Top 50 Punk Bands, a State-by-State Breakdown, Part Four: New Mexico to South Carolina
Hey there, and thank you for trucking through the last three entries into this exploration of early American punk rock and my picks for state representation! So far we've managed to not offend too many people with more obscure sensibilities and provided some good clues for your own personal musical explorations. Today's entries will take us into some tough territories, but we'd like to think there are some good ones here; because we who labor at the Grind pride ourselves on being entertaining and educational.
The Grackles - "Who Needs Wildlife Anyway?"
Nowadays, Albuquerque is better-known for Walter White's "blue meth" exploits, but for a short while there in the dying days of the '70s, the kids were more concerned with the rampant overabundance of wild animals. Could this be a justification for unlicensed hunting? Maybe not, but it certainly packs enough snootiness to rattle some PC bones.
NY Niggers - "Headliner"
I originally came across this lone seven-inch by the NY Niggers via the Killed by Death compilation featuring our beloved Eat. Nomenclature aside, there's a bit of a mystery surrounding this mixed-race outfit, since there were three bands at the time using the "N" word. One plausible explanation is that this is a Detroit band, relocated and rechristened, adding "NY." Regardless of which, it's a jam and a half and not the NY band you would've wanted us to include here. Ha!
Village Pistols - "Big Money"
Out of 1981 Greensboro, the Village Pistols' members have maintained some presence in North Carolina's music scene in one way or another over the years. The B-side to this seven-inch is a bizarre cover of the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever," and the album that exists is just a rerelease of the single plus some live stuff.
Big Bucks Band - "It's Not Enough"/"Matrimonialmetamorphosyphilis"
North Dakota was a hard one to bring to fruition, and we apologize for not having a video or file embedded here. Seems like the only kids in the state making an early racket were the dudes in the Big Bucks Band, and you can hear both songs off their lone seven-inch here. The second track is everything you'd want it to be.
The Pagans - "Street Where Nobody Lives"
Wow, Ohio and Cleveland in particular could potentially be the ground zero for American punk rock, giving other scenes a veritable run for their measly monies. We could go with the Dead Boys, but they are more entwined with NYC by this point. However, you can't go wrong with one of the earliest outfits in the genre that did it right, The Pagans.
Los Reactors - "Dead in the Suburbs"
Tulsa's Los Reactors liked that Question Mark vibe and were certainly railing against their quiet suburban living. A bit on the harder wave tip, but with enough rock 'n' roll flair to make it a fun listen today!
Poison Idea - "Punish Me"
Why go with the Styphnoids or the Wipers when I wouldn't be able to sleep with my formerly obese self if I didn't include the almighty Poison Idea here? Pound for pound, the greatest punk rockers of all time. If you can threaten ears, religious sensibilities, small nations, and every single all-you-can-eat buffet that you know of in one fell swoop, how can you not give these guys the title?
Craig Bevan and the Tourists - "Modern Boys"/"Businessman's Bounce"
Out of Wilkes-Barre and nowhere near a beach, these surf-friendly, clean-cut American boys have a fun and polished sound you'd be hard-pressed to find outside of the Poconos. Jangly and jaunty with the jaundice of living between the worlds of surf-punk and danceable new wave, you can pick up their discography here.
The Nads - "Blame It on the Priests"
These seemingly clean-cut former altar boys clearly have inside knowledge of the church's misgivings. It's OK power-pop with an idea that could benefit from a little more fuzz.
Nick Pagan enjoyed Columbia's college scene as a solo recording artist and as a member of the Fanatics and Nervous Tension. It is unfortunate that all we could find is this little bit of "investigative" reporting curio from a local S.C. station. Please cringe at the interviews and facial expressions of these former young adults.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.