Punk in Brazil

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The origin of Punk rock and hardcore punk in Brazil was around the end of the 1970s, by the influence of bands like Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Ramones.

The first band to appear were Restos de Nada (stands for remains of nothing) in mid-1978. After, emergy many other bands that formed the scene to the Brazilian punk.

In the first half of the 1980s, a lot of bands appeared in São Paulo, and became important, like Cólera, Olho Seco, Garotos Podres, Lobotomia, Mercenárias (an all woman band), Ratos de Porão. While in São Paulo, bands were closer to raw punk and hardcore, in the nation's capital, Brasília, punk rock bands were closer to new wave: those were bands like Aborto Elétrico, Legião Urbana, Capital Inicial and Plebe Rude.

In São Paulo, in the mid-1980s, violence among the punk gangs caused some bands to change their sound. Bands like Inocentes and Mercenárias took a more post punk direction, while Ratos de Porão and Lobotomia got influences from the thrash metal scene.

In the 1990s, along with the straight edge and riot grrrl cultures, punk and hardcore were reborn, specially in the São Paulo state, with big and influential underground names like No Violence, Safari Hamburguers, Abuso Sonoro, Point of No Return, Dominatrix, Calibre 12, Nitrominds and others. In other parts of Brazil, names like DFC and Raimundos from Brasília, Devotos do Ódio from Recife, Pastel De Miolos, Bosta Rala from Bahia, Mukeka di Rato, Deltree and Dead Fish from Espirito Santo were also big. Different from the 1980s bands, most of these new 1990s bands had their lyrics sung in English.

Late 1970s[edit]

The origins of punk rock in Brazil go back to the late 1970s, as in most other countries mainly under the influence of the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Ramones. However, particularly in São Paulo, more obscure names like Dutch band Speed Twins, as well as earlier protopunk artists such as The MC5, Iggy & The Stooges and The New York Dolls also had a big initial impact.

The Punk emerged from the ideals of the musician Douglas Viscaino, who with the pioneering ideas and unity of young people who fought against the Brazilian military regime formed a band of protest called: Restos de Nada.

The first band appeared around 1978, notably Restos de Nada (meaning remains of nothing). Your musicians already had their punk ideals before 1978. Getting bigger with the passage of the 1970s. Then came AI-5 and N.A.I. (later known as Condutores de Cadáver) in São Paulo, as well as Carne Podre in Curitiba and Aborto Elétrico in Brasília.

Before proper punk groups came along, two relatively famous Glam/Hard Rock bands, Joelho de Porco and Made in Brazil, used elements of the punk aesthetic around 1977/78 and were called punk bands by the media without really playing punk rock music or defining themselves as such. Both bands, however, were important to the pre-punk context of the 1970s that offered few alternatives to the MPB and Progressive Rock artists that dominated the Brazilian music scene at the time. Joelho de Porco's lyrics dealing with São Paulo's urban reality was also influential.

Early 1980s[edit]

In 1979, Fábio Sampaio, who would become the singer in Olho Seco, started a record shop in downtown São Paulo and named it Punk Rock Discos. This shop would become the main focus and meeting spot for the scene in the years to come, helping unite otherwise isolated gangs, bands and individuals from different parts of the city and therefore, creating a proper movement.

Punk Rock Discos also gave the São Paulo scene a distinctively hardcore musical identity through the records and tapes distributed at the shop. By 1980/81, Sampaio had found international connections and ways to bring records from England through unorthodox methods and have them available shortly after they were released abroad.

However, since most punks couldn't afford imported vinyl, the shop would make mixtapes with what he considered to be the best material and sell the cassettes for cheap. Partially as a reflex of Fabio's personal taste, British bands like Discharge and Disorder as well as Swedish and Finnish hardcore soon became the main reference for São Paulo punks, almost immediately after the records came out in their countries of origin.

Around 1981, punk gigs were already happening often around São Paulo, where there were already dozens of active bands, mostly playing Hardcore Punk and similar styles, most importantly Cólera, Olho Seco and Inocentes. These three bands appeared on the Grito Suburbano compilation LP released in early 1982.

