ADVENTSGAVE DEL 2: Punk Rock is Freedom – The Gig That Changed the World

ADVENTSGAVE DEL 2: Punk Rock is Freedom – The Gig That Changed the World

Adventsgave del 2: Uddrag fra GAFFA-skribent Henrik Tuxens nye bog Punk Rock is Freedom.

Sex Pistols – Joy Division – Peter Hook – Kurt Cobain

Da Kurt Cobain fandt punk, fandt han hjem, hvilket han udtrykte gennem resten af livet, blandt andet via udsagnet "Punk Rock is Freedom".

Det skete for alvor i 1984 for Kurt via vennen og rollemodellen Buzz Osbourne fra The Melvins. Det eneste reelle punkband fra hjembyen Aberdeen, WA. Senere på året så han vennerne Black Flag med Henry Rollins i front i Seattle, og Cobains skæbne var beseglet.

Otte år tidligere fandt en genre-definerende koncert sted i Manchester, England. Peter Hook (Joy Division/New Order) var der. Han fortalte mig hele historien om koncerten. Tjek et uddrag af Hooks fortælling her og få den fulde historie, når Punk Rock is Freedom udkommer.

LÆS OGSÅ: GAFFA-skribent udgiver bog om Kurt Cobain – baseret på samtaler med ikoner


42 drunk kids going nowhere

June 4th, 1976. The Sex Pistols play at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall. There were 42 people in the audience, and neither the band on stage, nor the young, generally drunk, crowd in the audience, had any particular skills with musical instruments. Nevertheless the exact same people would in a few years become central figures in the punk scene, and a string of significant bands and artists would emerge from this tiny crowd, which set the course for British music in the 80s, many of which are still active and influential today. ...

Pete Shelley and Howard DeVoto didn’t just see The Sex Pistols’ gig in Manchester, they arranged it. In fact, they formed The Buzzcocks the day after Johnny Rotten spat at them and told them to fuck off at Lesser Free Trade Hall. (Kurt greatly appreciated The Buzzcocks, and had plenty to do with the band in the latter part of his life. They toured as a supporting act on the very last Nirvana tour. Kurt was a fan and would frequently hang out backstage with the British punk pioneers (for instance as filmed by Mark Slade in Toulouse, France 10, 2, 1994, uploaded in 2010.

Mark E. Smith, who would later form The Fall was there. Ludus, A Certain Ratio and Magazine were formed by people from this crowd. Mick Hucknall, Mr. Simply Red (maybe not exactly punk rock) was there, Morrissey, who would later form The Smiths was also verbally and musically attacked by Johnny Rotten that night. Producer Martin Hannett, as well as his friend Tony Wilson, were in the crowd. Together they formed Factory Records (Wilson being the main character portrayed in the film, 24 Hour Party People).

Ian Curtis, the voice of Joy Division, who tragically hung himself just a few years later at the age of 22, notoriously known for the all time classic Love Will Tear Us Apart, was there. And so were his later mates, the two 20 year olds Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook, who subsequently formed Joy Division, and later on had a long career together in New Order. Peter “Hooky” Hook’s conclusion about what happened that night was pretty clear: “We came in as kids, we walked out as punks.”

Peter Hook: Me and Barney (Bernhard Sumner) had read about the show, and thought, that we had to go and check it out. But we had no idea as of what to expect. We thought that it probably would be more crazy than normal. But the support act was a heavy metal band, pretty normal, and then came The Sex Pistols, which was totally different. The most shocking was the attitude towards the audience, that type of “fuck you attitude” was something I’d never seen before.

I’d seen David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, I loved those artists, but it was totally unthinkable that me, or any of my friends, would ever be able to play or perform like them. We came to the show as kids and we went out like punks. And even though none of us could play, it didn’t matter one bit. We all, not only went out and made new bands, we’d all play our own shows within just a matter of a few weeks. And the inspiration for all of this was Johnny Rotten yelling “fuck you” at us, from stage. It was like we collectively thought, “You know what, if he can do it, so can we.”


Sex Pistols blew everyone away that night, one can hardly imagine how great and amazing the band must have sounded that night. Or more precisely as Hooky puts it:

Peter Hook: It sounded like shit, it was terrible, and everybody in the audience was in shock. But it was the attitude, the spirit, which was so different than any one of us had ever seen or experienced before. To see Johnny Rotten as a lead singer was directly terrifying.

Did you know any of the other guys there, Morrissey, Pete Shelley, Mark E. Smith?

Peter Hook: No, not one of them. What brought us together that night was the music, and the curiosity towards the new. I was there with Barney and two friends. When I came home I told my dad, 

“I’m a punk now and I wanna play music.” “That will probably last a week or two, and then you’ll be back replying for a regular job again,” he replied. Well, so far it has lasted more than 40 years.

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