Tattoo Boulevard

SID VICIOUS VS DARWIN: THE EVOLUTION OF BRITISH PUNK

In the late seventies,  British punk was at the peak of it’s power and Sid Vicious was it’s reigning prince. He was a maniacal showman who may not have been the most talented musician on the scene, but he was undoubtedly the most charismatic-a buzzsaw blend of energy and chaos that has rarely been matched. His blood splattered concert images have become the stuff of legend, but after a breakup with the Sex Pistols and the suspicious murder of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, he died in 1979 at the age of 21.  His death was a preventable tragedy that seemed to coincide with the decline of punk, and though The Clash was still in their prime(along with The Ramones in the States), the new decade gave way to New Wave(an amalgamation of punk and pop) and Heavy Metal.

Despite punk rock’s heyday in the seventies and its many revivals along the way,  there hasn’t really been a true infusion of new British blood to take over the relay from such grandmasters as the Sex Pistols, The Clash and GBH. Some of the legends still carry on performing  their old material ala the Rolling Stones, but as is often the case, with much less notoriety. So the question begs, are there any current groups that have Sid Vicious slam dancing in his grave?  Well, the sad answer is probably not many.  In fact, only one significant punk album has been released in the past few years and that would be “Grey Britain” by Gallows, which was released in 2008.

Musical genres rarely maintain their popularity for more than a decade, and after the confetti and mosh pits settle, it isn’t long until something else takes over. If Darwin was still alive, he’d likely call it musical evolution.  A new punk band would have its DNA composed of their predecessors’ bits and pieces and relit with a more modern attitude to adapt to a new audience. New offspring are born, and even though it isn’t always called punk rock, it bears many of the same characteristics and even hits the crunk saturated charts. The post-punk revival and indie rock genres which claim to be the children of punk, have gained considerable popularity in the 21st century, with bands like Babyshambles and Libertines (both brainchilds of the notorious Pete Doherty) having been very active in both the media and in live concerts. Aside from them, there is also a thriving underground scene, with bands like the previously mentioned Gallows and The Dauntless Elite. So while Punk rock as we know it isn’t dead, it is lying dormant, hoping to reignite the fire of the late seventies and it’s long absent prince.

Considering Darwin and his laws of evolution, he would probably say that today we should all be better looking, wiser and more advanced in every way, including musically. Of course, that is truly a matter of opinion, and somewhere in the hazy realm of the afterlife, Sid Vicious is listening to The Great Rock n’Roll Swindle and telling Darwin to go *#*# himself .

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Posted in Uncategorized by tattoo on August 17th, 2010 at 1:59 am.

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