In 1977, I discovered Elvis Costello, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, Blondie, Talking Heads, the Ramones and Devo. I cut my hair and started buying all my closes at the Salvation Army. Me and four friends, formed what we called a band and made a lot of racket in our drummer’s garage. We were punks.
I think by 1978, there were eight punks in my high school.
Everybody else thought we were idiots. I heard all the time how our music sucked. The guitarists couldn’t play, the singers couldn’t sing and the songs were stupid.
In 1990, my class had it’s ten year reunion. The music the DJ played was not the music of my class. It wasn’t the Bee Gees and Journey and ELO. It was Costello, the Clash, the Talking Heads, the B52’s and Devo. Everybody danced. Nobody complained.
In the late 1970s, if you picked up a copy of Rolling Stone you were as likely to read a glowing article about the punk revolution as you were to read some grizzled old rocker complaining about how the punks only knew three chords. It wasn’t real music and it would never catch on. It would never be more popular than the Eagles or Jackson Browne.
Of course, about 15 years later, Nirvana would come along and become, for a short time, the biggest band in the world.
In the late 1970s, four lads from Dublin decided they wanted to be in a band. Only one of them, Dave Evans, had ever even played a musical instrument before. The first songs they played were those three-chord rippers of the Ramones. Eventually, of course, all four would all become accomplished musicians and master songwriters. Today, U2 is one of the biggest and greatest bands in history.
The DIY culture of punk transformed popular music and opened the door for countless musicians.
I see the same thing happening with the DIY culture of web video. The old guard doesn’t understand the devil-may-care punks, and the punks are full of bluster and cocky self assurance well beyond their actual abilities.
Meanwhile, videos like this, are among the most popular on the web.