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Relatos sobre la Escena Subterránea Peruana: Parte III


November 17th, 2014 by

Peru_pt3_DSC03999a_mini

Here is the Spanish-language version of part three of our three-part history “Notes on the Peruvian Underground.” This originally appeared in English in MRR #359. You can read part one in English in MRR #353 (parte uno en español aquí) and part two in English in MRR #356 (parte tres en español aquí).

Autor: shane g.g.
Traducción: Julio “el chibolo” Durán con aportes de P.J. Lucas

…Y luego viene un culo de otras huevadas

Hay tantas huevadas con las que podría seguir jodiéndolos que esto podría convertirse en una malacostumbre de ir contando historias sin parar y sin saber cuándo callarme. Sigo con ganas de empezar este último grupo de historias sobre la escena subterránea punk del Perú remarcando algo así como las diferencias esenciales entre las décadas de los 80, 90 y 2000, estableciendo una especie de división cronológica rigurosa entre un momento histórico y el siguiente, dibujar una línea clara en la arena temporal. ¡Los 80 fueron punk y hardcore y políticos! ¡Con los 90 llegó el grunge y esto llevó a un punk despolitizado! ¡A partir del 2000 hasta el presente surgen bandas indies y de fusión con mercados nicho para cada consumidor imaginable!

¿Pero saben qué? No es tan simple. No en Perú. Probablemente no lo sea en ninguna parte. La temporalidad es un asunto problemático. Y, de todos modos, las décadas y años y fechas son marcadores arbitrarios para señalar una diferencia histórica.

El noise y el grind y el crust core en Lima, por lo general, se asocian principalmente con los 90. Era una mancha de chiquillos (Leo Bacteria, Richard Nossar, Oscar Reátegui, José Morón) la que ayudó a formar estas mini-escenas. Pero lo hicieron solamente después de entrar en el “rock subterráneo” a fines de los 80 cuando ya había degenerado en facciones porosas de hardcore, punk, metal-crossover, y, por supuesto, de cholos, misios y pitucos. El resultado fueron varios proyectos noise: Atrofia Cerebral, MDA, Insumisión y Dios Hastío. Este último está aún activo y dejando sorda a la gente en mugrientos locales del centro de Lima. También hubo otras bandas más nuevas que surgieron con una combinación de influencias hardcore, punk y rock garage. Aeropajitas, Pateando tu Kara, Héroe Inocente y Manganzoides se impusieron como algunas de las favoritas en Lima en distintos puntos de los años 90. Todos ellos aún participan en tocadas de vez en cuando.

Peru_pt3_IMG_1539_mini

¿Eso significa que todas las bandas de los 80 están muertas? Pues casi. Algunas resistieron por un tiempo o hicieron retornos inesperados. G3 agregó un segundo guitarrista e hizo un giro evidente al grunge en los 90 básicamente hasta que se separaron en 2000, y luego Gabriel y Gonzalo empezaron Inyectores. Leusemia reapareció en 1995 con un nuevo álbum y ha seguido tocando desde entonces con distintos miembros. Los únicos miembros originales que han durado son Raúl Montañez y Daniel F., siendo este último uno de los pocos subtes de la generación más antigua que ha podido ganarse la vida tocando rock’n’roll sin tener que tener un trabajo formal (y uno de los resultados es que se ha hecho unos cuantos enemigos). Voz Propia debe ser una de las bandas activas con mayor continuidad que surgieron de la escena del rock subterráneo a mediados de los 80–acaban de lanzar su décimo larga duración, “The Game is Over” en 2011. Read the rest of this entry »



