The 25 Most Influential Punk Bands

artist: misc date: 07/31/2007 category: general music news
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The 25 Most Influential Punk Bands
Shoutmouth writer has put together a list of the 25 Most Influential Punk Bands, and included both video and music streams along with an explanation for their placement on the list. Check out excerpts below:

25. Crimpshrine

You probably haven't heard of this band, as they had a very short career and their drummer, Aaron Cometbus, was better known as a writer, due to his zine "Cometbus." That said, they were one of the innovators of the California Bay Area sound, and a staple at the legendary venue, 924 Gilman Street. You may recognize that for many reasons, but most notably because that's where Green Day got their start. Incidentally, Crimpshrine is one of the most direct influences on said band.

23. 7 Seconds

7 Seconds helped bring the straight edge message to a softer crowd than Minor Threat being that they were one of the earlier pioneers of what is now known as pop-punk, but also were one of the earlier punk bands to put environmental messages into their music -- and this was in the early 1980s when it wasn't in vogue like it is today.

22. AFI

AFI is another band that started out playing straightforward, Southern California punk -- a sound emulated by countless bands. Over their career, they have evolved with each album, showing that a punk band can not only change, but stay true to their sound at the same time. This slot, based on this logic, could also have gone to Green Day, but to be honest, Green Day had some rough times and pulled off a comeback. AFI have been on a constant rise through their career, and as such, eeked out the honors.

20. Social Distortion

Somebody had to bridge the gap between rockabilly and punk. Although their earliest work was straight up punk, Social Distortion was one of the first bands to really fuse punk rock with classic, bluesy, rockabilly sounds and the aesthetic that went along with it.

18. The Stooges

The Stooges did more than just make punk rock; Iggy played with blenders and vacuum cleaners to create sounds. He experimented. He was a strange, skinny, terrifying [but kind of sexy]creature, gyrating around the stage, covered in food, blood, and whatever else he could get his hands on. Their live performances make them far more influential than their actual music, though most bands will credit them with influencing them on some level.

16. Dead Kennedys

They were one of the first bands to use deliberately shocking lyrics to draw attention to the real problems they were singing about. While fusing more experimental music styles with the traditional US punk sound, they took punk rock aggression to a new level. They also managed to be so wildly offensive -- despite not reaching a mainstream audience -- they faced criminal charges for "distribution of harmful matter to minors," and even went to trial over the matter.

15. Joy Division

A lot of people think of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" as the definitive Joy Division song, but much like many of the bands that ended up being slapped with the "goth" label, their earliest music was punk. Listen to "They Walked In Line," "Disorder," or "At A Later Date" and you will still hear the influences in modern music. Ian Curtis also deserves a lot of credit for being far more blunt and literal about sadness and depression than a lot of bands of the time were doing.

14. Bad Religion

You almost need a PHD yourself to decipher what this band is going on about, given the educational pursuits of the band's primary members, but they helped challenge the stereotype that punks are all stupid, influenced countless bands, spoke their minds, and of course, Mr. Brett using his experience to found Epitaph Records makes them one of the most important bands in the history of punk.

13. New York Dolls

The New York Dolls merged the gap between glam and punk, and did so seamlessly. I will maintain to my dying day that Johnny Thunders' work with the Heartbreakers was better, as was his solo work, but that is largely because he didn't go on to become "Buster Poindexter" and I really do hold that against David Johansen.

09. Black Flag

You have to wonder how this Henry Rollins is the same Henry Rollins of today, but the brains and the rage were always there -- he just manages to articulate himself a bit differently these days.

08. The Dickies

Without the Dickies, we'd likely never have had The Dead Milkmen, Screeching Weasel, NOFX, or countless other pop-punk bands that utilized higher-pitched nasal vocals and fused comedy into punk rock. I also think they tend to be overlooked, though I'm not sure why, because they solidly deserve to be in the top 10.

05. The Damned

The Damned help further punk rock worldwide -- largely by being the first to break into the US market via tours and releases, but they also helped start the goth sub-genre, which was much more closely tied to punk -- both in music and fashion -- in its early days than it is now.

04. The Clash

The Clash has always sounded more pop than a lot of their contemporaries, and I have a hard time thinking of their music, on the whole, as terribly "punk." That said, they were one of the most boldy political bands of their time and didn't shy away from sharing their views. This made them far more subversive than bands like the Sex Pistols or Misfits, because their music was more accessible to a more mainstream audience.

03. Misfits

This band's influence on punk is undeniable. Glenn Danzig's vocals changed the way people sang punk rock, and they were one of the first bands to really work horror movie type themes into music. If their early albums were released today, they would make headlines, due to "controversial" and "violent" lyrics.

02. Sex Pistols

A lot of people think this band "started it all," but the Ramones came first. Either way, it was really hard to rank the top 3.Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten played their roles as punk icons so well, the public was sucked in. A band with only one studio album usually would not have such a legacy; that's the beauty of the Sex Pistols.

01. Ramones

The Ramones are pretty much the definitive US punk band. Through the years, the band -- even with lineup changes -- always stayed true to their sound, their style, and what they set out to do -- make punk rock music. You have to respect that. As a side note, I actually came to know Dee Dee Ramone towards the end of his life, when I worked at a bookstore in NYC. He was one of the nicest people I have ever met, and I will always remember him with nothing but fondness. Be sure to read the entire article with video and audio material at this location.
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