This might well disqualify a music critic

What Holmstrom remembers of AC/DC is the band’s bone-simple, timeless approach. “They certainly weren’t your traditional heavy metal band,” he notes. “The heavy metal of the mid-70s was a ponderous, bombastic, slow music. They were a high-energy rock & roll band and, before the Sex Pistols changed the image of punk rock from faster and louder to a more political and anthemic music, AC/DC could be classified as punk.” Holmstrom continues, “Then again, so were the Bay City Rollers, Alice Cooper, the Stooges, the New York Dolls, Eddie and the Hot Rods, and hundreds more bands.

The Bay City Rollers as punk?

Hmm.

Glam for teenies rather more, no?

62 thoughts on “This might well disqualify a music critic”

  1. That AC/DC payed rock and roll with the reverb turned up rather than heavy metal has been obvious since they were formed, hasn’t it? They even called themselves a rock and roll band.

  2. Agree with Newman.

    I also cannot countenance AC/DC as punk. Just cos AC/DC weren’t metal, it doesn’t make them punk

  3. Well, it was in Salon, with all that has come to mean here. I watched a programme last night about Queen, dating from 1977, and Freddy Mercury dismissed Sid Vicious as a moron. That encapsulates my whole view of (UK) punk. NY ‘punk’ was a bit better. Yup, AC/DC are not heavy metal, but they don’t half sound good when you turn it up to 11!

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    Click bait. A music nerd picking a fight with other music nerds over a topic no one much cares about or will even read. But they will post something angry that they will forget about twenty second later – because everyone hates at least one group on that list.

  5. I’m not sure what the punk/non-punk line is, but I think there’s a certain nihilism or despair to it. And AC/DC aren’t that. New York Dolls, Iggy and the Stooges were punk.

  6. I wonder whether, 80 years after their demise, a Mendelssohn will come along and rejuvenate the memories of any of these groups. Or whether, perhaps, it won’t be necessary.

  7. If you old farts are going to fuss about archaic music why not fuss about the good stuff? Bach to Beethoven is available, Italian opera, jazz of the 20s, Bessie Smith, Scott Joplin, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin ….

    Why bother with rockrap and popshite?

  8. Nothing more commercial than the Plasmatics can be considered to be punk.

    AC/DC were more interesting when the original members were doing hippy rock.

  9. And for all you people advocating that abomination Jazz, I’m willing to bet that Richard Murphy likes jazz, so think on.

    Ragtime rules supreme friends, Ragtime. Jazz is its bastard Eraserhead devil spawn. Only palatable if you take serious chemicals

  10. BraveFart,

    “And for all you people advocating that abomination Jazz, I’m willing to bet that Richard Murphy likes jazz, so think on.”

    Jazz is a broad definition. I’ll listen to Ella Fitzgerald and George Gershwin but some of the modern stuff is awful.

    It’s another thing that belongs in that “lunatics taking over the asylum” list like theatre, modern art galleries and the humanities departments of universities.

  11. @Paul Rain.

    Wendy O Williams? Plasmatics? Tsssk. If you want proper punk, let’s talk Public Image.

    Metal Box makes the Plasmatics sound like the Rubettes

  12. My little sister swopped my collection of Stones recordings for something from the Bay City Rollers. Have to admit I’m also a big jazz fan, along with Iggy and the Stooges, and sounds of brass.

  13. AC/DC were a very interesting band in their early days, with the clearest, cleanest production out there – you could cut yourself on their guitars. Bon Scott was a far more subtle vocalist than Brian Johnson, who did pull them more metalwards I think.

    This is for instance never a heavy metal song – listen to the bass line!:

    https://youtu.be/L477XyI1rIo

  14. The Bay City Rollers were on the same general continuum as punk in that they were both largely a modified return to the vocabulary of 1950s pop/Rock n’ Roll.
    There tends to be a cycle whereby pop becomes more “sophisticated” then there is a reaction and a purer/stripped-back/simpler (pick your own adjective) pop becomes popular again.
    A whole range of various acts of the 1970s were a reaction to bands like Yes, ELP, Genesis, Pink Floyd etc I’m not making a judgement about those bands other than they were a long way from the instantly-understood girl/boy, fast cars, “I’m pissed off about something” expressions of common emotions which tend to appeal to teens.

