Why New York Is More Punk Than L.A.

Categories: Cro-Mags

jimmy.jpg
Photo: Ken Salerno
Jimmy G of Murphy's Law
Anyone with a half way decent record collection and half working brain knows New York City is the birthplace of punk. And I'm not trying to start beef here; I'm just trying to lay down some truth.

This week our sister paper the L.A. Weekly ran a wrongheaded article, "Why L.A. Is More Punk Than New York," that somehow managed to exalt Jim Morrison of the Doors while throwing shade at the New York Dolls. We know. We couldn't believe it either.

Because, it doesn't matter whether or not punks from California or Ohio were looking for inspiration from the U.K. rather than the right side of their own country; we all know it all derives from the stank of the Lower East Side, the swagger that comes from the Burrough of Queens and all the various fucked-up miscreants that have dwelled there.

See also: The Oral History of NYC's Metal/Hardcore Crossover

The above mentioned stank is still permeating throughout this city in the here and now with no need for cornball mall punk nostalgia or bleach blonde bullshit. There is an anger and desperation to New York that will always be here to fuel the rage no matter how many baby strollers roll down Avenue A. We are a people fighting for peace of mind and personal space in a city that is offers neither. We are constantly irritated and yet strangely content with this concept at the same time. Plus, don't forget, we have a chip on our shoulder about pretty much everything.

If all that ain't punk, then just call me Wavy Gravy.

You want further proof that things are punker in NYC than on the sun-soaked California coast of L.A. beyond my vitriolic scree? Here's 10 of 'em. Read 'em and weep.

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Photo: Ken Salerno
1) CBGB

The birth place of punk; plain and simple. The dilapidated stage of that sadly defunct club housed everyone from intellectual guitar weavers Television, the brute art damage of Lydia Lunch and the beyond hostile sounds of Agnostic Front. I remember a pal of mine landing on a rusty nail sticking up out from the dance floor when he wasn't caught stage diving. When's the last time you heard of that happening on the Warped tour?

See also: 10 Things the CBGB Movie Got Wrong

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Photo: Ken Salerno
Agnostic Front
2) NYHC
I won't deny that American Hardcore came from the suburbs of Southern California via The Germs, Black Flag, The Adolescents and many, many others. But, New York took that sound and vibe and made it what people know today. Ask the average jerk on the street if they've heard of Agent Orange or the Circle Jerks and you'll more than likely get a raised eyebrow and hasty walk off. But if you mention Agnostic Front, Biohazard or Sick of it All, they'll definitely give a nod of acknowledgement.

See also: The Top 20 New York Hardcore and Metal Albums of All Time

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3) LOU REED
Lou was a self-made man with no time to flaunt his list of library books like some self-centered, self-proclaimed Rock 'N' Roll poets from California (ahem, Jim Morrison). He never tried to be anything other than what he was: a total genius freak.

See also: Lou Reed 1942 - 2013



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77 comments
mitchthomas35
mitchthomas35

The foundations of the Sex Pistols began in 1972.

Anna Jones
Anna Jones

Haha - love this pre-engineered corporate feud!

mitchthomas35
mitchthomas35

It all goes back to 78-79. First there was the punk movement, like from England, you know the Pistols and all that shit. The color dyed hair. They came over to NY. and established their own little thing on Eighth Street. From there it was the punk scene in New York City.

Joe Clarke
Joe Clarke

The actual punk answer is, "go fuck yourself, LA."

Lisa Cliff
Lisa Cliff

Iggy, fools. The Godfather of Punk.

Lance R. Fletcher
Lance R. Fletcher

Anarchy in Silicon Valley! T shirt to your six figure job! :p

Joshua Teixeira
Joshua Teixeira

nobody that understands music or culture would assert that la is more punk than nyc

Paul Felix
Paul Felix

la is shallow,, theirs nothing punk about los angeles. why do u think the riots took place their after the rodney king thing happened and not in nyc. cos new york is the true grind, poor, rich, black , chinese everyone is planting their fucking flag. los angeles is also full of cheapos

William Boyd
William Boyd

Except for the Ramones and one or two others, none of the NYC punks could hold a candle to a band like X.

sknyjohn
sknyjohn

Big ups to the writer for including Denise Mercedes, gtr player for the Stimulators in this piece. Also worth noting in that photo is the young man on the left side of the photo reaching out to touch her guitar was her then-*13-yr.-old nephew* & Stimulators' drummer *Harley Flanagan* Yes, that's right, you heard right, the same Harley Flanagan who went on to sing with the Cro-Mags.

