Billy Idol on Violence in Punk, and the true meaning of "Anarchy".

30 posts / 0 new
Last post
Standfield's picture
Standfield
Offline
Joined: 13-04-11
Jan 30 2012 01:22
Billy Idol on Violence in Punk, and the true meaning of "Anarchy".

I'm not really a punk fan myself, but I just came across this short clip of an interview with Billy Idol, and I just thought it was quite sweet really. smile

I'm sure someone out there could fill me in on how Anarchism came to be associated with punk, or vice-versa? Was it a real concern amongst punks of the Sex Pistols - Clash era? Is it still now? Or was it merely a fashionable tag to be associated with at the time? Or none of the above?

Arbeiten's picture
Arbeiten
Offline
Joined: 28-01-11
Jan 30 2012 01:55

fucking shit. Sex Pistols the start of anarchy? no? Sham 69 are shit? no? Is Billy Idol shit? YES

Standfield's picture
Standfield
Offline
Joined: 13-04-11
Jan 30 2012 01:56

Then tell me more please smile

Yeah, I'm not a fan of Billy Idol either. QOTSA's version of White Wedding is fucking cool though.

Standfield's picture
Standfield
Offline
Joined: 13-04-11
Jan 30 2012 02:02

And in his defence, I don't think he cites Sex Pistol's as the beginning of punk, just uses them as an example of the ethos. And Sham 69 WERE violent, or at least their gigs were from what I remember my mum saying (she was big into Ska back then). He doesn't say they were shit though.

Arbeiten's picture
Arbeiten
Offline
Joined: 28-01-11
Jan 30 2012 02:27

tell you more about what? As for gigs being violent, thats fine. gigs from across the board can be violent. Didnt some people die once at a pearl jam gig. Doesnt have much bearing on a political position

Standfield's picture
Standfield
Offline
Joined: 13-04-11
Jan 30 2012 03:04

About my original question. How did Anarchism become so synonymous with Punk? In my reading up about the Situationists, I learnt that Malcom McClaren was heavily into them, and some off there ideas inspired him. But is that where Anarchism in punk started to come about?

No question about violence, or implying that punk gigs are potentially any more violent then other genres of music. I've been to a few gigs in my life so I'm not completely unaware of violence in music.

no.25's picture
no.25
Offline
Joined: 14-01-12
Jan 30 2012 06:28

I've read something similar, but clearly the Sex Pistols aren't to be taken seriously, even if they brought 'anarchy' a lot of publicity. One could argue that they may have caused more harm, at least amongst older generations who weren't familiar with anarchism. Maybe it just had something to do with punks feeling that there was something inherently wrong with society, they did emerge out of the hippie era. Crass was probably the first punk band to step up to the plate of anarchism, class analysis and all, and from what I know, I think either Steve Ignorant or Penny Rimbaud were Clash fans. I could be wrong on anarchism in punk, I don't really get into biographical stuff.

And yeah, your avatar makes me laugh.

bastarx
Offline
Joined: 9-03-06
Jan 30 2012 07:49
Arbeiten wrote:
tell you more about what? As for gigs being violent, thats fine. gigs from across the board can be violent. Didnt some people die once at a pearl jam gig. Doesnt have much bearing on a political position

9 people died while Pearl Jam played at the Roskilde fesitval in Denmark in 2000, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_Jam#Binaural_and_the_Roskilde_tragedy:_2000.E2.80.932001

But it wasn't violence as such but a crowd crush.

Railyon's picture
Railyon
Offline
Joined: 4-11-11
Jan 30 2012 08:54
Standfield wrote:
Yeah, I'm not a fan of Billy Idol either. QOTSA's version of White Wedding is fucking cool though.

Ugh... White Wedding... There's a band in the rehearsal room next to ours that plays White Wedding on 11 and they suck so bad. I'll never look at the song the same way...

Entdinglichung's picture
Entdinglichung
Offline
Joined: 2-07-08
Jan 30 2012 09:48
flaneur's picture
flaneur
Offline
Joined: 25-02-09
Jan 30 2012 15:38

The violence at Sham 69 shows was due to oi in general having a football firm and neo Nazi following. I think the anarchism link came from the mood of the times, following the 60s and the age of hippies though as a result it was a load of pish. That said, a year after the Pistols came the Dead Kennedys.

The shame about Billy Idol is that no one hurt him.

LaForce's picture
LaForce
Offline
Joined: 3-02-12
Feb 3 2012 05:28

The Sex Pistols weren't a punk band. They were a band that capitalised on the punk sound and aesthetic. Punk music is anarchistic in nature at its root. Punk music was born out of the diy philosophy that naturally springs from anarchist politics within the context of a capitalist society. You didn't need music lessons, or permission to play. You just improvise not just in what and how you play but also when and where you play (not necessarily improvised like free jazz, and many people have learnt musical theory and practice who make punk music, but for many they taught themselves with begged, borrowed, and stolen instruments and organised their own gigs in parks alleys houses etc outside the traditional network of socially acceptible and capitalist performance spaces).

