Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Me, I'm Just A Lawnmower

It's been prog week on BBC4. And once again that old chestnut about punk killing prog was mentioned. Rubbish on the streets, blah blah blah.

Let's get this straight once and for all. Punk did not kill prog.

In 1980, a full four years after this so-called murder, our white, upper working class/lower middle class boys' school was still a hotbed of prog. The sixth-form centre music centre was awash with the stuff.

So why didn't we all join the revolution?

Because there was no revolution! Listen to Phil Collins interviewed on the prog documentary...

"Allo. Sid Snot 'ere. D'you know wot really gets up my 'ooter? Wot really gets up my 'ooter is when all these so called cultural commentatahs go on and on abaht 'ow punk rock killed prog rock. It's all a flippin' lie, I tell ya!"

Well, what Phil actually said was that he was once at an airport and Rat Scabies came up to him. Rather than spit in Phil's face, Mr Scabies shook the Genesis drummer by the hand and told him how much he admired him. Isn't that a turn up for the books?

Then Chris Martin's uncle Ian Anderson told us how Johnny Rotten used to slag off Jethro Tull when the Pistols were around, then later admitted Aqualung was one of his favourite albums.

So there you go. Punk did not kill prog.

But did it kill socialism?



  1. Didn't John Rotten express an admiration for Captain Beefheart, Neil Young and Van der Graaf Generator?

    That man has good taste.

  2. Chris Martin's Uncle was actually a chartered accountant.

    Genesis sound very posh on the Prog Britannia programme so a cheery cockney drummer taking over must have been a trial form them.

  3. Whatever happened to album cover artist Roger Dean?

  4. No, Geoff, it didn't. If you think that, then you think punk died when McLaren told you it did.

    Full rant when I'm sober.

    word ver: bless

  5. I just went off on a huge virtual goose chase to discover which came first, a) Denis Healey going cap-in-hand to the IMF, heralding the end of British parliamentary socialism, or b) The Damned releasing 'New Rose' and I got distracted by the news that Ron Asheton died, and was just about to shut down the computer when I realised this comment box was still open, two hours later.

    And I still didn't work it out.

  6. Perhaps the lads at your white, upper working class/lower middle class boys' school had a long attention span.
    That's the decisive factor.

  7. I dunno, but I reckon butter adverts have killed punk.

  8. Billy - He did and he has. It was amazing he found decent music to listen to in the 70s as John Peel said that when punk arrived Peel realised that a lot of what he had been listening to was shit. I wouldn't like to say that Lydon had infinitely better music taste than Peel but I will.

    Murph - Public schoolboys. Just like Strummer, MacGowan, etc. Peel, another public schoolboy, was very scathing about grammar school boys and their love of prog in the other documentary that was on. Those uppity grammar school boys!

    Malc - If punk killed prog then someone really ought to explain Marillion.

    Tim - Nick Lowe's to blame, then. RIP Ron.

    Kaz - Maybe. We learnt all the words but had no idea what they were about. We learnt all the bass lines but couldn't play the bass. Isn't that great?

    Rol - I'm waiting for Jimmy Pursey's Anchor ad.

  9. punk killed my hair I can tell you that - that blue dye was bloody murder.

  10. ...but at least we still have Kylie, so no worries then...

  11. MJ - Sorry I missed you: Manflu. Roger has lovely white hair and is still very proud of his "landscapes" which apparently were what the future was going to look like.

    Ziggi - Blue dye? Were you Toyah?

    Scarlet - La la la. La la la la la etc.

  12. Prog is like the antithesis of Punk...there is a time and place for all sorts of music, except Country of course, but these ridiculous apples and oranges comparisons are ludicrous.

    Wow, what would I have done without Fripp, Eno, Genesis, Yes and Floyd back in the early 70s? What better way to take a trip and never leave the room. Prog WAS my revolution..it expanded the boundaries and explored the edge of the envelope? Conceptualized music, pontificational instrumental journeys, light years ahead of the norm.

    Punk is fine when you're hammered, jobless and angry at the world, but it was all attitude and no aptitude.....except for the Ramones, they could actually play, but to even speak of punk killing prog is POPpycock.

    Let the great unwashed flail about below in their mosh pits whilst I gaze up at the stars from my lofty Ivory Tower...and fly away

  13. I thought the best bit of the Prog night was the ELP doc = Spinal Tap, or what??

    They missed out or skimmed over my favourite prog stuff - Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt. Also, Mike Oldfield's guitar playing is under-rated; he's a really expressive player, imho...

    Happy New Year Geoffster!


    p.s. I picked up a Warren Zevon LP over the holiday period; something about dance classes. Sounds good - co-written track with The Boss on it 'Jeannie needs a shooter...


  14. Donn - Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Wire, Buzzcocks, all produced brilliant albums so were albums bands in the same way that the prog bands were. It was not some year zero revolution: the bands stole from a lot of different 60s and 70s music. It was the punk fashions that were revolutionary, with their different trousers and hair.

    Bob - I'm now interested in getting some Caravan but not particularly any Egg. Soft Machine were great in the early years but then got all bloody jazzy. And they hardly mentioned Gong! That Zevon album should be on its way to me in the next couple of weeks. Happy new year!

  15. Rick Wakeman and Carl Palmer usually complain about punk killing off prog. Looked like Wakeman has had too many biriyanis and I'd like to see Palmer / Collins and Scabies in a drum duel, I'd pay top dollar to see that...then again, maybe not.

    They should've had a program on foreign prog / krautrock as well. I saw Focus a few years back and they (as Peel might've reported) blew my mind. They supported Camel or Caravan, who were utter shite.

  16. Focus were my first love. I liked Peel's impression of a posh twat, very similar to his early djing.

    Tangerine Dream, Can, Faust, etc. Get someone who can speak German to interview them. Kevin Keegan?

  17. Lovely soft Robert Wyatt who never fails to induce me to spontaneous tears when he sings. I had forgotten what a humungous ego Carl Palmer had/still has. Never liked Yes, still love the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, laughed at Genesis, think Robert Fripp is a genius, Soft Machine were fab....but I still segued into punk without any hesitation whatsoever.

  18. Ah, but you were young. We Yes heads were set in our ways.

    Blown, blown, my mind is blown.

  19. "Then Chris Martin's uncle Ian Anderson told us how Johnny Rotten used to slag off Jethro Tull when the Pistols were around, then later admitted Aqualung was one of his favourite albums." - yeah, I was pretty sure it was VDGG and Peter Hammill that Lydon really liked (along with Can), not Tull - wonder if Anderson just rewrote history...lol...?

    Egg are ace, tho. Always liked Egg. Mont Campbell's a dude. So's Arthur Brown.

  20. There must be some skeletons in Lydon's closet. I know he liked Suede. I was very sad that Egg never got any groupies. I might get their greatest hits if I see it going cheap.