The precursors

As I said before there are bands considered punk, precursors to punk and/or readily accepted by punk fans. Be it David Bowie, New York Dolls, Velvet Underground, Blondie, The Ramones, Death or The Stooges. But the problem may be that they look so different from the expected punk stereotype that it can be easy to ignore them.

(Let’s not forget the black presence in punk rock, be it Jean Beauvoir working for/with the Ramones at some point, Death being an all black punk band or X-Ray Spex being fronted by a black woman.)

But since these bands were there since punk’s early days and perhaps earlier still if you count glam rock, underground rock, surf rock and the like that it seems punk rock wasn’t that codified yet so you have a variety of looks and characters back then.

Are they even punk?

That’s not to say the likes of Blondie, X-Ray Spex, The Adverts, New York Dolls, The Ramones, The Stooges and Death are any less punk but that they seem far-removed from the expected punk stereotypes. (To be fair, those bands were part of the first wave of punk so in a sense punk has yet to be codified.) Most of them are pretty normal looking by punk standards with New York Dolls being a glam rock band like David Bowie.

Odder still’s that The Clash’s Mick Jones and The Ramones’s Joey both admit to being influenced by him and Sid Vicious was even seen with Bowie’s mullet at some point. (Joey was even part of a glam band before.) They do have the sound and sensibility but since these were all punk bands before punk got even codified and calcified so the true punk sensibility hadn’t matured yet.

But to the point of being somewhat overlooked (Death wasn’t a commercial success and neither were the Ramones in the US until recently). Even David Bowie does seem to be overlooked, even though he arguably brought spiky hair to the fore which became a staple of punk. It also helps that Malcolm McLaren managed the New York Dolls before the Sex Pistols.

And Paul Simonon himself doubled for Bowie that glam rock should deserve to be recognised as a kind of ur-punk (attitude and fashion wise).

All those other punks

I’ve come to the conclusion that even if Velvet Underground, Death, Jayne County, The Stooges, New York Dolls and David Bowie all influenced punk rock to varying degrees The Ramones get credit for being not only that recognisable (though you could make a good argument for the Ziggy Stardust character being the prototype for almost any spiky-haired punker) but almost commercially successful compared to Death and Jayne County.

Jayne County, if I’m not mistaken, is a transgender musician who wore very shocking outfits and might possibly be ahead of their time. In that transgender celebrities weren’t that openly supported, acknowledged and considered until recently. David Bowie was certainly a genderbender but he was also a married man with a son at the time. Death, likewise was one of the earliest all-black punk bands.

But if the stereotype of black bands at the time were rhythm and blues pop bands (especially the Jackson Five and the like), despite Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry and 1973 Hanson being a thing (the latter is a British rock band), Death were also too left-field to be readily accepted by the public. (There are also African rock bands and guitarists but still too niche to be accepted.)

It could be that my uncle was something of a fanboy. Even if you point out there were other punk bands before The Ramones (Iggy Pop and the Stooges shouldn’t be forgotten), he seemed to like The Ramones a lot to seemingly ignore the others. I also think The Ramones were pretty commercial compared to Death and Jayne County.

That’s still saying in that whilst The Ramones did have less wholesome moments, they seem more approachable to the public when you think about it.

Joey was a punk rocker

As for The Ramones, some people have stated there were other musicians and bands that predated them. Be it Death, The Stooges (and thus Iggy Pop), The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, New York Dolls, Joey Ramones’s early band Sniper, Wayne/Jayne County and the Backstreet Boys/Electric Chairs and even David Bowie at some point (let’s not forget that he and Mick Jones have admitted his influence and oddly enough Paul Simonon doubled for him before).

That’s not to say some of those bands lacked any influence or mention. Like I said, some of the Ramones and the Clash were influenced by David Bowie and Malcolm McLaren managed both the New York Dolls and the Sex Pistols. It seems parsimonious to say that The Ramones was possibly the most recognisable proto-punk band. (I’d say David Bowie and the Spiders from Mars were commercially successful in their own right.)

There was a proto-punk band called The Punks and Blondie could also be considered proto-punk, but The Ramones were eventually recognised as such. For some reason, especially commercial reasons at that (Death and Jayne Country were probably too left-field to be readily embraced by the mainstream). I think that’s the easiest one.

Post-anime is post-punk

If you want to know how inevitable post-anime could be, look no further than post-punk’s history. Post-punk practically came after punk rock and adapts punk rock to much wider influences. Especially now that punk rock ceased to exist in its current form at that time. Public Image Limited came after Sex Pistols, The Cure went from a straightforward punk band to one of the most accessible Goth bands to date and even The Clash dabbled in reggae soon after.

Especially once the 1980s dawned. Logically and parsimoniously, punk rock is directly based on glam rock in the sense of marrying trashy sounds to equally ironic trashy fashion sense. (Malcolm McLaren managed the New York Dolls before moving onto the Sex Pistols, Mick Jones admitted to being influenced by David Bowie and Sid Vicious modelled his hair after his.) Maybe not always nor consistently the case.

If I’m not mistaken, there were already mangaka influenced by western movies and comics before I was born let alone come to recognise these franchises. What post-anime would do’s to take in Western influences as substitutes/replacements after anime died. Pretty much what post-punk musicians did.

Dressing and dissing

I suspect whoever qualifies as a poseur is up to anybody’s guess but something that those really into music (especially the obscure ones) would know. I actually got called a poseur once for trying to get into punk rock and I even had my uncle seemingly defend me (which helps as he’s the right age to get into early punk rock like The Adverts with their song ‘Look into Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’).

Almost as if some of the more normal looking people are one of those really into such truly edgy music like Wayne/Jayne County and the Backstreet Boys/Electric Chairs (I’m not making this up, there’s a glam punk called that before) and New York Dolls. Admittedly I can’t remember what he actually said but it’s more in the lines of being an early adopter of sorts dissing newbies.

Conversely speaking, given YouTuber Kaya Lily sometimes not considered Goth despite dressing like it might it be parsimonious that normal people who listen to Top 40 but make their own clothes be closer to the platonic Goth or Punk ideal of making clothes by yourself. There are normal-looking people who listen to some Goth music.

Especially the more accessible 80s variety. They may not be that involved in the Goth scene much but that’s the funny thing about some people who listen to niche music a lot. They don’t look anything remarkable but do know that the likes of Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Velvet Underground, Death and X-Ray Spex exist.

Not necessarily a matter of bad taste but I get the impression that some of my relatives were early adopters of sorts. Thus giving them a big advantage over youngsters whose idea of punk is that of Rancid.

The very early days

Like I said many times over, punk rock’s the direct evolution of glam rock in terms of aesthetic and sensibility. It’s even that obvious in some musicians and bands. Punkers like Blondie, X-Ray Spex and Jayne/Wayne County seemed very glam rock in comparison to let’s say The Offspring. Conversely speaking, New York Dolls and David Bowie were punk rock enough to spawn punk rock proper.

Given that these came from the 1970s, so the similarities are to be expected. Which’s why they seem strange and confound popular notions of punk rock, at least fashion sense wise. Comes to think of it, though still not always the case today some of the earlier punk bands like the Adverts, X-Ray Spex and The Ramones don’t seem too punk rock looking by today’s standards (and arguably still don’t) despite influencing the sound and fashion sense.

Makes sense as punk style just wasn’t so extreme back then. I could be cherry-picking. But I feel as if some of the earlier punk bands and later glam bands were very much at home with each other enough to be considered one and the same. Or at least where you can see the influences coming like David Bowie’s impact on the Clash.