Reissue of the Week: SIN 34 Do You Feel Safe? LP


November 12th, 2014 by

Sin34_DoYouFeelSafe

Yes! This is the reissue of the sole LP by SIN 34, one of the first (the first?) Southern California hardcore bands to be fronted by a woman — and a raging teenage punk girl at that. Formed in Santa Monica in 1981, rumor has it that Julie Lanfeld stole most of a drum kit for Dave Markey (of We Got Power fanzine) after he told her he wanted to start a band. He learned to play without a kick pedal or snare, using a metal lampshade as a cymbal and literally kicking the bass drum when he wanted to use it. By the time they entered the studio to record this LP, Markey had upgraded to a “proper” kit, but the songs retain their somewhat desperate quality — these kids loved NECROS and DEVO equally (even covering the latter), saw and played with and absorbed the sounds of their co-conspirators TSOL and BLACK FLAG. Like all truly great bands, everyone here learned to play their instruments for this group — it’s not inept, but rather, chaotic. This is straightforward hardcore, but they are songs written via osmosis and immersion, rather than careful study, identifiable conventions twisted and warped as a result. They are funny and pissed off in equal measure. Julie switches from deadpan to aggressive in a second, sixteen years old and absolutely furious.

I’m currently reading a book about Naomi Petersen, the staff photographer for SST and one of the lone women in the hyper-masculine orbit of Black Flag. It was a gift, and the inscription describes it as “Carducci’s hesitant capitulation to feminism, a typical man-apology.” A lot of things about the text are infuriating but it’s also one of the only documents of the role women played in what was both one of the most macho and most influential punk scenes in history. The importance of women like Naomi and Julie cannot be overstated and their histories have largely been erased. Tobi Vail contributes liner notes to this reissue, reclaiming Julie and the other women like her for the history of USHC and the global punk and wider cultural movements it influenced. They are required reading. An excerpt: “[This record] is irrefutable proof that teenage girls actively participated in the creation of American hardcore… Briefly, so the story goes, after women helped invent punk/new wave in the ’70s we were pushed to the sidelines in the ’80s when the music and dancing got too aggressive and “hardcore,” i.e. too masculine for us to hack. Then, in the early ’90s riot grrrl supposedly came along to rescue girls from male oppression and we have ruled the pit ever since. Bullshit. Girls were there the whole time. We just didn’t have the visibility or respect we got later on. We fought to be taken seriously and we won. We all deserve credit for this cultural shift but the women involved in ’80s hardcore punk especially need to be recognized for their contribution to the evolution of culture. This history does not deserve to be obscure.”

Hopefully it won’t be any longer. Released on CD (with three unreleased tracks) for the first time ever, and back in print on LP (with the original track listing) for the first time in many decades later this fall, it also includes commentary from Dave Markey and Thurston Moore (whose contribution is mercifully so short I almost missed it). I’m thrilled that this record will be recirculating in the world.
(Sinister Torch)



Create to Destroy! Not Dead Yet Fest


November 12th, 2014 by

CreateToDestroyLogo

After all of you had fun at a Varning from Montreal this past weekend, there is another Canadian punk fest very soon after called Not Dead Yet Fest, from November 20th to November 23rd. It is in Toronto and is a revival of Fucked Up Weekend that used to happen in the early 2000s.

Greg — not to start off with a hard question, but I think this needs to be addressed. At ABC No Rio we had shows every Saturday at 3pm for years (and for years, I mean decades!). Sometimes other bookers would book shows at 3pm nearby somewhere else in the Lower East Side. I always felt like that really took away from scene unity and effected our draw — it meant that we had to pay bands less and shows were less crowded. That said, A Varning from Montreal has been happening for almost a decade around the first weekend of November. Your fest is on its fourth year. I know you know about Varning occuring basically the same time frame (Canada — big country, small scene) so why then book your fest in November?

NDY base

Hard questions are good questions! I am absolutely well familiar with Varning. A band I am in has played it previously and I have always had fun going to see shows at Katacombes over the years. That said, to understand why Not Dead Yet is around the same time of year is to understand its history. Prior to Not Dead Yet, Fucked Up Weekend existed in Toronto. Those formed around an annual Fucked Up Halloween show that first happened in 2004. Anyways, from the first Fucked Up Halloween show, to the first weekend to the last one, I always really enjoyed the energy it brought to the city and the hardcore punk community here. Over time, after helping out a bunch, I eventually got involved with booking the bands for the last Fucked Up Weekend in 2009 — a year when DSB played both Fucked Up Weekend and Varning. In 2010, they decided to not do it anymore. In 2011, after deciding we missed having that event in 2010, Not Dead Yet began. So, strangely, it’s got a history that stretches back over ten years and really means a lot to us. We’re not stuck to one weekend in the fall either. This year we moved it back in November just to make sure FORWARD could play.

