Protopunk

Before there was Punk Rock there was Proto Punk or Proto-punk. The genre blossomed between 1963 and 1976 and is pretty much a after the event term to describe a very raw, energetic and frenetic type of Rock where Three Chords and the Truth was the mammo and shares some similarities with Garage Rock. Because of their minimalist and less polished sound many protopunk bands didn't get much mainstream appraisal. Critics called it "amateurish" or "sloppy" and the hippie crowd didn't like this more brutal and sleazier sound. When Punk Rock broke to the mainstream in 1977 some of the rock bands before them were seen in a new light as the missing link between Rock and punk, thus the name protopunk.

Proto-punk is difficult to define and was never a movement like Punk Rock was. However these are some tropes that apply to it:

  • Audience Participation: During concerts the audience is often stirred up into a frenzy or provoked by the band members.
  • Careful with That Axe: Musicians are often very energetic and this leads to a lot of shouting and screaming.
  • Genre Roulette: It shares overlappings with Surf Rock, Garage Rock, Rockabilly, Hard Rock, Pub Rock in terms of sound.
  • Intercourse with You: A main difference with a lot of songs that were appreciated by the "peace & love" crowd of the hippie audience was that the protopunkers were very much about lust.
  • Limited Lyrics Song: The overall sound and attitude are more important than writing insightful lyrics.
  • Protest Song: Some bands were out for anarchy and shocking the establishment.
  • Rated M for Manly: This is one genre where having balls is required.
  • Refuge in Audacity: A lot of proto punk bands were out to create a sense of danger and excitement, with songs about sex, rebellion and destruction. They didn't shy away from dealing with the grimier aspects of society.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: The sound is often pimitive and not very complicated to play.

Examples of protopunk musicians