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Quora Answer : How is the "punk rock" scene viewed today by music historians?

Jun 29, 2020

I think Brian Mcpherson has it right, though he's perhaps taking punk propaganda a bit too much at its own evaluation.

There's no question that punk "cleared a space" for new waves of popular music, from new wave / post punk itself, to new types of metal, to goth, to industrial / synthpop etc.

I wouldn't say that the prog and heavy rock that came before it was necessarily "unoriginal" or "elitist" or "bloated" (whatever that last word really means).

Obviously some rock was cliched or over-thought , but the good prog rock was a hell of a lot more inventive and imaginative musically than most of the punk. And there were very radical anti-elitists on the fringes of the prog scene.

But ... the mainstream pre-punk music had fallen into certain conventions. Both musically, and organizationally.

The most important part of punk was less the bands themselves than the new wave of indie record labels and zines springing up as part of the DIY ethos.

It's really this ecosystem of labels and studios and zines and record shops that enabled all the new experimental musics to appear.

Now arguably, that was as much a function of cheaper and more abundant recording technologies as it was about the music. And perhaps even if the sound of punk hadn't happened, then a DIY ethos could have come from a completely different musical scene. (And perhaps even was coming from those scenes ... it's just that punk was grabbing all the attention)

Nevertheless, punk did make a big thing of saying that self-expression was more important than technique. And that obviously gave courage to many people to try to make their own music, and who went on to do it wonderfully.

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