With all that said, over the past few years, there’s been a number of people who have visited both festivals from abroad, which I think is really, really cool. We love and support Varning and Katacombes and think that anyone that can attend, should! I’ll be in the UK this year for Static Shock Weekend, but am seriously bummed to be missing LOS MONJO!

I think Varning will be moved earlier in the year next year to make it more affordable for punks to go to both — most people can’t afford to take off work twice in one month. Why bring back this tradition of Toronto mid-fall fest again in 2011?
Essentially because 2010 sucked in Toronto without one!

Has Toronto had punk/hardcore fests in the past?
Yup, Toronto used to have a New Years Eve festivals in the 90s, then after that the Fucked Up Weekend festivals. While the NYE ones were a bit before my time, the Fucked Up Weekends were awesome.

NotDeadYet_1

How is the Toronto scene supportive of your fest?
Incredibly so. From all cross-sections of the scene, a lot of folks come out and support. When the festival is going on, we’ve got a ton of people helping out to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Do you have a lot of local bands playing?
There’s at least one local band playing every show. CAREER SUICIDE, HASSLER, ABSOLUT, VCR, HIRED GOONS, BLACK BARON, FARANG, WILD SIDE and more. Unfortunately, there are too many great local bands in the city these days — a lot who couldn’t play but who you’ll surely see next year: ANTI VIBES, TRIAGE, SPORE, TRUE. All are awesome!

How do you pay the bands coming from far away? Do you have to help with plane tickets for the bigger acts?
All of the bands get paid directly based on ticket sales. We also let them check out some shows free of cost. There are no sponsors whatsoever. In some cases, we absolutely need to help cover plane tickets. We do our best to make sure that the bands that are coming have little to no cost coming to play.

How early do you start planning for next years fest?
Truthfully, we’ve already started thinking about next year! It ends up taking a lot of planning and effort throughout the year to make it happen.

Do you flyer or do you just promote on the internet?
Flyers are mandatory. We do our best to cover the city even more than we usually do for shows year round. This year, we had our friends Ben and Tara at Gorilla Graphics, a punk-run printing company in Hamilton do lithograph prints of the poster this year and they turned out killer! We’ve also worked with artists locally and abroad to create unique flyers for each show. Flyering is the only way to expose new people to the fest and punk in general! Punk art is such an important part of the scene, it’d be a crime to not have any.

NotDeadYet_3

I agree. Do you feed bands and help them find places to stay?
We do our best to find bands places to stay. No one has been without a place, or ever will be! Food, with so many bands and so many shows, is a bit harder. We do work with local, vegan, punk-run businesses like Hot Beans and Through Being Cool to give bands and festival attendees a discount though.

Why do you feel fests are important? Do you think it contributes to international punk unity?
While I do think fests do contribute to international punk unity, most importantly I find Not Dead Yet gives younger kids in the scene a touchstone. It’s something that they can look forward to all year long. That’s easily the most important things to us. Toronto has a young, vibrant and diverse punk scene right now and we only want to make it better. It is a lot of fun to have friends from all over the world come together though!

That’s really cool when it seems like a long of punks are aging and scenes are getting older — I’m glad to hear Toronto has the youth! How many people do you think will come this year? What was the turnout like last year?
Honestly, it’s a very hard thing to predict. Last year, almost every show was over capacity. We hope we can replicate that this year. I think it’s safe to say hundreds of people travel from all over for it.

What can we expect this year?
A bunch of wicked hardcore and punk shows! Personally, I think FORWARD and MARKED MEN are gonna steal the show, but there is no shortage of wicked bands. I’m excited.

Do you have after-shows?
Yup — the after shows are some of the biggest and craziest shows of the festival. We’ve held them every year at a space called Soybomb, Toronto’s longest-running DIY spot. Jay is a remarkable human being, and the after-shows couldn’t be what they are without him and the rest of the folks at Soybomb.

