I think it possible that the first time I heard the word punk in a rock sense was hearing The Tubes’ White Punks on Dope in the summer of 1976. Or maybe I should go through my basement full of Interview and NME mags to find an earlier citation.
Well, I know Alan Vega is credited with first usage, from years earlier, but whatever. I loved the Tubes song, which of course has nothing to do with punk rock and everything to do with glam, and which isn’t really available on YouTube, but this cover is a reminder about just how flamboyant and alive the rock scene was in a city like NY (or Berlin) in 1978.
Yeah, punk rockers, but they gladly shared the space with theatrical personalities like Nina Hagen and Klaus Nomi and bands like the Tubes. And at that queer moment in history there was no AIDS and the dominant culture thought the next big thing might come from anywhere, and everyone would embrace it. Like this:
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