Real punk music is self (or community) funded political music that still has a very global and non-violent following and output today. Crass as mentioned by no.25 were a good example of one of the first and most loved of these (Steve Ignorant came and played at an anarchist art coop in Sydney, Australia last year - it was awesome).

Like with many people of all different artistic or academic persuasion, many who start out being anarchists, and not seperating their art from their politics often go on to sacrifice some of their politics for artistic or academic success. Can any of the so called anarchist theoretical heroes honestly be said to have never compromised? Hahaha.

Punk like Hip Hop and many other artistic forms beyond music has a traditionally anarchist root (whether people openly labelled their politics as anarchist or not). There is a lot of real dedicated and organised anarchist who are also committed punks.

flaneur's picture
flaneur
Offline
Joined: 25-02-09
Feb 3 2012 11:00

Oh dear.

PartyBucket's picture
PartyBucket
Offline
Joined: 23-03-08
Feb 3 2012 11:17

Generation X got much better when they got shot of Billy Idol, changed their name to Empire and invented emo.

All those Washington DC bands that get the credit for it were just ripping off the first Empire LP.

Lumpen's picture
Lumpen
Offline
Joined: 11-02-08
Feb 3 2012 12:38
LaForce wrote:
There is a lot of real dedicated and organised anarchist who are also committed lifestylists.

See what I did there?

A friend who was squatting in London in the 1970s ran into Billy Idol at the squat. He was there to do an interview with someone who was making a punk fanzine. Bless his socks.

And this song is pretty rad.

Choccy's picture
Choccy
Offline
Joined: 9-12-04
Feb 3 2012 17:58
Lumpen wrote:
And this song is pretty rad.

fuckin aye

I did 'white wedding' at my ex's birthday karaoke once, was fuckin brilliant at it, probably better than Billy Idol

LaForce's picture
LaForce
Offline
Joined: 3-02-12
Feb 4 2012 12:24
Lumpen wrote:
LaForce wrote:
There is a lot of real dedicated and organised anarchist who are also committed lifestylists.

See what I did there?

Oh I see all right. Murray Bookchin would be proud of you haha.

Standfield's picture
Standfield
Offline
Joined: 13-04-11
Feb 9 2012 00:30
LaForce wrote:
The Sex Pistols weren't a punk band. They were a band that capitalised on the punk sound and aesthetic. Punk music is anarchistic in nature at its root. Punk music was born out of the diy philosophy that naturally springs from anarchist politics within the context of a capitalist society. You didn't need music lessons, or permission to play. You just improvise not just in what and how you play but also when and where you play (not necessarily improvised like free jazz, and many people have learnt musical theory and practice who make punk music, but for many they taught themselves with begged, borrowed, and stolen instruments and organised their own gigs in parks alleys houses etc outside the traditional network of socially acceptible and capitalist performance spaces).

Real punk music is self (or community) funded political music that still has a very global and non-violent following and output today. Crass as mentioned by no.25 were a good example of one of the first and most loved of these (Steve Ignorant came and played at an anarchist art coop in Sydney, Australia last year - it was awesome).

Like with many people of all different artistic or academic persuasion, many who start out being anarchists, and not seperating their art from their politics often go on to sacrifice some of their politics for artistic or academic success. Can any of the so called anarchist theoretical heroes honestly be said to have never compromised? Hahaha.

Punk like Hip Hop and many other artistic forms beyond music has a traditionally anarchist root (whether people openly labelled their politics as anarchist or not). There is a lot of real dedicated and organised anarchist who are also committed punks.

I see where you're coming from, and I agree with a lot that you're saying, but I don't think there's anything particularly "un-anarchist" about getting an education in the arts, be it painting, sculpture, whatever. I'm a self-taught painter, but I wouldn't give up what I've learnt about painting for anything. Also, using your theory, you could say that Outsider Art is anarchist, as it's largely self-taught individuals, who are victimised, and pushed out of society for whatever reason (usually mental health issues, or imprisonment). But a lot of their work is filled with hate-filled Baptist bile, or other equivalents. This definitely isn't very "anarchist" is it?

I'm with you in that I think that true art is essentially anarchist, but not in the way you describe it. I'm too knackered to explain what I mean now, but I wouldn't mind talking about it.

