by Megan Seling | April 24, 2007 3:31 PM
47

people, bands, timing... just seems real... coincidental...

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 24, 2007 3:53 PM
48

people, bands, timing... just seems real... coincidental...

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 24, 2007 3:54 PM
49

But you are right--I had the wrong profile.
My apologies.

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 24, 2007 4:00 PM
50

But you are right--I had the wrong profile.
My apologies.

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 24, 2007 4:00 PM
51

"In 1987, Fugazi was born Phoenix-like out of the ashes of two legendary D.C. groups: proto "emocore" quartet Rites Of Spring and seminal hardcore act Minor Threat."

MT and RoS didn't collapse into ash and then willfully get together to form a "supergroup." This wasn't underground superstars forming a group like the Cream, "After fired by John Mayall Ian MacKaye jammed with Guy and Brendan ex-Graham Bond Organization, and within minutes they knew they would fuel stylistic change and social awareness in the scene...blah blah blah."

Minor Threat had been split for several years by '87, and MacKaye was the ONLY member of MT to join Fugazi. why, no mention of the mighty (ha) EGG HUNT or (gag) Embrace rising from some ashes...uh, and what about (sorry) Pailhead?

RoS were not "proto" emo, they WERE emo...and there was a jump of a couple years from the Revolution Summer (of '85) to '87. But I'm sure you just forgot to check your demo/live tape box, so you failed to mention the Phoenix in the ashes of post RoS/pre-Fugazi One Last Wish AND Happy Go Licky. Really there were no ashes. Just typical DC evolution, new band members meant new band and often new direction, which meant new name.

You know, I understand you're saying something GREAT turned out from these guys that HAD been in certain bands...but there was a leap there. Your target readership doesn't know how long those months were (w/no internet)...two years during the mid-'80s was a LONG time for boys to grow up (I remember RoS not touring since they were still in high school). and I KNOW it took those two years of playing, recording and listening to OTHER BANDS (and doing all those other growing up things) beyond RoS/MT to become Fugazi.

Posted by nipper | April 25, 2007 10:14 PM
52

Nipper-
You make some good points, certainly. I did compress history a bit here--more in the interest of getting on to the newer punk than anything else. I felt that I had to address this history for readers that didn't know it, but not write a whole book about it, as it had been covered before. It was not easy (not that that's an excuse...). As for "Phoenix-like," well, that's what I remember it feeling like: we were all so excited that Ian MacKaye was finally committing to something substantial finally. Sure, he'd been around, but Fugazi was something else, as we all know. As well, yes, Ian MacKaye was the only Minor Threat member to join Fugazi--but as the lyrical fount/frontman for MT, Ian's power can't be denied. It wasn't the same as, say, Brian Baker starting Dag Nasty. Fugazi was to be Ian's big statement, and we were excited. It's kinda like, yeah, Ron Asheton started Destroy All Monsters, but without Iggy it wasn't the Stooges (the Stooges recent live show was amazing, by the way...).
As for RoS being emo or proto-emo, at the time I recall we were all struggling with what to call this new beast that RoS had created. Emocore was tossed around as a term. I was calling them "proto" more to distinguish RoS from today's emo--RoS is even "proto" in my mind to, say, Jawbreaker. As for Fugazi being a supergroup, back then we didn't know how important RoS was going to prove historically; the big news was that Ian was going to start a new band...
That said, I truly appreciate you filling in those gray areas. And I agree about your "typical DC evolution" point completely; I just didn't feel I had the space to go there... I am glad we have that space here.

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 26, 2007 10:02 AM
53

It is really sad when the author of a book has to take the time to defend his work on the internet.

Posted by HavveK | April 26, 2007 10:47 AM
54

Actually, I don't really mind. I jumped into it voluntarily... I'm passionate about these issues, so I figured I'd make myself as accessible as possible. I'm just glad people are reading/discussing the book at all; I'm interested to see people's reactions. Thing is, everyone has their own version of punk; I guess that's why it's called "MY SO-CALLED PUNK."

Posted by Matt Diehl | April 26, 2007 3:07 PM
55

This book is trash. Purchase something by Don DeLillo instead. I recommend "Libra" or "White Noise."

Posted by Erik Rubadeau | April 27, 2007 12:31 AM
56

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Posted by provestra | April 30, 2007 11:39 AM
57

I wrote the review on amazon. I work for a totally different media outlet here in seattle than Megan, hence me picking up the book at work. I wrote my owe review, I hadn't even read any of this until after I posted my review. I met Megan Seling once, I don't know her and I'm not a personally friend of hers. I didn't like the book, although I didn't finish it, (which happens often when I don't like a book). The stranger, Megan Seling or anyone else for that matter had nothing to do with my review.

Bad reviews happen, getting this confrontational and bent out of shape about them is a complete waste of time and insane.

Ben

Posted by Ben Rupp | May 3, 2007 1:25 AM
58

Punk died with the creation of the word.

Posted by jason | May 4, 2007 10:40 AM

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