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Writing Punk rock music

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by brawdylucas, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. brawdylucas


    Mar 14, 2012
    Anyone have any tips on writing punk rock style of music, my band is switching to this and ive looked at a couple bands and it seems like it has more moving bass lines and what not so any help would be appreciated
  2. Bert Slide

    Bert Slide

    May 16, 2012
    Louisville KY
    Punk rock has as many sub-genres as heavy metal these days so it's hard to generalize. What type of punk are you looking to do, who are your influences, etc.?

    It's super easy to write punk songs using some tried and true old formulas but it is more difficult to write unique music which is really what punk was all about before much of the scene was polluted by "Chickens##t Conformists Like Your Parents" (see Jello Biafra for more helpful insight).
  3. brawdylucas


    Mar 14, 2012
    some influences would be all time low and we the kings and its that type of music with the octave chords in d and the barred chords
  4. Bert Slide

    Bert Slide

    May 16, 2012
    Louisville KY

    OK I checked out those bands and I hate to generalize and categorize but it helps in the context of your question. I'd call All Time Low pop punk and I don't know if I'd call We the Kings punk at all, just pop. I listened to several of their tunes on youtube and frankly, Avril Lavigne is more punk than these guys. Not trying to start a war on what is punk or not, just my observation from 30 years in the mosh pits(which we used to call slam dancing which evolved from pogoing, but I won't bore you anymore with ancient history).

    Writing pop punk is really no different than writing any pop music. Catchy hooks are all important and writing songs with lyrics the audience can relate to and want to sing along with is critical. Write from your own experiences and remember love songs, no matter how sappy, will never go out of style.

    Playing pop punk is usually pretty easy. You may be called on for a few tasty fills and an occasional walking line but much of the time you will just be hammering it out on the root note. Check out Green Day and Blink 182 for good examples and for even more, dig into old pop and early rock stuff for inspiration like the Monkees, early Beatles, Kinks, Buddy Holly, Herman's Hermits, etc.

    The easy formula for making any song punk-like(ala Me First and the Gimme Gimmes-they are masters at doing this with cover songs) is to take the chord progression, speed it up and play it Ramones style, i.e. guitar plays fast choppy downstokes typically in unison with bass rolling out the root note while drummer plays that fast repetitive backbeat that's so familiar nowadays. Energy and attitude trump playing skill here so go nuts but still keep good time.

    Good luck with the project. Pop punk is fun and can even be quite profitable nowadays.

    P.S. If you ever decide to get into the heavier stuff and the history of punk and need some direction on what to search, let me know. I'm 47 and have been a fan since I was 17 and I could give you a whole laundry list of cool stuff to check out.
  5. noahw1


    Jul 22, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    Also, check out some NoMeansNo, Minutemen, Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, Descendents (or All), fugazi (post-punk but great basslines)

    But always remember punk is what you want it to be. It's been commercialized quite a bit since Nirvana broke and places like Hot Topic emerged but that doesn't mean punk is dead.

    Have fun with it!
  6. brawdylucas


    Mar 14, 2012
    Bertslide: Thank you i will defiantely be passing that on and listening to those bands and i am also into the heavier stuff which i use my schecter 5 string bass in drop b for but if i ever need more guidence i will be sure to contact you

    noahw1: thank you i will look those bands up aswell
  7. AFRO


    Aug 29, 2010
    Check out Rancid. Thier early 90s stuff was GREAT! Lets Go, and Out Come the Wolves were awesome albums. (Matt Freeman gets down sonn; not your average Root-5th stuff..Also, Operation Ivy..members turned into Rancid)

    Check out Minor Threat. most members from Fugazi are from this band (still post punk, but early post punk)

    Plus 1 to Bad Brains, and Fugazi..all their "Shizzle" is good

    If you like those may also like: The Clash, get a greatist hits. 88fingers Louie 'Behind Bars'. NOFX. 'Punk In Drublic' and 'Heavy Petting Zoo' (Fat Mike is awesome) Pennywise, I think it was 'Full circle'. Offspring. 'Smash' Fishbone 'Chimm Chimm's Bad Ass Revenge'. Black Flag, best of. etc..

    have fun.:bassist:
  8. Bert Slide

    Bert Slide

    May 16, 2012
    Louisville KY
    I put this timeline together for a young bassist interested in punk music and it's history. It's off the top of my head so it's not totally accurate and I know I left a lot of great bands off but it still may be a helpful resource for anyone interested in exploring the wild world of punk rock.

    Pre-punk 60's garage bands and surf rock:
    The Bomboras
    The Invisible Men
    The Mummies(not the modern day Here Come the Mummies)
    The Ghastly Ones
    Dick Dale

    Late 60's punk pioneers
    Velvet Underground

    Early 70's Glam rock
    New York Dolls
    David Bowie
    Alice Cooper

    70's New York scene: Max's Kansas City and CBGB's venues
    Talking Heads
    Dead Boys
    Patti Smith
    Wayne County
    The Dictators
    The Heartbrakers(Johhny Thunders not Tom Petty's band)

    70's British scene
    Sex Pistols
    The Damned
    Stiff little Fingers
    Sham 69
    Siouxie and the Banshees
    Sham 69
    X-ray Specs
    Generation X
    Ian Drury and the Blockheads
    The Jam
    The Stranglers
    UK Subs
    The Vibrators
    The Slits

    Late 70's to 80's-American Hardcore and some other unclassifiable stuff
    Dead Kennedys
    Agent Orange
    Bad Brains
    The Germs
    Circle Jerks
    Minor Threat
    Operation Ivy
    Angry Samoans
    Bad Religion
    Social Distortion
    Dead Milkmen
    T.S.O.L (True Sounds of Liberty)
    Reagan Youth
    Suicidal Tendencies
    Husker Du

    1991-Grunge goes mainstream with Nirvana
    You've probably heard Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots but check out these jems from the Seattle scene of that era:
    Big Black

    I'll stop there and I've just been rattling these off the top of my head so I am leaving out a lot but that should give you plenty of great tunes to check out.

    Here's some youtube links to documentaries that will give you more info:

    "Minutemen: We jam Econo" great doc on one of my faves. This is the whole movie above.

    Anyway, there's much more out there you'll find when searching this stuff. Search any spoken word stuff or interviews on youtube for Jello Biafra or Ian Mckaye or Henry Rollins. These guys are all great at verbalizing what the punk scene was all about.
  9. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    been relistening to man or astroman, nation of ulysses, big black, peechees, born against, jesus lizard, don caballero, brainiac, and the mummies
  10. Pick 3 to 4 random numbers between 1 and 10. Play the frets associated with those numbers.

    You're Welcome!
  11. LayDownABoogie


    Jan 3, 2012
    LOL. I swear that's how they do it.

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