Proto-Punk. A personal insight.
Music writers and critics started to label bands that pre-dated the punk rock boom in 1976 as proto-punk. The term defines pretty much itself, so every non-conventional raw rock’n’roll rebellious and abrasive acts – All were put in the same sub-genre way, of definining those who “inspired” and were the percusors of mid to late 70’s punk bands all over the world. In all fairness, there was no way of giving a name to such bands, because punk had not been invented as a description, until that period in time. After that, critics had their way cut out- if it pre-dated punk rock, let’s call it proto-punk. To perpetuate and narrow it to something to a “time” thing seems dismissive. I do agree that bands such as Los Saicos, The Sonics and even The Velvet Underground, can be fairly used in that timetable, for their wild-energetic and ahead of their time music and posture.
But there is a gap because not all can be packaged in time. Proto-Punk is also a particular way of sound and attitude. Abbrasive-loud-thought provoking-controversial and untamed. It’s as tricky to say where and when it started, as it is to say it ended in the Seventies. After the Sex Pistols took England by storm and The Ramones in the United States, most bands followed their sound, style and attitude, does that make thousands of bands, predecessors of punk? Absolutely not! Proto-Punk have it’s own place in Rock music just like Punk Rock itself. Kim Fowley, Iggy And The Stooges, Crushed Butler, New York Dolls, Imperial Dogs, Destroy All Monsters, Defnics, The Punks, Death, Pink Fairies, MC5, Flamin’Groovies, Third World War and so many others, created a unique genre of rawness and outrageous Punk even before there was Punk per-say. Just like Punk music itself, it also had a wide variety of mixed influences in many bands. In proto-punk, you find psychedelia, minimalism, glam, hard rock, fuzz..and pretty more will follow. You just have to look for it or as Iggy said: Look Out!
Pedro Pardal | União Sónica do Algarve