How can we get tickets?
Folks can purchase tickets online at notdeadyet.bigcartel.com. If you’re in Toronto, you can scoop tickets at Rotate This, the record store with the best used selection in the city!

How can we best stay up to date?
All updates get posted at notdeadyettoronto.tumblr.com. Easiest way to get the info!

Any last words?
Support punk and support punks!



Relatos sobre la Movida Subterránea en Perú: Segunda Parte


November 10th, 2014 by

Peru_pt2_IMG_1276

Here is the Spanish-language version of part two of our three-part history “Notes on the Peruvian Underground.” This originally appeared in English in MRR #356. You can read part one in English in MRR #353 (parte uno en español aquí) and part three in English in MRR #359 (parte tres en español aquí próximamente).

Autor: Shane “Gang” Greene*
Traducción: Julio “el chibolo” Durán con aportes de P.J. Lucas

No se trata solo de la música, hijos de puta

Se trata de los patas flacuchentos a los que les gusta poguear, pero que no pueden cachar; de las gorditas con pelo azul que les gusta tirar; del pituco huevonazo ovejita negra que busca la manera de cagarse en su papi banquero; del cholo bicho raro clase media al que le gusta la distorsión más que vestirse como bacán; de los lameculos introvertidos y las marimachas salidas del closet que te mandan a la mierda; de los ideológicamente descontentos; de los socialmente discapacitados; de los mentalmente inestables y de los materialmente detestables; de los retorcidos pero no precisamente idiotas. Tipos raros, maricones, borrachos y fumones. Así es, Dr. Allin, lo ha formulado usted muy bien, de verdad, muy bien. Y no olvidemos a los aburridos estudiantes de arte y futuros intelectuales.

Sabemos que el punk no se trata solo de la música. Se trata de este tipo de reuniones poco probables de gente desagradable que la música termina agrupando. Se trata de los misfits (con ‘m’ minúscula). El punk encuentra la manera de faltarle el respeto a las fronteras, incluso (o quizás, especialmente) cuando determinados punks comienzan a gobernar el inconformismo y se lo imponen a los recién llegados que andan desprevenidos. El punk va en busca de hogares destruidos y familias perfectamente equilibradas al mismo tiempo; busca personalidades al borde de la anti-socialidad y las coloca en la misma sala con los seres humanos más lindos y generosos que ofrecen todo su amor incondicional. No hay lugar al que uno vaya en donde no existan misfits. Extrañamente, tampoco existe un lugar específico en donde encontrarlos. Simplemente, aparecen; y el punk les ofrece un lenguaje, un contexto, un par de amigos: otro desadaptado que puede o no ser de confianza pero con el que puede ser chévere huevear un rato. Es todo un poco como en el cuento de Bartleby, ¿no? Preferiría no hacerlo, huevonazo…

Peru_pt2_CAMERINO_pqe_salazar

Todo esto también es cierto para los punks que crecieron en la cloaca de mierda que era Lima durante las décadas tumultuosas del Perú de los 80s y 90s, en las que ser un desadaptado podía significar que te mataran, te arrestaran, te detuvieran o te metieran en cana. O que te obligaran a esconder la cabeza bajo la tierra. O que te hicieran pensar si era mejor hablar de paz en medio de la puta guerra. O buscar refugio en tu distrito residencial de clase alta, relativamente seguro, alejado de la masacre de miles de indios pobres y provincianos en el campo. Muchas decisiones que después tendrías que asumir. Yvivir cuestionándoselas o terminar como un muerto más. Muchas decisiones que, en realidad, no ofrecían opciones.

