It was 1967 and there was a small club in New York which went by the name CBGB or the Country, Bluegrass and Blues club
wasn't drawing in the crowds it used to. The kinds of bands the club played weren't drawing the bucks and they reluctantly
made one of the best buisness ventures they would ever make; Allowing Rock. It was this club that would give a young
lad named Lou Reed the chance to showcase his skill and re-invent the world of rock 'n' roll forever. The band? The Velvet
Underground. Playing a new kind of music which no one had ever heard before, combining elements of Elvis' Rockabily era and
various other 50s rock bands and adding their own indescribable vibe to create what we now know as Proto Punk.
'Proto Punk' or more specificaly, The Velvet Underground are generally described to have been the biggest influence
of bands who really gave birth to the Punk movement in the 1970s. Yet they also spawned a whole new genre which bands are
still trying to mimick today. Bands such as Iggy and the Stooges were also co-founders of this genre. The charasmatic frontman
Iggy Pop, his guitarist friend Ron Asherton, his brother Scott (drums) and bassist Dave Alexander were
really the initators of the punk culture, yet the word punk wasn't used as a musical/cultural term at the time.
The band were located in Michigan and played many clubs before even gaining any attention. The attention was placed squarly
on frontman Iggy Pop's presence on stage, which scared adults and conservatives alike which made the youth love
him for reasons other than his screachingly powerful voice and angry lyrics.
The contribution Iggy gave to the punk culture isn't only in his music and lyrics, infact, it is moreso his stage theatrics.
The now commonplace movement of stage diving (diving head first on top of the crowd) was invented by Iggy Pop, as was
the hardcore punk (1980s) stage movement of crowd walking (which is simply what it sounds like, walking on the punters
head or hands if they're lucky). Also christened by Pop was the on stage self mutilation theatric (which DeeDee Ramone and
more specificaly G.G. Allin would take to the next level) where Iggy would cut himself to pieces on stage, usually while in
a heroin induced high as to not feel the pain. Smearing himself with blood, rancid meat and peanut butter were also very common
at a Stooges concert and this is why the band had such a distinct following. Iggy Pop fans didn't care about their own safety
and often didn't care about the music; it was the scene, the vibe, the drugs and violence found at the gigs that made the
fans come back for more and more.
The fact that the generation above the youth at the time disliked Iggy Pop (for the reasons his fans loved him) gave
birth to a sense of rebellion amongst the teens, this was only fueled by the Punk Poet Patti Smith. Originaly doing spoken
word and poetry about womens rights, equal opertunity and other socialist issues, she got her big break when a convinced by
a friend to do her poetry to music. Writting simple music, simply to be a carriage for her lyrics, she started performing
at CBGBs where she was an instant success. Her socialist views were not welcomed by the conservative generation who were skeptical
of anything left wing (thanks to the Cold War which was occuring at the time) which made the rebellious youth like her even
more, much a-kin to how Iggy and the Stooges gained notoriety. This also informed the youth at the time about social
issues (as she often performed more serious left wing speeches during her gigs) and coaxed many teens to start bands like
hers with simple music to simply carry the lyrics.
These were three of the most influential Proto-punk bands and each person in the bands can easily be called a 'punk'
these days, yet they were missing something which made Punk what it is today...