Roundhouse Punk Weekender- The Jezebels answer if punk is still alive?
Roundhouse in London is announcing a Punk Weekender from 8-10th of July celebrating the 40 years of subculture. The year 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of punk´s rise at the streets of London when it started out as a subculture but managed to conquer the world.
I had a word with the band The Jezebels who will be punking out the stage at Roundhouse.
What is the difference between punk today and how it was 40 years ago?
I think punk has become more ‘comfortable’ in recent times. It is obviously more accessible as a genre, especially since the pop-punk movement in the mid-late 90’s and early 2000’s. Punk originally spat out political disenfranchisement regardless of the consequences, spoke up and made sure that people listened. Nowadays it’s far more in the mainstream, perhaps because it is not as aggressive as it was.
Although it is still a genre that is mostly dominated by males, punk has been the perfect platform for women to scream their hearts out and say ‘You know what? There is no need for us to cower in the shadows about important issues.’ Since Sister Rosetta started singing about “people fighting one another and think they´re doing swell and all they want is your money and you can go to hell” (which had to be cut out with ‘hold it there sister!’ otherwise it would have been banned), to the present day, punk has provided the perfect opportunity for an empowering discourse. The Riot grrrl scene prompted a massive influx of female bands in the 90s, and before that, Poison Ivy tore everything up in The Cramps. Hopefully the legacy of those musicians from the past 40 or so years will keep on motivating women to get into punk and do something worthwhile rather than be promoted as an advertising tool.
Has the aesthetics of punk changed over time?
Yes I think it has. When we think of the usage and etymology of the word, it has transformed from something deeply offensive and derogatory, into something subversive in its challenging of the status quo. To choose a word so strong in its meaning to describe a particular form of music and attitude, is definitely a strong statement in itself.
In addition to that, the fashion and style that began to become part and parcel of the ‘scene’ openly flaunted the D.I.Y attitude and made it clear that they wanted to be different from the rest of society, different from the drab, polyester-clad masses with their 9-5 jobs and suburban lives. The punk aesthetic is used a lot today, in fashion, graphic design, advertising, etc, and it is instantly recognisable as something trying to define itself as ‘edgy’ or ‘subversive’. I think it’s easy to tell if someone is actually into the music/lifestyle though, as opposed to someone who bought a Clash t-shirt from Primark.
Is punk as a genre popular in today´s music?
I think it’s back underground. Most of the music scenes, particular in Britain have a few years every now and then when it emerges into the mainstream, but as the music industry is so fast paced and finance-lead, it soon disappears again. However the scene is still thriving, and there’s plenty of gigs around. It also helps that there are still true indie labels putting stuff out, as well as bands using the D.I.Y approach to recording and releasing work.
Does Punk Weekender at Roundhouse reflect everything that means to be punk?
From what I’ve seen of the line-up and promotion, I think it is proving to show a good cross-section of different aspects of the Punk genre. In conjunction with the Stand up and Spit poetry show as well as Song writing workshops, Reggae’s influence on the genre and the She-Punks film, I think it’s a great weekend to celebrate almost half a century of the movement. Of course, it’s not being put on in an anarchist squat, is it? Punk, in my opinion has always been favoured by intimate venues which allow absolute interaction and involvement with the audience.
Are there enough punk events to support the scene?
Of course! I’ve lived all over the country and always saw punks going to gigs and that. I’m fairly sure that most towns have a punk club or pub that regularly puts on gigs.
Any advice for punkers out there?
Keep on keepin’ on, and don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don´t miss out on a weekend of punk!
YOUTH MAN | FALSE HEADS | THE ANTISEPTICS | MOLASSES
THEE JEZEBELS | BULLYBONES | MYSTIFIED | THE VAS DEFERENS
DRONES | SCREECH BATS | BIRDSONG
PUNK POETRY with PHILL JUPITUS and LINTON KWESI JOHNSON
PANEL DISCUSSIONS | FILM SCREENING | PUNK SONGWRITING WORKSHOP
RECORD FAIR | ‘ZINE FAIR
8 – 10 July 2016 | Roundhouse, London