Es imposible ubicar una personalidad única, mucho menos un perfil simple de quién o qué es un “punk peruano”. Sí, surgen patrones estructurales mayores. Más gente de clase media y clase alta que gente de clase baja; más blancos o mestizos que indios; muchos más chicos que chicas. Y no hay duda de que el punk fue y sigue siendo casi completamente urbano; o que, hablando musicalmente, es profundamente Euro-Americano en la mayor parte de sus manifestaciones pasadas y presentes. De hecho, solo unas pocas bandas selectas (Del Pueblo o Seres Van de la década de los 80) estuvieron lo bastante inspirados para crear una nueva textura musical agregando instrumentos andinos o afroperuanos (quenas, zampoñas, charango, cajón) a ese género emergente llamado “rock subterráneo”. Batería, guitarra, bajo y un pata cantando con un micro. Ese es todavía el 1-2-3-4 del rock’n’roll casi a dondequiera que vayas.

Pero a pesar de todos estos factores estructurales, las personalidades punk son, en verdad, y de una manera fascinante, difíciles de definir. Como “un traje que no le queda a la persona para la que fue hecho” –la etimología de misfit avalada desde el Siglo XIX–, los punks peruanos no se adaptan bien a nuestras variables científico-sociales cuidadosamente modeladas. Sus pensamientos son demasiado irruptivos; sus actitudes, demasiado disruptivas. Quizás prestando atención a las posibilidades polisémicas de sus deshonrosos apodos podemos apenas aproximarnos a una descripción de su inadaptabilidad.

Peru_pt2_AFICHE6

Está Leo Escoria, porque está ‘astalasuevas’, y también Leo Bacteria, porque era infecciosamente gracioso hasta que se suicidó (Que En Paz Sigas Jodiendo, Leo). También está Daniel F, porque es feo. Está Chiki, porque cuando era adolescente se parecía a Chiquidrácula, el personaje de la televisión mexicana de los 80. Está Loquillo porque, según dicen, es un loco de mierda, y el Negro Brunce, porque es negro y porque ‘Brunce’ es probablemente el apellido peruano más raro que haya existido. Está María T-ta porque le gusta mostrar las tetas en público y Támira porque es un poco tímida y artística (así que no necesita apodo). Está Mono Blanco, pero no tengo idea de por qué es un mono blanco, y Chancho Viejo porque, asumo, es un cerdo no tan joven. Está Sandro Dogma, más modesto que dogmático, pero con el valor necesario para llegar desde Lima hasta Nueva York sin un puto sello en su pasaporte. Están el Chato Víctor y el Chato (Inchaústegui), porque los dos son bajitos. Está el Gordo Gabriel y el Gordo Memo, porque, bueno, son recontra gordos. Está Pedro Tóxico porque es una linda persona que escribió esa letra hermosamente venenosa para el clásico de Sociedad de Mierda “Púdrete Pituco”. Está Boui (no Bowie) porque es alto, delgado y de piel clara, se tiñe el pelo de blanco, y se mete un culo de cocaína. Está Miguel Det (no Death) porque tiene una parte metal, otra parte punk, y todas las partes oscuras. Y porque, francamente, son palabras que no tienen sentido fonético desde otro punto de vista lingüístico, que se pierden al ser traducidas para el público gringo.

Es verdad. Hay un culo de misfits en el País de los Incas. Programen una visita; organicen un tour; sáquenle unas fotos a estos jodidos nativos que viven en la Cagada Ciudad de los Reyes. Read the rest of this entry »



Slovenian Punk: A Brief Introduction


October 28th, 2014 by

scenes-yugo

I have had a great deal of interest in how and why bands form under extreme political environments, and so when we decided to work on a series of special features focusing on bands active under socialism in the former Yugoslavian Republic, it was the perfect opportunity for me to dig deeper, do more research and look into what has already been written about Slovenian punk; and one article in particular was immensely helpful in understanding the historical events which lead up to the explosion of punk in Slovenia and the rest of Yugoslavia. I am not a historian, and surely history is better documented and passed on by those who made it happen, so that is what we  aimed to do, beginning with part one of our ex-Yugo series in MRR #378. The bands featured  have some incredible stories, which will surely make other punks around the world revisit their own ideas and ideals, but I figured a short introduction and some background information might help frame the greater political and social picture a bit better. Knowledge is power and we still have so much to learn.

