Garage punk

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Garage punk is a rock subgenre that combines core influences of 1960s garage rock[2] and early 1970s proto-punk[3] with later punk rock and other forms.[2] It is often viewed by its creators as an up-to-date continuation of 1960s garage rock.[2] The earliest attested use of the term was in the early 1970s to describe 1960s garage rock bands,[4] and is often used by commentators and enthusiasts of 1960s garage rock to refer to music of that era,[5] and in some cases by subsequent garage rock revival bands who attempt to faithfully replicate the 1960s garage style.[6][7]

The term is also associated with contemporary groups who, while generally viewing themselves as successors of 1960s garage, do not attempt to emulate the exact sound and look of that era, the way "retro" or "revival" bands do, and therefore incorporate later influences into their stylistic approach, such as 1970s punk rock.[2] Music of the subgenre is often fast-paced and characterized by dirty, choppy guitars and lyrics typically expressing rebelliousness and sometimes "bad taste", and is often performed by "low-fi" acts who are on independent record labels, or who are unsigned.[8]

Garage punk bands are generally apolitical and tend distance themselves from hardcore punk and usually avoid the kinds of strict adherence to subcultural codes and ideologies often associated with other forms of punk.[9]


The earliest known use of the term appeared in Lenny Kaye's track-by-track liner notes for the 1972 Nuggets LP[10] to describe a song by the 1960s garage rock band, the Shadows of Knight as "classic garage punk",[4] and is still often used to describe the garage bands of that era.[2][5]


Simon Reynolds traces garage punk to American garage bands in the 1960s.[11] Garage punk enjoyed a period of popularity in the 1990s, as well as late 1990s and early years of the twenty-first century. According to the Allmusic guide, "Before the punk-pop wing of America's '90s punk revival hit the mainstream, a different breed of revivalist punk had been taking shape in the indie-rock underground. In general, garage punk wasn't nearly as melodic as punk-pop; instead, garage punk drew its inspiration chiefly from the Detroit protopunk of The Stooges and The MC5."[12]

Many of the main influences of the style came from different sonic backgrounds, but commonly associated with decadent lifestyles, the 'true rocker' attitude and speed. Bands such as Motörhead, New York Dolls and records such as The Damned's Damned Damned Damned and The Stooges's Raw Power were crucial for the development of the style. Other important precedents are the early 1970s Detroit band Death[13] and the Boston band The Modern Lovers.[14] The latter were an influence on punk while using an organ similar to 1960s garage bands.

Early UK punk bands such as The Clash often originally characterized themselves as 'garage bands' with The Clash even featuring a song on their first album The Clash called "Garageland" in which they claimed "We're a garage band, We come from garageland".[15] While originating from punk and garage rock, it sometimes incorporates elements of 1960s soul, beat music, surf music, power pop, hardcore punk and psychedelia.[9][16] Many garage punk musicians have been white, working class, suburban teenagers.[11][17]

"Some of the first garage punk bands who appeared in the late '80s and early '90s (Mudhoney, the Supersuckers) signed with the Sub Pop label, whose early grunge bands shared some of the same influences and aesthetics (in fact, Mudhoney became one of the founders of grunge)."[12] Bands like New Bomb Turks, The Oblivians, The Gories, Subsonics,[18] The Mummies, The Dirtbombs, and The Humpers helped maintain a cult audience for the style through the 1990s and 2000s.[12]

List of artists[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hoffmann 2004, p. 1725.
  2. ^ a b c d e Bryan, Beverly (February 4, 2013). "Please Explain: What is Garage Punk?". MTV Iggy. Archived from the original on 3 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "Garage Punk". AllMusic. Archived from the original on July 23, 2016. Retrieved July 23, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Kaye, Lenny (1972). Nuggets (booklet). Various Artists. United States: Elektra Records. 
  5. ^ a b Hann, Michael (July 30, 2014). "10 of the best: garage punk". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  6. ^ Heller, Jason (March 30, 2015). "Where to start with the primal sound of garage rock". A.V. Club. Archived from the original on July 23, 2016. Retrieved July 23, 2016. 
  7. ^ Sleazegrinder (February 15, 2016). "Flash Metal Suicide: The Chesterfield Kings". Team Rock+. Retrieved October 2, 2016. 
  8. ^ Alan Rutter (September 2006). "Bluffer's guide: Garage punk". TimeOut London. TimeOut Group Ltd. Retrieved 2 February 2008. 
  9. ^ a b Bovey, Seth (2006). "Don't Tread on Me: The Ethos of '60s Garage Punk". Popular Music & Society. Routledge. 29 (4): 451–459. doi:10.1080/03007760600787515. 
  10. ^ Mark A. Nobles (January 2012). Fort Worth's Rock and Roll Roots. Arcadia Publishing. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-7385-8499-7. 
  11. ^ a b Reynolds, Simon (1999). Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture. Routledge. pp. 138–139. ISBN 0-415-92373-5. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h Garage Punk at AllMusic
  13. ^ Detroit rockers Death presaged punk
  14. ^ The Modern Lovers at allmusic
  15. ^ Garageland lyrics - The Clash
  16. ^ Sabin, Roger (1999). Punk Rock, So What?: The Cultural Legacy of Punk. Routledge. p. 99. ISBN 0-415-17029-X. 
  17. ^ Campbell, Neil (2004). American Youth Cultures. Edinburgh University Press. p. 220. ISBN 0-7486-1933-X. 
  18. ^ "Clay Reed on Outsight Radio Hours". Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  19. ^ a b c Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (2011-04-02). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 7. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  20. ^ David A. Ensminger (16 June 2011). Visual Vitriol: The Street Art and Subcultures of the Punk and Hardcore Generation. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 250. ISBN 978-1-60473-969-5. 
  21. ^ Zorn, Alexandra. Dead Moon - Biography by Alexandra Zorn at AllMusic. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  22. ^ a b CMJ Network, Inc. (17 April 2000). CMJ New Music Report. CMJ Network, Inc. p. 19. ISSN 0890-0795. 
  23. ^ Yegor Letov's Interview in Irkutsk. About music and politics
  24. ^ Eric Davidson (1 May 2010). We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001. Backbeat Books. p. 206. ISBN 978-1-61713-389-3. 
  25. ^ Colin Larkin (27 May 2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Omnibus Press. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8. 
  26. ^ Chris Handyside (13 August 2013). Fell in Love with a Band: The Story of The White Stripes. St. Martin's Press. p. 158. ISBN 978-1-4668-5184-9. 
  27. ^ Everett True (2004). The White Stripes and the Sound of Mutant Blues. Music Sales Group. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-7119-9836-0. 
  28. ^ Deming, Mark. The Reigning Sound - Biography by Mark Deming at AllMusic. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  29. ^ Deming, Mark. Teengenerate - Biography by Mark Deming at AllMusic. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  30. ^ Leggett, Steve. Thee Oh Sees - Biography by Steve Leggett at AllMusic. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  31. ^ Adam Budofsky; Michele Heusel; Michael Ray Dawson; Michael Parillo (2006). The Drummer: 100 Years of Rhythmic Power and Invention. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 156. ISBN 978-1-4234-0567-2. 
  32. ^ NY-based Yeah Yeah Yeahs headline Love Garage