I was discussing the Surf Punks with a friend the other day and he accused them of being a "fake" punk band. While I don't totally agree with that description, it did get me thinking about the idea of fake punk. And no, I don't mean bands like Blink182 and Something Corporate. I'm talking about an altogether different kind of poseur:
SECTION ONE: COMEDIC PARODIES
This is by far the most common source of fake punk. Ever since the birth of punk in the late 70's it's been popular for comedians to develop a punk rock persona. It's often very dull and tiresome but occasionally brilliant.
Gilda Radner - Candy Slice and the Slicers - "Hey Mick"
Cheech Marin - Alice Bowie - "Earache My Eye"
Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias were a comedy rock band in the 70's that spoofed many bands, including The Damned, Lou Reed, and the Sex Pistols. They became so popular for a period of time that they were headlining bills with Blondie and The Stranglers as support.
SNL - Crisis of Conformity - "Fist Fight"
SCTV - The Queen Haters - "I Hate the Bloody Queen"
...which is very similar to this one:
Mighty Boosh - Terminal Margaret - "I Did a Shit On Your Mom"
SECTION TWO: DRAMATIC PARODIES
Occasionally, television and movie directors will use punk clubs to create an "edgy" or "dangerous" atmosphere. If they're smart they hire a real punk band (i.e. Agent Orange on 21 Jump Street). Most of the time, if they try to "create" a punk band, they miss the mark entirely and have dudes in makeup and leather playing wimpy synth music. There are, however, a few exceptions.
Quincy - Mayhem - "Choke"
CHiPs - Pain - "Pain"
SECTION THREE: UN-PUNK BANDS PLAYING PUNK
You may recognize this track from Killed By Death #2. Freestone was bunch of Frisco hippies. They wrote "Bummer Bitch" in a failed attempt to take the piss out of punk rock. Little did they realize they recorded one of the greatest punk songs of all time!
According to Doug Graves, Puke Spit and Guts were a group of heshers who put out a few decent punk singles in an attempt to mock the genre.
Anarchy Six was Redd Kross' fake hardcore band.
My #1 favorite song I'd like to share with you comes from a very unlikely source. After the fall of disco (which came not a moment too soon), the Village People needed to find a new direction in order to keep their career afloat. In 1981, they painted themselves up like Bowie in the "Ashes to Ashes" video and released the ill-conceived Renaissance in an attempt to cash in on new wave. The album is horrible (even by Village People standards) but the last track is a true punk gem. "Food Fight" comes across like a Weird Al parody of Devo as played by Plastic Bertrand. It's short, it's fast, and it's catchy as fuck. But you don't have to take my word for it. Have a listen for yourself.
So how is it that so many of these fake punk songs are so good? It's because good punk rock is funny. Seriously, we're talking about a genre of music that involves dressing up like a clown, strapping on an instrument you barely know how to play, and throwing a temper tantrum on stage for twenty minutes. Oi!
Bonus: this doesn't quite qualify for the list but I thought I'd share it anyway.
ISOTOPE THIS WEEK
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