Tožibabe

It was 1948. WWII was over. The leader of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the charismatic bon vivant Tito, had just split from Stalin and the Soviet Union, entering Yugoslavia into the newly formed Non-Aligned Movement. The country’s trade depended heavily on the Soviet Bloc, and with Western politicians “keeping Tito afloat” in hopes of appeasing Yugoslavia into neutrality and weakening the Soviet Bloc, the country plunged into an economic crisis. This was ideal ground for the introduction of a capitalist economy. What followed were two decades of “liberalization” in the ’50s and ’60s (less party involvement in the economic sphere) and a decrease in personal spending due to post-war displeasure, which was in turn met by heavy promotion of consumerism by the party. This lead to an increase in spending, as Slovenian families shrunk to an average of 3.5 members per household. People were buying TVs, record players, washing machines and scooters, many traveling to Trieste, a neighboring Italian city popular for shopping.

An unplanned side effect of this gradual shift towards consumerism meant that, surprise surprise, people pushed aside collectivist social notions for more individualistic consumption-driven ones. As Gregor Tomc says in his enlightening chapter, “A Tale of Two Subcultures, A Comparative Analysis of Hippie and Punk Subcultures in Slovenia” from the book Remembering Utopia: The Culture of Everyday Life in Socialist Yugoslavia, “Nobody seemed to notice how the emphasis of socialism shifted from creating an alternative to capitalism to entering into a competition with it.” This liberal economic change also brought about a rise in unemployment, which the party dealt with by opening the borders (the known Gastarbeiter), meaning lots of young people could travel abroad and be exposed to Western culture and youth styles. The results of this increased familiarity with the West is what helped the radicalization of the youth movement, and the growth of the hippie and punk movements.

During the ’50s the Yugoslav republic viewed jazz with suspicion, and it was even debated amongst top communist officials, saying that its “unhealthy outgrowths […] have nothing in common either with music or with dance” even though “it can—with its modern expressive means—positively influence the mood of the working man, his cheerfulness.” The only two recording studios were state-run and hard to get into without a record deal, which was contingent on a band’s lyrics, which were subject to the “Committee of Trash,” which basically regulated lyrics and made sure they did not oppose the party. This made access to self-expressed ideas and independent cultural media more difficult. For example, Pankrti recorded their first double single in Italy and any band that did release records made in state-owned studios had to “adjust” their lyrics, giving the art of reading between the lines a new meaning in the context of anti-authoritarian lyrics.

92 (aka Grupa 92)

92 (aka Grupa 92)

Something to remember, though, is that youth culture in Yugoslavia was developing in a socialist society gradually experiencing the assimilation of capitalism, while still being under the watchful eye of the Party gatekeepers, who were also having to learn how to react to, confine and/or control these new, “decadent” “imported” ideas from the West. This disapproval only made it all the more appealing, of course.

It is hard to imagine a life split in two the way it was for Yugoslavians: on the one hand a public life appropriate for state controlled activities (class-integrated neighborhoods, party-controlled school system, state-run cultural industry) and on the other a private, “spontaneous” life not structured by or around the official state norm (playing in rock bands, joining a commune, or being active in political youth groups). The hippie subculture was an important part of youth culture in 1970s Slovenia, as was the subpolitical student movement, which in some cases resulted in students being more radicalized that the party elite, as expressed in a popular student slogan of the time, “Communism against ‘communism.’” Western student movements were influential in this radicalization, leading Ljubljana University students to protest against dorm rent increases, the Vietnam War, Nixon’s Yugoslav visit, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, lack of Slovenian minority rights in Italy, and more.

Hard-Core Ljubljana Compilation

The student youth party was instrumental in the growth and dissemination of youth culture, and so when in the mid-’70s the state forced it to merge with the Alliance of Socialist Youth of Slovenia (ASYS), it left a sort of void which neither the hippie culture (which bored suburban youth) nor the socialist realism movement (the dominant one until then, a mix of traditional working class culture, Soviet block art and Western “progressive” ideas) seemed capable of filling. This was the ideal time for the party to strengthen its influence and, of course, for something new to flourish in the wake of its reaction. Over the next couple of years the punk movement grew tremendously, with more bands surfacing in Ljubljana and all around Slovenia—bands like Pankrti (Bastards), Lublanska Psi (Ljubljana Dogs), Grupa 92 (Group 92), Berlinski Zid (Berlin Wall), KuZle (Bitches), UBR (Uporniki Bez Razloga [Rebels Without a Cause]), III Kategorija (Third Category)—and this just in Slovenia, not to mention the rest of the Yugoslav federation.