    It would be wrong to think there was nothing at all in common between The Bay City Rollers and, say, The Sex Pistols (try comparing them with Stockhaussen or the wilder shores of jazz and they suddenly look more similar than dissimilar) but to put them both together in anything other than the widest category is just misleading and pointless.
    The whole point of categorizing stuff is to make handy, readily-understood distinctions between things which may be on the same continuum but are still considerably different. If a category isn’t fairly specific and well-defined then it isn’t very useful at all.

  15. There’s a critic who doesn’t know his genres. AC/DC is pure hard rock, not punk, not metal or heavy metal, to strong to be pure pop or even just rock and roll. That leaves hard rock, as also played by ZZ Top, The Darkness, early Kiss and Rush.

  16. Bloke in Germany in Portugal

    @se, my younger brother has
    d all (yes all, including both the greatest hits album each consisting of 5 tracks from each of the first albums) of the Kylie and Jason albums.

    Guess how he turned out 😉

  17. @GT: Chords? Who needs chords? I went to a jazz concert in Rotterdam which promised to be a little off the wall because there were four drummers on the bill. Trouble was, that was all there was. Drummers outnumbered the audience.

  18. The first thing that tells you Holmstrom doesn’t know his ass from his elbow is the fact that he casts his punk net rather wide. There weren’t a total of ten punk bands in the UK that had widespread impact, and there certainly weren’t ten in the US. Ever.

    UK: Sex Pistols, The Damned, The Buzzcocks. That’s about it.

    US: The Ramones. The Germs. Pre-Henry Rollins Black Flag.

    AC/DC, The Stooges, and the New York Dolls were all straightforward rock and roll bands. The only reason The Stooges and The Dolls get tossed into the punk category was that they tended to be really, really sloppy… which is strange, because the last think you could accuse The Damned and The Buzzcocks of was being sloppy.

  19. I went to a jazz concert in Rotterdam which promised to be a little off the wall because there were four drummers on the bill. Trouble was, that was all there was. Drummers outnumbered the audience

    Nice

  20. There’s a reliable metric to judge the quality of music. Is it selling? That said, today I’ve suffered a great deal of reggaeton. Which sounds like people shouting in forrin’ with their heads in metal buckets but is an outstanding money earner. However, from dagos, so doesn’t count.

  21. Mr in Spain, you’ll remember Sir John Summerson remarking that we shouldn’t judge a building until 100 years have passed … his point being that fashions come and go and we can’t really judge the value of architecture until we’re clear of all the modish nonsense. But I reckon this applies to all other art forms as well. I mean, aside from the reverence for Bach of Mozart and Beethoven, Bach was forgotten for 80 years after his death. Today, and for many decades past, Bach is considered first among equals. Having emerged from under the neglect of almost a century. Thats the way to do it.

    Btw, I’m acquainted with your robust views in the matter of architects!

  22. @DtP
    “UK: Sex Pistols, The Damned, The Buzzcocks. That’s about it.”

    Apart from The Clash, The Undertones, Sham 69, The Vibrators, The Slits, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Rezillos, X-Ray Spex, Generation X and all the other regulars on the John Peel Show.

  23. Off Topic but the latest Panama leaks scandal is truly shocking.

    Turns out the Queen has been secretly breaking no laws and secretly evading no tax.

  24. @AndrewC: Turns out she hasn’t because the Crown is exempt from income tax, CGT etc as are the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall. The Queen volunteers to pay an equivalent amount of tax due on her income excluding the Sovereign Grant.

  25. @Tim W

    The Bay City Rollers as punk?
    Hmm. Glam for teenies rather more, no?

    Indeed, tour included town I grew up in – venue had hundreds of emotional truanting <16s outside at lunchtime; we spent school lunch-break mocking them and cheering when any cried.

  26. What Holmstrom remembers of AC/DC is the band’s bone-simple, timeless approach. “They certainly weren’t your traditional heavy metal band,” he notes. “The heavy metal of the mid-70s was a ponderous, bombastic, slow music. They were a high-energy rock & roll band

    @Tim Newman, November 5, 2017 at 10:10 am

    That AC/DC payed rock and roll with the reverb turned up rather than heavy metal has been obvious since they were formed, hasn’t it? They even called themselves a rock and roll band.

