History of Rock and Roll
Punk rock developed in the United States out of the raw and energetic music adored and played by garage bands of the mid-sixties. Many of these garage bands were started by kids in their teens who hardly knew how to play simple chords on a guitar or bang away at drums or cymbals in their own garages. The music was often played at a high volume as well.
The MC5 epitomized this. The MC5 (Motor City Five) was a high school punk band from Lincoln Park, Michigan. They played with a very loud and angry style. Their lyrics, which were refused airplay, were obscene and profane. The right combination of heavy distortion and two guitars enabled them to combine the power of heavy metal with the raw garage band sound.
Many punk songs were reactions to the glitter and glam rock bands of the seventies. The fact that groups were spending months, weeks, or hours in a studio, writing 15- minute songs, and playing elaborate shows with spectacular stage performances in front of thousands of people in large arenas really angered punk bands. Punk songs were generally simple and rather short. The lyrics told the way the
members of the band felt. They played small shows and did not put on any elaborate performances.
The Sex Pistols were the epitome of a punk band. They were discovered in an antifashion clothing store in London called Sex by Malcolm McLaren, the store’s owner. Johnny Rotten, the band’s lead singer, was found while singing along to the jukebox. Sid Vicious, bassist, never learned to play bass. Their sound was exactly what McLaren was looking for. They set the tone for punk music. They sang about living in the slums of London for their whole lives. Their guitar, bass and drums were distorted and the vocals were shouted. Although most of their songs were banned from British television and radio, they were still climbing the charts.
They thought it might be time to come to America. However, instead of playing the usual punk scenes, such as CBGB’s and Maxwell’s, they played bars in suburbs and other trashy...