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DamagedMusicality and Race in Early American Punk$
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Evan Rapport

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496831217

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2021

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496831217.001.0001

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“Less Art and More Machine”: The California Crucible

“Less Art and More Machine”: The California Crucible

(p.171) 6 “Less Art and More Machine”: The California Crucible

Evan Rapport

University Press of Mississippi

Early American punk had its most explicit identity crisis in Los Angeles during the late 1970s, and the sounds created in California during this time, including San Francisco, effectively defined American punk moving forward. Punk in Los Angeles in particular reflected some of the most extreme changes of the post-war era, with substantial migration, new development, and geographic segregation. California became the major site for debates over the meaning of punk styles, with growing tensions between older punks in the downtown or “Hollywood” scene, such as X and the Screamers, and the younger punks in suburban and beach areas, such as Circle Jerks and Black Flag, and ultimately, the style of suburban hardcore punk that was forged in California came to define punk for American listeners. It was in California where punk morphed from an expression of the sixties generation into a voice for Generation X heading into the 1980s. This chapter also takes a close look at punk’s relationship to violence, especially with respect to the confrontations between punks and the LAPD. The musical life of Latinx punks (and Chicano or Mexican American punks specifically) serves as a case study for further investigations of social and musical complexities in Los Angeles.

Keywords:   Los Angeles , hardcore, San Francisco, LAPD, Circle Jerks

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