Due to the predominant use of guitars in punk's rock music roots, the use of synthesizers was controversial within the punk scene even though the punk music culture collectively embraced an anti-establishment political stance. It was very rare, particularly in America, for punk musicians to use synthesizers or keyboards at all to make punk music, let alone replacing the guitars with them. While the rejection of using guitars was an extension of the logic of punk music's anti-establishment politics, synthpunk bands went farther than many fans were willing to extend that principle, and synthesizer-based punk rock groups had small following as a whole. It is probably due to this issue that the identification of a synthesizer-based, subgenre of punk rock took so many years to become identified as a collective genre.[original research?]
A rehearsal tape by Suicide in 1975, The Units 4-song 7" on 9 August 1979, Pere Ubu's "My Dark Ages" (October 1979) with Alan Ravenstine on EML synthesizer (re-released on Rough Trade 049 on a 7" in 1980) and the first demo session by The Screamers with Pat Garrett on 7 July 1977 are candidates for the earliest synthpunk recording. The Units were referred to as "Punks playing keyboards" in an article in the "The San Francisco Examiner" in 1979, The Screamers were referred to as "techno-punk" in an article in the Los Angeles Times in 1978, but this did not become established as a genre name. However, in the USA, while a number of art bands moved more towards ambient, or art gallery collage sounds (Ant Farm, Ralph Records) The Units nailed it with ferocious singles like "i-night" which foreshadows The Prodigy and the more intense early work of the Chemical Brothers' "Block Rockin' Beats" for its intensity. The following year saw releases such as Minimal Man's live at The Deaf Club, "She Was A Visitor", and from (Seattle) Enstruction's 1982 "Keep Out Of My Body Bag" with its scattered and unsettling instructions. In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Billy Synth and the Janitors (1978-1982) and later the Turn Ups took an ARP Odyssey synthesizer directly to punk.