The first punk rock record to come out in Latin America, Grito Suburbano's example was soon followed by the band Lixomania, who put out their own EP in the same year as well as Ratos de Porão, Psykoze and Fogo Cruzado, who took part (with Cólera appearing on vinyl for the second time) in another compilation LP called SUB released roughly one year after Grito Suburbano.

In late 1982, the first big punk festival was organized. Named O Começo do Fim do Mundo ("The Beginning Of The End Of The World") it included most of the more active bands from São Paulo city and the neighboring ABCD Region. A live recording of the show came out on vinyl the following year.

São Paulo also had a thriving post-punk scene in the early 1980s with bands like AgentSS, Mercenárias, Ira!, Voluntários da Pátria, Akira S, Fellini, Smack and others playing often around the city. Despite sharing political and cultural values, the (hardcore) punk and post-punk bands had little else in common at this point, with wide musical and class gaps separating the two scenes. While the self-identified punks were usually teenagers from working class areas who worked as office boys or factory workers, the post-punks were mostly middle class young adults with university educations. Bands from the two scenes rarely, if ever, played together on the same bills. Among other reasons, because very few venues would let hardcore punk bands play.

Meanwhile, the scene in Brasília was also growing. After the first local band Aborto Elétrico began playing gigs in 1980, other groups emerged, such as Blitx 64 and Plebe Rude. However, as the decade went on, most of the Brasília bands drifted towards post-punk and new wave.

Rio de Janeiro also had a productive punk scene in the early 1980s. Started by a gang of skateboarders from the working class Campo Grande district, Rio punk revolved around bands such as Coquetel Molotov, Descarga Suburbana and Eutanásia.

In 1983, inspired by the urgency of the message in the legendary Grito Suburbano album, the very first punk rock band from Porto Alegre was formed, Pupilas Dilatadas. The band stood out for not being entirely influenced by the punk bands of the time and played relatively slow more in tune with bands like PIL or Killing Joke than to hardcore itself. Their sound was an original mix of post-punk, California hardcore and experimental sounds. Also from the same time period, is the band Lixo Urbano. They played traditional punk music inspired by the Sex Pistols and others... These two pioneering punk bands are regarded as the starting seeds of the Punk movement in Porto Alegre.

Mid-late 1980s[edit]

In São Paulo, by 1984 police harassment and violence among punk gangs made shows a virtual impossibility almost killing the São Paulo scene as a whole. As a reaction some bands began changing their sound and seeking refuge in other scenes. Bands like Inocentes, (female band)Mercenárias and 365 (formed by ex-members of Lixomania, Fogo Cruzado, Ratos de Porão and Inocentes) took a post punk direction, while others such as Ratos de Porão and Lobotomia went towards the thrash metal/crossover scenes.

In spite of such casualties, 1985 and 1986 were good years for rock music in Brazil as a whole and this gain was also reflected in the punk scene. Popular and long lasting bands like Garotos Podres, Republika, Lobotomia, Armagedom, Grinders, Virus 27 and others came up around this time, launched by the Ataque Sonoro compilation LP, that also included Rio de Janeiro bands Desordeiros, Spermogramix and Auschwitz.

In the southern region of the country, the city of Porto Alegre had developed a significant scene by the mid-1980s, with locals Replicantes achieving national success, a major record deal and even some FM radio airplay. Another significant band from Porto Alegre during the mid-late 1980s was Atraque, who were influenced more by California hardcore bands than by European punk, an atypical trait in Brazil at that time. The city's first punk band Pupilas Dilatadas remained active during this period, releasing an EP and participating in national compilations during the later part of the decade.

Meanwhile, in the nation's capital, Brasília, bands playing music closer to Post-Punk and new wave but tracing their roots to the early Brasília punk scene started putting out commercially successful records on major labels. The biggest names were Legião Urbana, Capital Inicial and Plebe Rude. The city, however, also had its own hardcore scene with bands such as BSBH and Detrito Federal closely resembling the rawer São Paulo style. In the later part of the decade, however, the punk scene faded from the radar, with fewer and fewer releases due to the economic crisis and hyperinflation. In São Paulo and other parts of the country, gang violence became a problem again, both between rival punk groups and against skinheads, metalheads and other groups. Murders were not uncommon and punk gigs became rare and dangerous.

