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A Blank Generation

July 9, 2013

I first saw the mural of Joe Strummer during my senior year of high school in search of a bar that would serve some friends and I without carding us.  Almost exactly five years later, I moved back into the East Village and found it entirely by accident, around the corner from my new place.  This was just up the block from Odessa, the bar where Henry Rollins was asked to join Black Flag.  And perhaps most importantly, I was no more than a few blocks from where Richard Hell (of Television, Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers, and Richard Hell & The Voidoids) had been living for the past thirty-plus years.  You could say that punk found me.

This is worth noting mainly because I’d spent the six months prior to the move digging into the historical roots of punk, hardcore, and 80’s indie rock.  It started after reading Our Band Could Be Your Life a few months back, and following that up with Richard Hell’s  autobiographical I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp.   As this process has progressed, it began to feel like I was on a quest to find the very source of punk rock, if there even could be such a thing.

In my explorations, I’ve realized that understanding the  environmental or political context in which a band like Television, The Ramones, or The Sex Pistols formed had  more to do with what made them  punk than anything else.  This is something that was explored pretty well in this BBC piece about the origins of punk.  It understandably skews a little British, but I think it does a great job of establishing the backdrop and laying out the story of an exciting time in musical history.  Check it out below.  If you find yourself looking to delve deeper into the music of these bands, their inspirations and the bands that continued their legacy, check out this Spotify playlist I’ve put together. 

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