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A brief history of punk rock

March 04, 2004

Re "Punk Rocks," (Feb. 19): Around 25 years ago, there was a musical movement taking hold in a few key cities around the world known as punk. There were some key people from the South Bay who recognized it and seized it and really made stuff happen. The '80s crew of South Bay kids were there to take it to the next level and knew they were on to something because this music was original and it said something. The fact that no one else liked it made it all the better. It was their own. It was a musical movement completely identifiable with the early American folk music scene that was "do-it-yourself." Record companies wouldn't touch it, so these individualists and artists created their own companies and distribution outlets. You had to search for the music, and when you got it, it was sacred.

This musical scene is over, and will never be re-created. Put on Misfits' "Walk Among Us" and think about what it must have been like listening to it full blast in your car knowing that only you and a handful of others in the whole city of L.A. were listening to it, and you couldn't even buy the record! It was chaos on vinyl, and it sounded like it was recorded in one take.

How can you be a punk individual today when MTV sells us our lifestyle, and we hear songs debut on commercials? Punk rock is now in the mall!

In the article, Fletcher Dragge of Pennywise says it all when he says it's too early to tell if these bands constitute a third wave of South Bay significance. Too early? It's 2004! If Fletcher really liked one South Bay band, we would know it. Jim Lind- berg's classic album list shows the first six albums are 25 years old. The seventh, eighth and ninth average 9 years old. Where's the good current stuff that says legacy?

When you say that the new South Bay music scene is carrying on in the tradition of Black Flag and Pennywise, don't you mean riding the coattails? Where's the link?

Steve Martin

Huntington Beach

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