Starting last year and especial during the next few, there will be loads of 40 year anniversaries for punk.  For this reason it seems like a good time to go semi-public with my NYC punk origins story.  Close to an hour has been edited using uncleared material – known as a proof-of-concept. Far that reason, I can’t share the work in progress.  However I’ve immersed myself in the subject for over ten years and will share here some things here I’ve learned along the way.

My story ends in 1976, just as the better known UK flavor of punk takes off.  The Punk Before Punk mission is to deliver greater detail and is not just another introduction.  The film concentrates on the Mercer Art Center, the launch pad for the New York Dolls.  The CBGB’s scene rose from its ashes and while different, the next wave defined itself both as an extension of the Mercer and backlash against it.

The other defining influence was the willful campaign by rock writers like Lester Bangs, Greg Shaw and many other co-conspirators who hatched a plot to up-end the early 70s rock status quo and take it back to something more primitive and visceral. It worked – but maybe not exactly as they envisioned it.

Hat’s off to two fairly recent  books that lay this out in great detail.

“Between Montmartre and the Mudd Club” by Bernard Gendron.

“Bomp!: Saving the World One Record at a Time” by Suzy Shaw & Mick Farren.

Though it has little to do with rock writers, for good measure I’ll mention “Marquee Moon” by Bryan Waterman. This book well describes the downtown, bohemian context that gave rise to punk. It was about as much a product of this world as it was of rock n’ roll

Paul Dougherty
pkrock at postlit.com

my other blogs & YouTube pages


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