One of the things about punk, not only in Slovenia but anywhere where punk has flourished, is that its characteristics are not that of a subculture stemming from the mainstream. Instead, punk springs as a reaction, a counterculture. Of course this meant that, even if the societal background in Slovenia was not necessarily adverse to youth cultures (as Slovenia was one of the most developed states in the Yugoslav federation) the system, which was losing control over media during the ’70s and ’80s thanks to new media technologies, viewed them with suspicion, even confusion. So, once the party finally declared its disapproval of punk, this opened the way for increased suppression from the state police. A number of incidents occurred, but perhaps the most well-known was the “Nazi punk affair,” when a populist newspaper wrongfully assumed three Ljubljana punks, who were sporting “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” pins with swastikas crossed out, to be members of the Nazi party. This resulted in their arrest under the charges of secretly trying to start their own IV Reich(!). It was clear that punk was no longer considered to be just a symbolic threat.

Indust-Bag

The student movement, despite having merged with the Alliance of Socialist Youth of Slovenia (ASYS), was still a major contributing factor to the evolution of punk. The elderly party elite figured it no longer played a leading role in the political landscape and dialogue, since it was now under party regulation. However, they underestimated the student movement power and, with the help of people like P. Mlakar (a poet, philosopher, artist, book editor and more), Igor Vidmar (a radio DJ, concert promoter, political activist and more) and other members of the student movement, they supported punk by playing punk bands on the radio, promoting their shows, publishing their comics and recording their records. If Marcuse’s “repressive tolerance” is where capitalism and totalitarianism meet, then Slovene punks were having to balance the thin line between the two, stemming from the former and growing into the later. Such a system clash is ideal for the eruption of youth movements, especially one as vivid and forceful as punk. Much like when two tectonic plates collide and mountains are formed, Slovenian punk rose, growing past the police interrogations, the arrests, the censorship, even Tito’s death. It would not be wrong to say that the punk movement in Yugoslavia helped society further open up to the concept of revolution, and this is perhaps where its strongest appeal lies: in the manifestation that, yes, punk can be more than just music, concerts and records; that, in fact, punk was and can still be a powerful force of social change. In his introduction to the Pekinska Patka interview for MRR in 2010, Spencer Rangitsch says that they “didn’t just ‘push the envelope’ of what was deemed socially and politically acceptable, they also broke boundaries in radical ways which helped create new spaces and possibilities for a youth subculture to thrive.” And that sounds pretty fucking punk to me.

Quod Massacre

These is much to be said about this unique time and place, and my short introduction is by no means a comprehensive deposition of all the facts—one could fill books and books and still have more to say. This was, however, the most relevant information I found, in large thanks to the aforementioned paper by Gregor Tomc. There is probably less written about punk in Yugoslavia during the Yugoslav wars that followed Tito’s death, but that is not to say that it did not exist. The idea behind this Ex-Yugo Special is to learn more about how and why punk erupted in Yugoslavia under socialism, and to shed more light onto how punk survives during and after wartime. Hopefully in the process we can broaden our horizon of punk history, helping us better frame our own perceptions of it. One of the most important characteristics of punk, for me, is the realization that, since we chose to create, and thus define the culture we engage in and the life we lead, then it is also up to us to preserve and document it. I am honoured to be able to offer these pages to some of the unsung progressives of the first wave of punk, and in doing so express my admiration for their contributions to it. Ladies and germs, Slovenia.

I have put together a shortlist of some of my favourite Slovenian punk songs. Not a comprehensive list by any stretch, as there are many bands missing, but here you go anyway. In no particular order:

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