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Punk Music and 1980s Punk Bands

Here I’m supposed to write a couple hundred words or so on the keyword “punk music.” I’m no authority on punk music. I dug it in the 1980s, but by the time 1990 rolled around I was into a lot of other esoteric shit. But for some reason, I can’t keep my eyes off everything Griel Marcus and Jon Savage write, even though they mainly focus on the British punk scene of ’77 – which had all sorts of political underpinnings, including mass unemployment, garbage strikes, and the National Front joining Enoch Powell to inveigh against Arab and West Indian immigrant. I’m not into it so much anymore, but it never fails to hook my attention – just this weekend, I hounded over to West Chelsea to check out the old ’zines and XXX collage in Linda Sterling and Jon Savage’s exhibit The Secret Public at Boo-Hooray.

Today “punk music” doesn’t just denote hardcore. It’s more an all-encompassing term for funny hair, shock rock and just about anything outlandish that kids outside the metal and hip-hop scenes were into. Seamus, the antihero of 85A, is legitimately hard core, though. His playlist includes Bad Brains, GBH, DK, Millions of Dead Cops, 7 Seconds and then staples like New York Dolls, Sex Pistols, Circle Jerks, Clash, along with crossover stuff like Bauhaus, Joy Division and PiL, which he says is his favorite band mostly because “you get to hear Rotten’s smart side” in it. 

Find out more about the punk music scene in the 1980s by picking up a copy of 85A today.