Wednesday, June 10, 2015

U.S. Punk

Minor Threat (in front of a Gerhard Riebicke photo)
oil on canvas paper, 12" x 16", 2015
As a punk rock fan you'd expect more American bands on these pages. In theory American punk (hardcore as it's called) would be the greatest rock and roll music ever, yet I never listened much to it, and when I do, I don't care much for it. Unlike black metal and some of the more naive British punk bands, the American ones act (in my opinion) in the right spirit of non-conformist, socially conscious, and anti-establishment way. Bands like Black Flag, Fugazi, Dead Kennedys, so important in the history of punk, are, as it is with so many genres, dominated by white middle class young adults. They're missing from the top 100 history (the two most successful punk bands within that history are Bad Brains and Bikini Kill, both of whom do not fit the characterization). The 1990s was a decade in which hardcore split-up in many sub-genres, fusions often between 'heavy' styles. The 2006 CD Threat: Music that Inspired the Movie, chronicles bands that would fit in a genre called metalcore. It features some of the most important punk bands within this genre: Agnostic Front, Vision of Disorder, Bleeding Through, and a bunch of others. The film (that inspired the music) is about the friendship between a hardcore and a hip-hop fan. The music on the disc are remixes (from the world of hip-hop deejaying) of hardcore songs. Usually in products like this the parts are better than the whole, but in the case of Threat it's the other way around, and for me it's the most exciting fusion CD out there. I don't care about many of the bands that are on it (in their own right), and worse, the individual deejays I can't even listen to. Within this context then I present then the first portrait of cult/punk hero Ian MacKaye (second from the right) as singer in the band Minor Threat.

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