The Horseshoe Tavern Presents
370 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON, M5V 2A2
Doors 9:00 PM
This event is 19 and over
The birth of Rock 'n Roll in the 50's revitalized pop music. It spoke the language of a generation that was tired of Perry Como and Patti Page. It was energetic, danceable, and most importantly, rebellious. Over the next decade it not only paved the way for legends like The Beatles and Elvis, but inspired lifestyle, fashion, and even provided a voice for the peace movement. But any candle that burned as bright as the spirit of Rock 'n Roll was bound to burn out; especially once the establishment realized it's potential to create wealth.
By the early 70's, the "music industry" had split the genre in order to focus their marketing efforts. "Rock" music was dominated by progressive artists like Led Zeppelin and Yes, while corporate acts like Foreigner and Toto were developed in the farm leagues. Dance became Disco, provided by faceless studio-only projects. And older, established artists like Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder traded in their creativity for multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts. The time was right to give Rock 'n Roll back to the streets… and back to the artists.
By 1973, the world was hearing and seeing the first signs of a fresh, new musical revolution; a movement that would become the most influential since the inception of Rock 'n Roll. A movement that promoted spontaneity and individuality. A movement that inspired radical attitudes and fashions. And a movement that would save the music world from stagnation. Technically it was basic three chord rock 'n roll, but artistically it encouraged the "do-it-yourself" process by bypassing the corporate machine and inviting any and all comers. And there were many. "Scenes" simultaneously exploded in three international centres (London, New York, and Toronto), each making their contribution to the movement. Success by major bands, The Sex Pistols and The Clash (London), Ramones and New York Dolls (New York), and Teenage Head (Toronto), established credibility for the movement. While it would later evolve (New Wave) and proliferate into many sub-genres, punk was not going to go away before turning the music industry on it's head.
Over the years, the impact of "punk" became evident. From a process point of view, it managed to redefine the industry's infrastructure and establish independent labels as the most effective way of developing new artists; a route which has brought us the likes of U2 and REM. In spirit, it encouraged "grunge", a movement spearheaded by Nirvana, that has single-handedly established the catch-all "alternative" genre as a music market to be reckoned with.
But what about the artists that helped further the "punk" revolution? Were they victims of their own naivete and inexperience? Unfortunately, most were and ended up in the rock 'n roll trash heap. Some went even further and lost their lives to the demons that come with success (Sid Vicious-Sex Pistols, Johnny Thunders-New York Dolls). Those that did survive, actually escaped… having merely used punk/new wave as a stepping stone. David Byrne (Talking Heads) and Paul Weller (The Jam), are successfully pursuing other musical styles. Mick Jones, ex of The Clash, used his project Big Audio Dynamite to explore and develop the technique of music sampling. And Danny Elfman, leader of the Los Angeles based new wave band Oingo Boingo has had great success scoring numerous major motion pictures (Batman, Beetlejuice).
Today, the influence of "punk" is more evident than ever, especially with the success of Green Day and Sum 41; two modern day punkish bands that could have easily held their own back then. As for those that were part of the original three city scenes, only two have survived the test to time; The Ramones and Canada's own, Teenage Head.
Advance tickets also available at The Horseshoe front bar, Rotate This & Soundscapes