Standfield's picture
Standfield
Offline
Joined: 13-04-11
Feb 9 2012 00:33
Choccy wrote:

I did 'white wedding' at my ex's birthday karaoke once, was fuckin brilliant at it, probably better than Billy Idol

Quality version:

Tart's picture
Tart
Offline
Joined: 3-04-08
Feb 16 2012 17:37

Billy was a lovely little punk posing down the roundhouse* in 76- never grudged him his popstar days- he was always a little slapper,
As for violence at gigs- I worked at a Boney M show in 75 that had a massive brawl and a stabbing . Big fights at many gigs in them days. Even saw a man battered at a Barclay James Harvest gig ( I wanted to batter BJH myself). Big fight at Glasgow Apollo last Clash gig when the punks decided to do the bouncers. . Most violence at a punk gig I witnessed was when the SPG attacked the crowd leaving the Roxy- punks head butted police batons,
Queen played my home town in74 and all rock bands were banned from the venue 'cos of the disorder- shocking!
Sham were a joke band that went for a image then shat themselves when thousands of fourteen year olds turned up thinking it was a good thing to have fights- JP was in tears when he could not control the situation.
Anarchy was an idea that interested punks who were interested in ideas- most weren't
*to quote The Television Personalities

Croy's picture
Croy
Offline
Joined: 26-05-11
Feb 18 2012 13:59
LaForce wrote:
Punk like Hip Hop and many other artistic forms beyond music has a traditionally anarchist root (whether people openly labelled their politics as anarchist or not).

I uld not go as far as to say that Hip Hop has a traditionally anarchist root. I think it started as a genuinely politically conscious or even class conscious movement as a reaction to poverty and police violence amongst other things but its a big jump from a bit left wing to traditionall anarchist.

Bob Savage's picture
Bob Savage
Offline
Joined: 15-01-07
Feb 18 2012 21:01

God I remember when I used to listen to punk and hardcore back in the day, those sort of punk as a moral movement posts seemed pretty normal. I only now realise just how nuts it all is.

Hip-hop has absolutely nothing to do with anarchism. I wouldn't even go as far as to say it even started remotely political in nature. Yeah, it was a reaction to poverty and gangs, but that doesn't make it political. Hip-hop is simply one-upmanship. Over a drum loop. Whether it's graffiti or spitting bars, hip-hop is fundamentally about bragging. And it's been that way since the djs first started looping breaks. It's not anarchist, it's sport.

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Feb 19 2012 00:16

God Crass had horrible politics and sounded even worse.

'malatesta'
Offline
Joined: 29-11-11
Feb 19 2012 11:26

it as after hearing sex pistols anarchy in the uk that i first declared myself an anarchist. mclaren was into SI but it was jamie reid who really used their aesthetics and humour in his art work. crass were worthy but their music was shit and they were so bloody serious. it was class war that put the fun back into anarchism. there was violence at crass conway hall gig when what became Red Action turned over the BM skins there who were attacknig punters. crass very publicly slagged them off for that. nice! if you want to read about gig violence read stinky turners book which tells you less about music and more about how many fights they had. sham broke up cos of BM violence. it was a serious time. as for generation x, their 45rpm My Generation was the 3rd single i ever bought, the 1st 2 were gary gilmores eyes and god save the queen. all in picture bags as they were called and worth a mint now. oh well, back off to the old anarcho-punx home!

'malatesta'
Offline
Joined: 29-11-11
Feb 19 2012 11:58

jamie reid:
http://www.jamiereid.org/
situationist inspired 'detournment' etc!

Croy's picture
Croy
Offline
Joined: 26-05-11
Feb 19 2012 13:24

Bob Savage, you clearly dont listen to much hip hop apart from what is often called it in the mainstream, and you clearly dont know anything about it in general. Im sure many here will share my disagreement with your claims.

'malatesta'
Offline
Joined: 29-11-11
Feb 19 2012 14:24

any reccomendations? i stopped listening after NWA broke up!

Bob Savage's picture
Bob Savage
Offline
Joined: 15-01-07
Feb 20 2012 13:10
the croydonian anarchist wrote:
Bob Savage, you clearly dont listen to much hip hop apart from what is often called it in the mainstream, and you clearly dont know anything about it in general. Im sure many here will share my disagreement with your claims.

Actually hip-hop's pretty much all I listen to, and I haven't listened to anything 'mainstream' since the 90s.

I know all about Afrika Bambaataa and the Zulu Nation, I know how pan-african sentiment was high in the early years of hip-hop, and I understand all the social activism that was prevelant at the time too. This still doesn't make hip-hop political. Hip-hop IS about one-upmanship, whether it's from rappers and djs battling or from graffiti writers lining out other peoples names and claiming themselves 'king' - this is the ROOTS of hip-hop, and it is not left-wing (i mean, yeah it came from poverty and is a working class form of music, but that doesnt make it political. if it does you could just as easily argue that bawdy workingmans songs are political).

Read 'Cant Stop Wont Stop' by Jeff Chang and watch the films 'Scratch' and 'Wild Style'.

"dont know anything about it" my arse.

Croy's picture
Croy
Offline
Joined: 26-05-11
Feb 20 2012 13:40

I have seen Wild Style

'malatesta'
Offline
Joined: 29-11-11
Feb 20 2012 15:01

anyone remember dee dee ramone's attempt at being 'a rapper?' crivvens!

Topic locked