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(Excerpt from Lick Me)

Chapter 17

The Punk

A fresh breeze seemed to be blowing in the music world in the late seventies. A lot of new bands, besides us, were coming up, all with a similar stripped-down garagey sound and urban image. But instead of feeling like we were in competition with each other, it felt -- to me anyway -- like we were all taking part in one big giant piece of theater together. It was a movement or an uprising of sorts, by which we got to rebel against something -- namely disco and over-produced rock. OK, we weren't battling segregation or protesting the war in Vietnam, but we had something we could stand for nonetheless. Creem Magazine had christened this new wave of raw, bare-bones music 'punk rock' when the Ramones first came on the scene in 1974. And by '76 the name and the style had definitely caught on. There was even a magazine called, simply, Punk.

We New Yorkers embraced the whole idea of punk as the latest rock and roll pose, with a wink and a nod to our little rebellion. Jimi LaLumia, a writer, record retailer, and loyal fan of mine, even launched a 'Death to Disco' button- and bumper-sticker campaign, adding humor, credence and a slogan to the movement. But in the UK, where punk was exploding, it was doing so with a real class-struggle message and a heavy political bent. Of course, the fact that they were taking it so seriously over there, created a huge sense of intrigue among those of us who had always revered and romanticized the land of Mersey-beat and Carnaby Street. And most New York bands I knew yearned to go over and play there, mine included.

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