In spite of the adverse conditions, some bands were able to make their mark and release influential records during the late 1980s, such as Psychic Possessor, Lobotomia, Offensor . At the same time, an underground scene was starting to happen. More influenced by grindcore, British thrashcore and American hardcore than by earlier Brazilian punk, this new underground scene was planting the seeds to the new explosion that would take place in the following decade.

1990s-2000s[edit]

After the violent and relatively unproductive period in the late 1980s and first two years of the 1990s, the punk/hardcore scene gained momentum again in the new decade. Now including popular subgenres such as Pop Punk, Anarchopunk, straight edge and riot grrrl, the new decade was marked by big underground names such as No Violence, Safari Hamburguers, Abuso Sonoro, Execradores Point of No Return, Dominatrix, Calibre 12, Nitrominds and others in São Paulo, as well as DFC and Raimundos from Brasília, Devotos do Ódio from Recife, Bosta Rala from Bahia, Pinheads and Anões de Jardim in Curitiba, Mukeka di Rato and Dead Fish from Espirito Santo, DreadFull and Refer in Belo Horizonte and so on. Unlike the 1980s norm, many 1990s bands sang in English.

Grindcore, noisecore and other related genres were also big, specially in the early 1990s, mainly through the efforts of underground fanzines and tape-trading, with bands like Rot, Under Threat and others achieving some international impact.

After the 1990s rebirth and the creation of a strong and long lasting network of labels, venues and punk rock enthusiasts, the following decade saw the Brazilian Punk and Hardcore scenes become stable and productive as never before. Gang violence, arguably the main problem facing Brazilian punk in the 1980s, diminished to a point where it was almost unnoticeable for years, which allowed larger numbers than ever before to attend shows and participate in the scene.

In the first years of the new millennium, Brazilian thrashcore and related styles became very popular, both in and outside the country, with bands like Discarga, I Shot Cyrus, Infect, Sick Terror and others, touring and having records released in Europe, North America and other parts of the world. It was also marked by a renewed interest in the early days of the scene, with most of the classic bands from the early 1980s reuniting for special gigs and, in some cases, for good.

Notable bands[edit]

1970s and 1980s[edit]

  • Aborto Elétrico - Punk/post punk pioneers from Brasília (1978 - 1982)
  • AI-5 - Very early punk band from São Paulo (1978 - 1979)
  • Armagedom - Punk/hardcore/thrash pioneers (1983 - 1990; active again in the 2000s)
  • Cólera - Classic punk rock/hardcore, one of the pioneers of the genre in Brazil (1979 - still active)
  • Coquetel Molotov - Classic punk rock, the first punk rock band of Rio de Janeiro (1981-1989)
  • Devotos - Hardcore from Recife, formerly known as Devotos do Ódio (1988 - still active)
  • Dose Brutal - Oi! punk rock band (1980 - early 1990s)
  • Garotos Podres - old punk/oi band from São Paulo (1982 - still active)
  • Grinders - First skatepunk/hardcore/thrash band from Brazil (1983 - 1990; active again in the 2000s)
  • Joelho de Porco - Rock with protopunk leanings (1972 - still active)
  • Kaos 64 - hardcore punk (1982 - still active)
  • Lixomania - punk (1979 - 1983; active again in the 2000s)
  • Lobotomia - Hardcore/Crossover Thrash (1983 - 1992; active again in the 2000s)
  • Offensor - punk/hardcore from Belo Horizonte (1986 to mid-1990s, with some activities in 2000s)
  • Olho Seco - hardcore punk/noisecore (1980, inactive as of 2010, but never really broke up)
  • Plebe Rude - 80s post-punk from Brasília (1981 - still active)
  • Ratos de Porão - Brazil's oldest and biggest hardcore/crossover band (1981 - still active)
  • Replicantes - classic punk rock/post-punk From Rio Grande do Sul (1983 - 1995; active again since 2001)
  • Restos de Nada - The first punk band of Brazil (1978 - 1980)
  • The V - a punk/hardcore band formed by girls
  • Virus 27 - Oi! from São Paulo (1982 - still active)

1990s and 2000s[edit]

External links[edit]