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.

Kind of different in hindsight

I think I remember a Guardian article where it says that British punk rock bands sounded more like Bay City Rollers than they do with their more extreme sounding American counterparts. That’s a generalisation but it seems the old fashioned punk sound and aesthetic had more in common with its immediately precursor glam rock. Most especially with people like Wayne/Jayne County, New York Dolls and David Bowie being more or less the missing link between glam and punk.

I think I remember somebody else on another website saying that punk’s like a direct evolution of glam rock. If that’s the case, it’s practically what another considered to be a reaction to the hippie’s lazy sleaze. This made sense as some of the earlier punk bands like Blondie, X-Ray Spex and Jayne County seemed very glam in comparison to what others come to expect punk rock as.

Conversely speaking, there are some glam rock bands and musicians that seem very punk rock enough to pass as later punkers. Especially New York Dolls and David Bowie. It seems the stereotypical punk rock look wouldn’t emerge until somewhat later. After all, punk rock scene’s very much an outgrowth of the earlier glam rock scene and fandom. It should make sense that they’d have a lot more in common.

Especially than they do with later hardcore punkers.

1970s punk rock

Whatever constitutes as punk seems debatable to some but I’d say it’s practically the marriage of various underground American rock acts like Death and to some extent Velvet Underground and glam rock like New York Dolls and David Bowie (some of his albums were cited as an influence on the emerging punk sound) with Blondie, Wayne County and the Electric Chairs/Backstreet Boys and The Ramones being early American punk prototypes (in fact, one of the Ramones started out in a glam band).

Considering that Bowie’s cited as an influence on subsequent punk bands, keep in mind The Clash’s Mick Jones and Sex Pistols’s Sid Vicious were both influenced by him and Mick’s colleague Paul Simonon doubled for Bowie proper. Not to mention Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren also managed the New York Dolls so glam’s influence on punk rock’s going to be inevitably this close and strong.

So much so that 70s punk’s the natural evolution of glam rock and the profound glam influence on 70s punk should be enough to distinguish it from subsequent permutations like hardcore punk. If it sounds weird, what David Bowie, New York Dolls, Blondie and Jayne/Wayne County wore seemed tame in comparison were outrageous and trashy enough to inspire subsequent punkers.

Bowie certainly didn’t sport liberty spikes but the spiky hair’s there as with the overall purposely trashy fashion sense (same with Jayne County and New York Dolls). If they seem far-removed from contemporary expectations of punk keep in mind they’re the prototypes of it (hence proto-punk and glam punk).

If punk’s the direct development of glam, both of them are founded on the basis of being purposely trashy hence the over the top fashion going hand in hand with crude rock music. It seems lost in some hardcore bands but it’s much more evident in the early 70s.

Subcultural Sensibilities

It’s not that Goth or furry are necessarily conformist (well same for any subculture really). But the sensibilities can get so oddly specific it’s always lost on outsiders anyways, even to those who do try to understand and there’s a reason why a temporary Goth phase exists. It’s a way to test the waters only to realise your sensibility’s something else altogether.

Within subcultures, there are variations but they’re variations of a unified theme or mindset that’s hard to describe very simply speaking as an outsider. The best I can describe is how the mindset started out as and where it came from. Furry fandom practically started out as an outgrowth of the existing funny animal fandom with profound ties to underground comics.

As in those comics that were intended to go against censorship (Classics Illustrated got away with it not just because they refused to but because they published literary classics so they got away with it). These included Fritz the Cat, Omaha the Cat Dancer and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Elfquest should also be included to some extent).

It can be argued that furry sensibility’s the natural extension and progression of the underground comics sensibility. Logically, Goth’s very much related to punk just as punk’s related to glam rock. In fact, it’s even apparent in the way they dress and sound.

Glam rock is infamous for having rather outlandishly dressed musicians who either had an influence on punkers proper (David Bowie to Sid Vicious, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon in a way) or became punkers themselves (one of the Ramones was in a glam band).

That Malcolm McLaren managed both the New York Dolls and then the Sex Pistols should indicate that glam rock does have a say on the punk and Goth scenes. Maybe not always so but still enough to exert any real lasting influence so.

Rip it up and start anime again

That’s based on the title ‘Rip it Up and Start Again’ which’s about the post-punk scene and post-punk music. It can be argued that it’s not that punk rock didn’t die but rather there were punks ambitious enough to expand and experiment with what else punk can be. These included the earliest generation of Goths in the sense of them being punks who’re very much into campy horror films and/or punks in mourning.

If the punk scene’s very much an extension of glam rock and glam rock fandom (in fact Mick Jones and Sid Vicious were David Bowie fans), then goth’s very much what happens when punkers go into mourning and try to move on with horror films. Sort of explains how and why the Goth scene came to be. One wonders what happens when anime fans go into mourning when anime’s practically gone.

