The Punk (which was often pronounced “paink” in many places) French in its infancy: a copy not really consistent with the original.
Stammering, swarming with variable geometry, chaotic anarchy for real, bad intentions transformed into good; this is how punk rock (or at least what came closest to it) was, for the first time, adapted to our little hexagonal sauce. No network a minimum active – distributor of records or circuit of concerts – to diffuse it, hostility of previous generations (or worse, compassion, even paternalism …), nothing and nobody to make the link between the few isolated small groups first inhabited by the passion of a supposed real rock (the desire to terrorize the neighborhood came soon after) and who, each in their corner, tried to challenge their small province or their big slumped city center. Which of course did not care …
It was not a movement, contrary to what later will be told in articles or idle books, it was just for some a sincere attempt, inevitably doomed to failure in a country like that one (that of Giscard or Mitterrand, which for us was the same) to bring together the nasty use of guitars with an unfathomable disgust of everything and a boredom that undermined as much as they fed the daily teenager . Or, for slightly older, post-adolescent.
It was happening in Marmande, Reims, Lyon, Paris or elsewhere. But even when you thought you were in the eye of one of the cyclones (as far as I’m concerned, a small record shop ” at the forefront ” in Normandy where I was a salesman), we did not know everything, or almost everything that was going on elsewhere. We knew better the last 45T released in London by Stiff or Chiswick Records than those of Strychnine in Bordeaux or Sex in Pile in Lyon.
That said, in a selfish way, we did not care a bit, since in our perimeter “eye cyclone” there was already enough to be satisfied: Little Bob Story in Le Havre (the group that before all the others brought rock in the provinces furthest away and the least well endowed), the Dogs in Rouen and the suite, with far more personal implications, Olivensteins, Gloires Locales or Nouveaux Riches … In addition, as The Clash had given, in April 77, his first French concert in the area (the same season when the Stranglers and Ramones had occurred within 80kms), we had plenty of enough to satisfy ourselves without going to see very far. The area has been a beautiful hub for quite some time now since Dr. Feelgood not yet well known, Eddie & The Hot Rods and even The Snakes, the first group of a future Wire, had been there in the unfussy days of Pub-Rock. The local excitement was there, the formation of innumerable new groups followed naturally.
Discover what was happening elsewhere, everywhere in this Hexagon so sadly rigid, so sadly French (because, even if we sang by default ” in the language “, we renounced almost everything that could be linked to it, Gainsbourg, Ferré or Lavilliers: all old cons, all the same …) is obviously one of the great interests of this compilation of French Punk Anthems which covers the years 1977 (Dogs, Gasoline) to 1982 (Coronados, Soggy) … The only really exhilarating, because those who struggled in their local rehearsals did not yet seek to lock themselves in a perfectly defined trend; alternative rock , standardized punk or revival garage Sixties. They were doing their thing: free in their choices with fixed desires but open to the imagination, clumsy (but they would never have sought advice from others), sure of their words, their knowledge, their superiority over the cheesy, but also their appearance that said everything: Perfectos already grated for some, pointy boots with elastic and false tweed jacket for others, zipped clothes brought from Kings Road for the richest. Common denominators: narrow futes, badges and almost mandatory black color. And, like Electochoc, group of Marmande so symptomatic of the moment (1978), a repertoire rarely made up of songs of molly love …
To see what the original Paink look was all about, just look at the public photos of the two festivals (1976/1977) called European Punkfrom Mont-de-Marsan (where Strychnine appeared as a neighbor under the dodger). It is not the cousins of Johnny Rotten that we see, but an improbable Mexican army with a strong provincial accent, made of odds and ends (the hair still long or cut during the trip) and pitcher (the huge badges and zonard leather jackets, more Renaud than Clash). Of course, the music played by those in this small crowd played together: the shadow of the boogie was there, like the idea that rock to be violent had to be a hard minimum (which explains elsewhere the triumph at Mont-de-Marsan, second edition, of the ex Ducks Deluxe, Sean Tyla, not punk at all but fat everywhere).
