Image for Ten Punk Rock Bands That Changed Me

Aug 15

Ten Punk Rock Bands That Changed Me


  1. Fugazi – The defining band of my high school experience, I saw Fugazi live at The Anthrax in Norwalk, CT and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

  2. Dead Kennedys – This is the first punk band I got excited about. We called it hardcore and considered punk to be the older stuff (like the Sex Pistols). Chuck D and Jello Biafra remind me of each other: distinct and memorable voices, powerful personalities, heavy on the political content, a balance of fun and serious and angry, great frontmen who couldn’t sing a lick in the traditional way.

  3. Nomeansno – All those east coast post punk bands were so serious it was great to hear this west coast band and realize that you could have a good time while creating this music and that the fun would be reflected in the music.

  4. The Clash –  I was a late-comer to The Clash. Rock the Casbah seemed way too pop slick for me to like at first and that made me ignore the rest. I got over it and spent a long time listening to London Calling over and over.

  5. Gang of Four – I was a late-comer to Gang of Four as well, but unlike The Clash I liked them immediately. I finally heard the roots of all the DC Hardcore I had been listening to.

  6. Minutemen – Mike Watt was a great hero to my bass player friend in college so I heard a lot of him. Watt’s followup band, Firehose, was just ok in the studio, but great live.

  7. Nation of Ulysses –  Never saw them live, but they recorded one of my favorite live albums, “Play Pretty for Baby.” Little Richard meets punk fury.

  8. Big Horny Hustler – One of my favorite shows by one of my favorite Austin bands at one of my favorite (now defunct) Austin clubs: Buzz Moran, Tony Nozero, Julian Peterson, and the ferocious August Alston tore up the Blue Flamingo in the late 90’s.

  9. Rapeman/Shellac – Steve Albini’s bands were always strong and even more importantly his incredible recordings are a pinnacle of indie engineering. He set the standard, though I’m not sure anyone has matched it.

  10. Le Tigre – I’ve seen them live. I have several albums. But really it’s one song, “Deceptacon”, that put them on this list. It became a Rude Mech standard, was played at every party for ten years, and captured the intense but fun, rebellious but friendly, political and intellectual but ready to party energy that defines Austin’s greatest theater company.