Admittedly, that’s uncertain for now but I suspect a good number of anime fans and professionals looking for something more substantial that some will eventually look to other subcultures and aesthetics like furries for inspiration. But given the furry fandom itself started out as an offshoot of the greater animation and comics fandom as they also revolve around anthropomorphic animals and half-animal people.

Then that would be more of an awkward family reunion. Not to mention that the real big centre of adult animation’s now in the West and to some extent China. I could be underestimating Chinese animation as I think it could replace anime proper should anime die. Though for now, Western animation has a lot of adult-oriented productions enough to justify the possibility of it replacing or surpassing anime.

I guess that’s very much inevitable given what’ll happen if anime’s demise leads to post-anime much like how the original 70s punk scene begat post-punk.

Horror punk

That’s practically what the Goth scene started out as. Punk rock’s built upon glam rock. David Bowie influenced both Sid Vicious and Mick Jones, Paul Simonon doubled for him, one of the Ramones was in a glam band and Malcolm McLaren managed both the Sex Pistols and New York Dolls. Logically the punk scene was an extension of glam rock fandom when you think about it.

It’s that evident in the fashions and sentiment where glam rock seemed to be a critique or satire of excess which punk rock strengthened it and extended it to glorifying anarchy (at least in the UK) and both shared the same fashion sense. The Goth scene followed shortly after punk, looking for new ways to provoke and criticise normal culture.

It’s practically either punk in Western mourning garb (hence post-punk) or horror punk as many of the early Goth bands took inspiration from horror movies. One of the earliest names for it was positive punk. (More in the sense of finding other ways to sing about.) The Goth scene wouldn’t emerge proper until the Batcave’s arrival especially with its overly camp atmosphere that put off some politically minded punks.

The campiness came from liking horror movies a lot, which not only bothered music critics but also the public. (Punk rock, if I’m not mistaken, was considered Satanic in the Philippines.) I’d consider it to be analogous to what became of the furry fandom in which it used to be an offshoot of the greater comics, animal and science fiction fandoms, which revolved around works with animal characters.

Funny how that worked in hindsight and still does for some people.



Reconstructing such things right

Like I said about punk rock clothing, the best way to recreate it right enough’s through its very influences namely glam rock and Vivienne Westwood’s old shop. (It’s parsimonious to assume that David Bowie’s later years is what punk rock style would’ve been like had it matured but alas only he and a few others could pull it off well.) That might even have a good bearing on how some cartoonists have to get punk rock right.

Actually almost any subcultural fashion in general. In fact for a few that do get it right, there are others that don’t (that’s even pointed out by others I think). Though it could also be depending on the point of reference for many. It seems some US comics only started getting punk rock right was in the 1980s especially when it came to hardcore punk ditto Death (one of those black punk rock bands), Wayne/Jayne County (and the Backstreet Boys/Electric Chairs), Blondie and The Ramones who predated those.

(I remember somewhere that punk’s even associated with satanism in the Philippines before.)

I still think some of the best ways to reconstruct punk fashion’s through its very ancestor glam rock.

The ur-punker fashion

I still suspect that whilst some fans downplay punk rock’s other roots (as well as much more obscure bands like Death), let’s not forget others who actually bother to include the likes of David Bowie as one of the influences for punk rock. Not just the sound and attitude but also most especially the fashion sense. Along with Malcolm McLaren managing both the Sex Pistols and New York Dolls (the former having Sid Vicious who’s even a David Bowie fan and the latter for inspiring David Sylvian’s career), David Bowie inspired punk rock.

It even went as far as influencing the Clash in some manner. Mick Jones looked up to one of David Bowie’s colleagues and Paul Simonon doubled for Bowie proper. David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust years can be regarded as a punk prototype in many ways. I mean just look at him, he’s the opposite of the hippies. The entire glam rock movement can be seen as a direct precursor to the punk scene if you see both of them as antithetical to the hippies.

Though the glam rockers shared fashion sense with their funk counterparts (most notably Earth, Wind and Fire), the attitude and sound were directly passed down to punk rock given provocative or weird fashion’s also found in manufactured pop musicians and funk R&B types. Some punk rockers were outrightly glam rock such as Wayne/Jayne County and the Backstreet Boys (eventually renamed to Electric Chairs like a premonition).

I still stand by my opinion that glam and punk rock are closely knit together much moreso than popular opinion would suggest but because they’re antithetical to the hippies in a sense. As longer hair for men went relatively mainstream in the 70s, spikier hair and a more ludicrous fashion sense had to be implemented to shock people. Both glam and punk also have a thing for BDSM clothing and kinkiness.

That David Bowie once wore such an outfit whilst punk rockers happily wore fishnets suggests a very close relationship and influence. Without Bowie and glam rock in general in addition to avant garde underground acts like Death and Velvet Underground, punk would feel empty and devoid when you think about it.