A heavy and suburban HLM trend that compiles FRENCH PUNK ANTHEMS 1977-1982 does not forget: Soggy, of Reims, (some of its members had previously played in groups called Antichrist or Hardfuckers, which already summarizes the point) being the perfect archetype of the genre: Marshall amps, cover of “I Wanna be your Dog” as a reminder, incessant galleys and article in Best that makes the happiness of the group and its relatives but which is strictly for nothing …
The province has produced heaps of this caliber, episodic regional celebrities who despite the eagerness to stand out never went very far but recorded, with the money earned in the gigs of MJC, their small self-produced 45T, missed for export but endearing because of its accidental side and its uncontrolled use of the recording studio. Even if the Punk rock had not jostled the data of the time, many of them would still have existed: They were driven by such a desire to rush into the heap that they would have anyway sought to play all the night before their tour truck lets them go one last time on any departmental road. But as, in addition, they had just discovered the first LP Ramones, their aggressiveness had multiplied.
The Dogs, were of those, even if they did not come from a periphery with chimneys of factories but of a rather opulent place. Sincere, elegant and strident, they had the Kinks and Pretty Things as references and, like everyone else at that time, the Stooges and New York Dolls. They were the first to release their record independently, on a label created for the occasion by the record store of their city (Rouen …). Which later became a bubbling activity area. Olivensteins, Local Glories, and New Riches emerged from the same cauldron. They were quite different from each other, but all had the common point of not copying too closely the trends of the moment (” I do not want catalogs, stuff worn out of fashionable stuff As local Glory sings). They sought rather to do the best possible with their originality (a synthesizer and a sax at Les Nouveaux Riches, an excellent singer – Gilles Tandy – at the other two). In the end, there was always the desire to want to shock by having fun with a second degree that everyone, even among their fans, did not necessarily understand.
Cultivated because they spent a lot of time at the record store listening to everything, old garage bands Sixties or latest find of the Rough Trade label recorded in a puppy. They did their thing stupidly, instinctively even though he was rich in sometimes bizarre references (from Bob Dylan to Television via Count Five, The Fall or Louis Ferdinand Céline). The Olivensteins, then known for their “Euthanasia” and “Proud to do nothing” (reissued by Born Bad in 2011) had other ambitions than to be confined to rudimentary punk rock, football refrains or union rallies , which was beginning to be in the early 80s and that would later stupidly phagocyte the genre.
The Paris scene of the time was also turbulent. Never too far from the Gibus Club where most things were born and finished and on a media floor below those most frequently mentioned in trendy parties and parties, Asphalt Jungle or Metal Urbain, others (but not that much in reality) were busy in their corner. Stooges fans like Guilty Razors actually sounded like Spiral Scratch’s Buzzcocks .Ruth Elyeri, parallel project of a musician usually versed in the experimental tinkered (Thierry Muller) discovered on the first compile punk French “125 grams of 33t”. The Warm Gun, more traditionally rock but excellent, made an EP that should logically hang the ears but appeared in a totally unfair indifference. There was also Gasoline, and its productions to the endists (a little Pistols nique adapted to the reality of the Capital), built around Alain Kan; figure of the Underground who had previously tried at Cabaret and Glam Rock. On the whole, a real tote as alive as disparate, in which JB Born Bad did well to add “Dégégée” of Marie-France, another unusual personality of the local nights.
The Coronados, although appeared later (in 1982), are also present on PAINK ( FRENCH PUNK ANTHEMS 1977-1982). A logical choice and quite emblematic, since with their sound that came from the back of the garage, their stylish look and their wide influences, which included both the Sonics, Kevin Ayers, Dogs and Captain Beefheart, they summed up perfectly by themselves. intensity, excitement and diversity of the past five years in the margin. None of the groups present on this compilation having of course never known the real success.