    +1

    @Alex, November 5, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    There’s a critic who doesn’t know his genres. AC/DC is pure hard rock, not punk, not metal or heavy metal, to strong to be pure pop or even just rock and roll. That leaves hard rock, as also played by ZZ Top, The Darkness, early Kiss and Rush.

    +1

    Yep, none were “heavy metal … ponderous, bombastic, slow music. They were a high-energy rock”

    Motorhead is high-energy, not ponderous & slow

    imho AC/DC is hard rock similar to Iron Maiden, Black Sabath, Gilllan…

    Status Quo is one notch down: medium rock?

    Meatloaf similar to Quo, but rock ballads.

    Worst was BBC Radio 1 & BBC TV publicly refused to play metal/hard rock regardless of chart position – even in 1980s they promoted/played err emm “ethnic?” groups. So much so we referred to BBC TV chart show as “Top Of The N*ggers Blacks”.

  27. @Alex

    Do re-read what I wrote.

    “no laws” and “no tax”.

    I was being sarcastic that the program seemed to want to make a big thing of nothing happening but happening in secret.

  28. @pcar

    Much underrated were Motorhead. Lemmy always said they were just a rock’n’roll band.

    I saw them back in the early 80s at Portsmouth Guildhall with the Ace of Spades line up of Lemmy, fast Eddie and Animal.

    “No Sleep till Hammersmith” is still a great live album to listen to.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91QIMu9CVrI

  29. @DtP

    If you wanted to bring Davis into a punk discussion, I’d have gone for On the Corner.

    That’s a very tricky LP

  30. @AndrewC: I did read what you wrote, which still follows the BBC’s line of “Well it may be within the law but is it legal?”, whereas in fact the law is irrelevant in the case of the Queen because it doesn’t apply to her income at all.

  31. @Lud

    “Bach is considered first among equals.”

    He has no equal. All modern music begins with JSB.

    @Alex

    I’d class the Clash as a rock band. Souxsie is punk, but Strummer was an opportunist. If Levine had stayed with them, it would have been a different matter . Ditto for the Stranglers. You’d no more include them as punk than Dr Feelgood and the rest of that mob.
    Actually, any act from that era that broke America couldn’t be punk (The Police, for instance- who were sold as a Punk act by A&M)

    But back in the UK: XRaySpex definitely were, though; ditto for the Slits and the Vibrators. Uncomfortable including the Undertones; they and the Boomtown Rats were just slightly unconventional rock bands, to my ear.

  32. John square. Plenty of second division bands were decent, subs, lurkers, 999 and early killing joke. I enjoyed them all in the club I worked as a kid in the 70’s (Liverpool Erics)

  33. Apart from The Clash, The Undertones, Sham 69, The Vibrators, The Slits, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Rezillos, X-Ray Spex, Generation X and all the other regulars on the John Peel Show.

    Followers all, not leaders. Christ, Generation X was laughed at by any and all. Credibility? Zero. The Vanilla Ice of punk. And in the cold light of hindsight, one can’t really call The Clash much more than very talented poseurs. When you engage the likes of Sandy Pearlman to produce an album, you ain’t punk. London Calling is good stuff, but it isn’t punk… It is straightforward rock and roll. The Rezillos were fun, but you can’t call them edgy. The Slits were wonderful and a personal favorite, but came later in the game. The rest all followed the three I mentioned, and none really broke any new ground.

  34. If you wanted to bring Davis into a punk discussion, I’d have gone for On the Corner.

    Good call. Davis’ great big “fuck you” to all his white fans.

    It doesn’t get much more punk than that.

  35. The queen voluntarily pays an amount equivalent to the income tax that would be due on her income if she were taxable.

    So if the income on which she would have paid tax if she were taxable is reduced then the amount she pays voluntarily is reduced.

    So if you believe that the queen gives HMRC full details then any planning which saves tax if tax had been payable would reduce the voluntary payment and it’s semantics to say that the planning has not reduced the amount she pays because it isn’t tax.

