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Never Mind the Buzzwords

A (grossly abridged) A-to-Z punk glossary.

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Allin, GG: All-time gnarliest punk. Flung his own excrement into the crowd at what became his final show in 1993. Later that night he OD’ed at a friend’s Lower East Side apartment.

Biafra, Jello: Former Dead Kennedys front man, unsuccessful 1979 San Francisco mayoral candidate, and arch-nemesis of Tipper Gore.

Bromley Contingent: London gang (by way of Bromley) that latched onto the Sex Pistols. Included Siouxsie Sioux and Billy Idol.

Carbona: Cleaning solvent sniffed by several Ramones, as explained in the 1977 song “Carbona Not Glue.” Dropped from the album Leave Home to avoid a potential lawsuit.

Carroll, Jim: High-school basketball star turned heroin addict turned punk poet played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the 1995 film The Basketball Diaries. He died in 2009.

Cervenka, Exene: Punk goddess and vocalist of the band X. From 1987 to 1998, she was married to actor Viggo Mortensen.

Chucks: Chuck Taylors by Converse, punk’s shoe of choice. Fun to write on with Wite-Out.

Crash, Darby: Charismatic Germs vocalist, whose 1980 suicide went largely unnoticed by the music press, since he OD’ed the day before the murder of John Lennon.

Danzig, Glenn: Former vocalist of the Misfits. Claims that he was in the running to play Wolverine in the X-Men movies.

Econoline: Ford van. Punk’s main mode of transportation. Called “boats” by Mike Watt of the Minutemen.

Fear: L.A.-based hardcore band that played on SNL in 1981 at the insistence of John Belushi; caused $2,500 worth of damage; not invited back.

53rd and Third: Where Dee Dee Ramone allegedly hustled. Inspired the song of the same name.

430 King’s Road: The address of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s London boutique, known at various times as Let It Rock; Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die; Sex; and Seditionaries.

Gabba Gabba Hey: Ramones rallying cry, inspired by a phrase from the 1932 cult flick Freaks.

Get in the Van: Black Flag tour diary written by Henry Rollins. Required reading.


Gobbing  

Gobbing: Hocking a loogie on a band out of respect. Chiefly British.

Grundy, Bill: British TV host. Drunkenly interviewed the Sex Pistols in 1976. Called a “fucking rotter” on air by guitarist Steve Jones. This effectively torpedoed Grundy’s career, helped catapult the band to fame, and inspired the Daily Mirror headline “The Filth and the Fury.”

Hedgecore: Late-eighties activity in which punks roamed the suburbs diving into bushes. Precursor to Jackass.



Iggy Pop  

Iggy Pop: The Ur-punk.




Just Kids: Patti Smith’s memoir; she once said she’d like to see Kristen Stewart play her and Robert Pattinson as Robert Mapplethorpe.





Liberty Spikes  

Liberty spikes: Hairstyle reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty’s crown.

London Calling: Double LP by the Clash. Fused punk with reggae and funk.

Lunch, Lydia: Founded New York No Wave pioneers Teenage Jesus and the Jerks in 1976. Got name because she’d bring snacks to the hungry downtown musicians.

MacKaye, Ian: D.C. hardcore straight-edge vegan legend. Minor Threat and Fugazi front man. Now plays with wife Amy Farina in the Evens.

Mall punk: Hot Topic–clad, My Chemical Romance–adoring teen movement. Must be picked up by mom near Sbarro’s at 6 p.m.

Manitoba’s: East Village dive owned by Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators.

Mathcore: Subgenre named after complex time signatures in its songs. Shredded by Canadian prog punks Nomeansno.

The ’Mats: After a series of particularly bad shows, the Replacements were nicknamed the Placemats. The name stuck and is lovingly used by its fans.

Maximumrocknroll: Influential Bay Area zine started in 1982. Punk’s bible. Still publishes. Still uses dirt-cheap newsprint.

Neo-hardcore: Catchall for current bands carrying the torch, like New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus and Brooklyn’s Violent Bullshit.

1991: The Year Punk Broke: Sonic Youth tour documentary, more notable for chronicling the ascent of opening act Nirvana.

924 Gilman: Berkeley all-ages club that birthed Green Day. Jello Biafra was attacked there in 1994 for supposedly being a sellout.

100 Club: London jazz venue that hosted a two-day punk festival in 1976 featuring the Sex Pistols, the Damned, and the Buzzcocks. The concerts (and an incident at a show where a girl was partially blinded by a piece of thrown glass) gave punk exposure in the mainstream press.

Peel Sessions: Important BBC live sets hosted by John Peel from 1967 to 2004.

Pussy Riot: Putin nemeses and victims. Madonna occasionally scrawls the band’s name on her body in solidarity.

Queercore: LGBT punk subgenre. E.g., Pansy Division.


Riot Grrrl  

Riot grrrl: Early-nineties feminist-activist movement, spurred on by bands like Bikini Kill.

Rock Against Reagan: Series of politically charged 198o’s concerts. Featured performances by the Dead Kennedys, MDC, and a fledgling comic named Whoopi Goldberg.

Seapunk: Current aquatic-themed trend popular with turquoise-haired, Tumblr-addicted millennials.

Selling out: Perfected by the Clash on Combat Rock.

Slam-dancing: Forbidden at Fugazi shows.

Sparks, Donita: L7’s front woman. At the 1992 Reading Festival, she pulled out a used tampon and chucked it at the audience.

Spungen, Nancy: Sid Vicious’s girlfriend. Found dead at the Chelsea Hotel in 1978, possibly killed by Sid. Courtney Love lobbied to play her in Sid and Nancy, but ended up playing Gretchen, a junkie pal of the couple.

Zen Arcade: The seminal, narrative-driven 1984 double LP by Hüsker Dü.


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