December 21, 2005

Senior Research Paper: The Politics of Punk & DIY

The following is another excerpt from my senior research paper titled "Another State of Mind". NOTE: I took out the internal citation, which makes this material plagarized.

Now, why is punk rock not just music? One reason is the politics of punk. Many post-punk and hardcore bands of the early eighties were prone to writing political lyrics; some are even called "political bands". The most notable political band is Dead Kennedys, whose frontman, Jello Biafra, once ran for mayor of San Fransisco (Biafra Even one of the forefather bands, MC5, was politically involved; they played at the famous Democratic National Convention of 1968 (Vineyard Also, Joey Ramone (of the Ramones), rallied for Jerry Brown's campaign for governor of California ( "Two rock and roll documentaries"). Anarchy is commonly associated with punk rock too, which began with the Sex Pistols, with their classic, "Anarchy in the UK", along with many other anti-establishment songs.

The true state of mind that most punk bands had was the concept of D.I.Y: Do It Yourself. Post-punk and hardcore bands were having hard times getting noticed in the music industry (probably because punks are generally looked down upon in society to begin with), so many of them formed their own record labels to release their recorded music. The Dead Kennedys formed Alternative Tentacles (Erlewine 246), Black Flag formed SST (Evans 81), Minor Threat formed Dischord (Erlewine 615), and the Subhumans formed Bluurg (Wikipedia "Subhumans"); these bands recorded, produced, and distributed their own albums, because they knew that no one else was going to do it for them. Labels like those are called "indie", short for "independent".

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