July 16, 2005

Punk has nothing to do with Jazz, I'm sorry

Okay, this is my soapbox, this is where I let it out. My friend (who very well may be reading this) and I were arguing about whether early hardcore punk was influenced by "jazz". To be specific, my friend said our band shouldn't play Green Day's "American Idiot" because "we're not pop punk". But he said it would be okay for us to play "some jazz". I said that if we cant play Green Day because we're not "pop punk", then we can't play "jazz" because we're not "jazz" either. He said "jazz has a lot to do with the influences of early hardcore musicians". I disagree.

First of all, the word "Jazz" is virtually meaningless. There are countless musicians that have been labeled "Jazz" who sound nothing like each other, so who the hell knows what "Jazz" even is?

Second of all, just because the guys from Bad Brains used to play "jazz" and East Bay Ray of Dead Kennedys played "jazz" doesn't mean that the music they wrote was influenced by "Jazz". Of course you can traise all music back through time all the way to one source, and in the end its all just music, but the fact remains that "Jazz" sounds nothing like "Punk".

Nothing that has ever been called "Jazz" has sounded anything like what has been called "Punk". (I know, there's this little genre called "Jazzpunk", but that proves nothing. You can take any two genres and combine them, that doesn't mean one had any influence on the other.)

"Rock 'n' Roll" was a simplified version of "Jazz", and "Punk Rock" is a fast, sloppy version of "Rock 'n' Roll", but the whole point of "Punk Rock" is to be loud and offensive, and everything thats been labeled "Jazz" has represented the opposite of that. And although both "Jazz" and "Punk Rock" were also meant to be cutting-edge and different, that doesn't mean that "Punk" has a sole connection to "Jazz".

So with all this in mind, if early hardcore musicians we're influenced by "Jazz", which "Jazz" musicians were they specifically influenced by? Who can tell me that? I listen to all kinds of "Jazz", specifically "Bebop", and I play in our school's jazz band and I'm in a hardcore punk band. I find little connection. Just because a bunch of people(including the musicians themselves) say that punk was influenced by jazz, doesn't make it true.

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