Ted Cantu
Ted Cantu

Detroit actually beat all you guys to the plate

Paul Maloney
Paul Maloney

All a little bit late after the advent of British Punk

Dan Schell
Dan Schell

Love those Orange County punks, raging against the trust fund.

Freddie DeJesus
Freddie DeJesus

LA is more trendy, Hipster punk IMO. Which doesn't make most of those posers very Punk at all

Lauren Kelly
Lauren Kelly

is the response "LOL" bc that would suffice

The Rugged Male
The Rugged Male

Venice has (sadly) become a bunch of hipsters with carpe diem tattoos, caridgan sweaters, french bulldogs and any drink that was mentioned in Esquire.. Truly sad. London is (still) more punk than both :)

Daniel Funes
Daniel Funes

Take a walk on LES then take a walk on Venice and tell me who's more punk NOW.

Heather Joy
Heather Joy

Who actually thinks LA is punk though?

Jim Van Matre
Jim Van Matre

Well duh. NY has always been more punk than LA. But we are more METAL \,,/

Bri Christian
Bri Christian

DILLON FRANCIS Fans: He will be in Brooklyn on August 9th at MCU Park for the Mad Decent Block Party. Your not going to want to miss this amazing show! Check out "When We Were Young" right now http://smarturl.it/DFspotifyplaylist

TWrecks
TWrecks

I grew up in the Bay Area punk scene...  Lynette the female guitarist from Skankin' Pickle used to babysit my childhood friend.  I got my eyebrow split open from an elbow @ a No Use For a name homecoming concert and had Tony's mom try and drunkenly stop the bleeding using the rest of her cocktail dumped into a paper napkin (rofl!).  After kicking around at a Berkeley Square concert my friend and I wandered got dragged over to an empty house, with no furniture, an empty keg in the middle of the room, and Green Day playing a house concert...


There's many more stories but the point is


Op Ivy / Rancid / No Use / Skankin' Pickle / Green Day / Fat Wreck Chords


Bay Area / Berkeley punk scene was an amazing place for punk.

Todd Dwyer
Todd Dwyer

There, there, LA and NY. Don't fight. You're both a couple of twat wannabees good only at piggybacking off of movements that started somewhere else.

KingoftheJerks
KingoftheJerks

Why can't I shake the image of two cranky senior citizens arguing over something that hasn't been relevant for 30 years? Somewhere along the line old punks became the new old hippies.

Nicholas Koluncich
Nicholas Koluncich

The PC feminist shout out to female bands proves that nyc, and the village voice for that matter, are less punk than la or the weekly

Christopher Carambot
Christopher Carambot

while i love a lot of LA punk bands we have thee punk band. one word RAMONES!

John Cavanaugh
John Cavanaugh

This article is just as stupid as the LA Weekly drivel I read last week. Good to see f'n cunt hipsters have taken over both papers

Jay Howard
Jay Howard

MC5 and The Stooges started it all.

sknyjohn
sknyjohn

Wrong, Mitch. Ramones predate the Pistols, CBGB opened in 1973, Ramones invented punk rock @ CBGB in mid 70s.

sknyjohn
sknyjohn

Death, the MC5, & the Stooges all predate the Ramones, but those Michigan bands were *proto* punk rock. The Ramones invented punk rock in Queens (where they were from) & the Lower East Side (where they played their 1st gigs.

sknyjohn
sknyjohn

The Ramones predate brit punk rock because they invented punk rock.

sknyjohn
sknyjohn

What movement that started somewhere else is NYC piggybacking off of? Not punk rock. Punk rock was invented in NYC by the Ramones, period.

sknyjohn
sknyjohn

& war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, etc.

sknyjohn
sknyjohn

Death, MC5, and The Stooges were precursors. The Ramones invented punk rock.

mitchthomas35
mitchthomas35

Ramones played gigs in 1974 in NY. But there was no real scene till  a few years later. The foundations of the Sex Pistols goes back as far as 1972.

mitchthomas35
mitchthomas35

@sknyjohn What? No it didn't Punk started in England in 78 with groups like the Sex Pistols. Then they came over to NY. and established their own thing on Eight Street. That was how the Punk Scene got started in New York City.

sknyjohn
sknyjohn

@mitchthomas35 The Ramones WERE the scene because THEY invented it, & they predated the Pistols.

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