YouTube is a great place for classic music videos (and of course videos of kittens), but it has also really come into its own as being a place for classic moments of punk history, as amateur archivists have tirelessly compiled classic (and not so classic) appearances of punk rock in pop culture over the years. Here are some of favorites (as well as some that are just too bad to ignore)
Do you have any favorite moments of punk history you've stumbled across (you know, while taking a break from kitten videos)? If so, mail us the links at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration for upcoming inclusion.
Courtesy of Andrew WK
While I’m sure you were well aware that Andrew WK knows how to party, did you know he was also an amateur meteorologist? And by amateur, I mean he thought (as we all would) that getting in front of a bluescreen and doing a weather report would be hilarious. So he did. And it was.
Andrew H Walker/Getty Images
In punk’s early years, it underwent maligning treatment by the American media. One of the most blatant and clueless was the now infamous episode of Quincy M.E.
, “Next Stop Nowhere”, or “The Quincy Punk Episode” as it’s now better known as.
In the episode, a kid is stabbed at a punk show. As is the case with every episode, Quincy performed the autopsy then set out to solve the crime. Much hilarity ensued – especially for a show that wasn’t meant to be funny. The episode (which is broken down in detail here), was incredibly heavy-handed, with Quincy going so far as to issuing this gem of insight on punk rock: "I believe that the music I heard is a killer. It’s a killer of hope. It’s a killer of spirit."
While the punk episode of Quincy
may be fictional, the band from the episode was based on Fear. One of Fear’s most notorious performances took place on an episode of SNL
in 1981 when John Belushi, a fan, got them booked. The band showed up with an assemblage of dancers, including Ian Mackaye of Minor Threat, who started a slam pit during the band’s set. The band played "Beef Bologna," "New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones," and the show went to commercial as they started "Let's Have a War.”
Scott Olson/Getty Images
I’m not sure if John Lydon was unavailable for this one, was too expensive, or if the filmmakers just thought it would be funnier to have a claymation cookie jumping around chanting “Oi! Oi! Oi!” but whatever the case, if you take anything away from this commercial it’s that cops hate punk rock cookies and are just trying to keep them in line. That, and the idea that nothing is sacred anymore.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
In 1986, author Peter Blauner did a cover story on the New York hardcore scene for New York Magazine
. The article not only proved how little Blauner knew about New York hardcore, but it also landed him on Donahue
. In this episode of Donahue
, it was also proven that Phil was clueless, but onstage guests and audience members were a veritable who’s who of the scene at the time, including young members of Youth of Today, Murphy's Law, Agnostic Front, Token Entry and the Cro-Mags. Phil spent a lot of time looking perplexed over “those darn kids,” but the footage is a classic video yearbook.
From 1976-1978, comedian Don Rickles starred in a series called C.P.O. Sharkey
. Like All In The Family
, a more successful show running at the time, it dealt with a lot of politically incorrect humor. Unlike All In The Family
, the show was really just about making politically incorrect jokes, and social commentary was nonexistent. In this episode, California comic punks The Dickies, appeared, playing “Hideous” live. While it was the first U.S. network appearance for a punk band, it was also just another setup for a tasteless joke.
If the hoax about legendary hardcore drummer Chuck Biscuits' death had any positive effect, it's that it brought him back to public awareness. Biscuits was best known for his role as original drummer for Danzig, but he also drummed for the legendary Vancouver punk band D.O.A., Black Flag, the Circle Jerks and even most recently Social Distortion. He also is a repository of expertise on breakfast cereal, in this clip from Danzig’s Lucifuge
Courtesy of Stigma
Vinnie Stigma. That’s a name that carries weight in the New York hardcore scene. The guitarist and founder of Agnostic Front and Madball, accomplished solo artist and owner of New York Hardcore Tattoos also threw his hat briefly in the political ring for the 2008 presidential election, running as a member of the hardcore party. Despite a strong stance on multiple issues, he didn’t make it to the ballot, although he was our endorsed candidate on this site, primarily based on this political video.
Back before the money grabs were so blatant, and Lydon cared more about being punk rock, PiL appeared on American Bandstand. Once. In this clip from 1980, Lydon makes no attempt to cover up the fact that the band had been asked to lip synch, wandering less than energetically through the crowd, mouthing the words but never really putting the microphone anywhere remotely near his mouth. It’s one of his most honestly subversive moves to date.