    And if you think the queen is lying to HMRC then the whole thing is a sham anyway.

  36. @m’Lud

    I got the Mendelssohn reference and was feeling quietly smug so thank you for that. What you say about works being left to marinate is correct but one cannot depend on a Felix M-B coming along to disinter the genius of an earlier generation or two.

    @DtP

    Bitches Brew was pretty dire although the Jack Johnson soundtrack which was around the same time was rather good. Both were followed by On the Corner which is the last Miles album I bought and a bit of a stinker. The ones I listen to most now are Milestones and Kind of Blue. Can’t comment on the “Punk” thing which struck me at the time as an aberration and still does.

  37. Besides. If the queen invests in a UK based fund then that fund would pay tax on any gains or income notwithstanding that any payment by the fund to the queen would not be taxable in theory although would result in a voluntary payment.

    However an investment in a non-UK based fund would mean no UK tax paid by the fund internally although payments to the queen would follow the same path.

    So there could be a tax saving motive in investing in an off shore trust much as I invest in a SIPP rather than hold shares personally. They grow more tax efficiently.

  38. @DTP “Followers all, not leaders.” Not so. Sham 69 and The Undertones were gigging before the Sex Pistols and the rest. The Clash started out as a punk band but were made more poppy by CBS. Punk doesn’t have to be edgy. It is just loud guitar music, mostly chords played with minimal talent and plenty of angst.

  39. @DtP

    “Thank God nobody has dragged Elvis Costello or The Jam into this discussion.”

    Indeed. You may as well include Dire Straits, if that’s yer definition of punk (“bands that emerged after 1974, but before synthesisers became common”?).

    Interestingly, the Pistols without Rotten would never have been punk (check out the Jones/Cook records under the Professionals moniker…)

  40. @John^2: Who mentioned The Stranglers (who are just about to head off on a French tour with a friend of mine as their support BTW)? They were definitely new wave.

    Dr Feelgood were pub rock (saw them at The Nashville which was a pub at the time, so that proves it), as were Eddie and he Hot Rods, apparently, although I would call them power pop.

  41. Off topic but FFS.

    Just seen a BBC report on today’s shooting in Texas. Criticism of Trump by the reporter but no mention of how many people had been shot dead. Had to switch to Sky to find out.

  42. @Alex

    No-one mentioned them, but they get lumped in as punk on a regular basis, whereas they came up thru the pub rock circuit just like Dr Feelgood. They got both got picked up by labels looking for punk bands, and thus got marketed as punk.

    As supporting evidence: “The Stranglers are an English rock band who emerged via the punk rock scene….they originally built a following within the mid-1970s pub rock scene. ”

    I disagree respectfully that they were new wave- too early, and too gritty.

  43. @J2: They were lumped in with punk because they often opened for punk bands, particularly touring American bands. Early Stranglers was quite abrasive (viz. Peaches) but they were much better musicians than punk bands (jazz and classically trained) and quite a few years older. Also they had a keyboard player.

    I would could them new wave because they fall into that by default like The Police, Blondie, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson and other bands of the very late 70s – not classic rock, pop, R&B, hard rock, pub rock, metal etc.

  44. @Thud: The real test of a UK punk concert was the spitting. No spitting or pogoing, not a punk band. Stranglers fans were more university students than punk. Not necessarily mutually exclusive, but audience at a Sex Pistols or Sham 69 concert was very duifferent from a Stranglers concert.

  45. Alex, a bit more to it than the spitting.I worked in venues from 77 to 2007 and saw and worked with pretty much everyone….if you spat at Burnell you probably ended up with 10lb of fender round the head…ha!

  46. @AndrewC, November 5, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Much underrated were Motorhead. Lemmy always said they were just a rock’n’roll band.

    I saw them back in the early 80s at Portsmouth Guildhall with the Ace of Spades line up of Lemmy, fast Eddie and Animal.

    Snap – almost

    I saw them back in the mid 80s on their Bomber tour; warm up group was Girlschool..

    Last song was Bomber and a huge WWII style mock bomber with four spinning props & landing lights slowly descended from the fly tower.

    I still remember that spectacular and the audience gasps followed by cheers.

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