What is Pop-Punk?
Pop-Punk is what you could call a “fusion genre” as it combines various elements from both punk rock music and pop music. This is typically created using fast punk tempos, chord changes and loud guitars with pop-influenced melodies and lyrical themes. It originally started in the mid to late 70’s with a few bands, including The Buzzcocks and the Undertones. However, it didn’t earn popular acceptance until the early to mid 90’s when bands such as Green Day, Weezer and The Offspring started gaining commercial success.
What is Skate-Punk?
Also known as Skate Rock or Skatecore, Skate-Punk is a sub genre of Punk Rock which originally emerged in the 1980’s as a derivative of the West Coast hardcore punk scene, where skateboarding was becoming the new form of rebellion. It was first started by bands such as Big Boys, JFA and NOFX, who played loud and fast music that was designed to match the intensity of skateboarding. However, it didn’t expand and rise in popularity until the 1990’s where it evolved to become more melodic and even started to gain commercial success with artists such as Sum 41, Avril Lavigne and early Blink-182. This may have partially been due to Pop-Punk’s rising popularity at that time, considering their similar sounds.
Who were the main figureheads of Pop-Punk and Skate-Punk in the 90’s?
In the early to mid 90’s, most Pop-Punk bands originated from the California punk scene of the 80’s and were trying to revive interest in punk rock music. Although there were many bands trying to revive the genre, Green Day and The Offspring were probably the most influential bands at this point as they had the first major successes. After gaining a modest underground following, they signed to Reprise Records in 1994 to release their first major-label debut album, “Dookie”. Within 6 months of their release, their single “Longview” had reached number one on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart and became a top 40 airplay hit. This was possibly the first American punk song to do so. And then, one month later, The Offspring’s single “Come Out And Play” followed suit. By the end of the year, “Dookie” had sold 4 million copies and spawned several radio singles that gained extensive MTV rotation. Green Day’s enormous success was proving that punk was gaining interest again and it paved the way for countless Pop-Punk bands over the next decade. This includes many of today’s popular artists, such as; AFI, Alkaline Trio, The All-American Rejects, Blink-182, Bowling For Soup, Fall Out Boy, Jimmy Eat World, New Found Glory, Paramore, Panic! At The Disco and many, many more.
Who were the main influences for Pop-Punk and Skate-Punk?
Most of the main figure heads of the movement originally gained interest from the New York and London punk scenes of the mid-70’s and the California punk scene of the 80’s. This was when punk was typically fast paced, hard-edged music, usually stripped down to simple lyrics and instrumentation. It mainly involved anti-establishment ideals and took on a DIY attitude to accompany this, with many bands releasing self-produced material through informal channels. The main figureheads of punk at this point were The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, The Ramones, The Buzzcocks and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Of course there were many, many more punk rock bands, but these were really the most influential; if you listened to punk rock, you listened to at least one of these. However, the two that really did make punk rock what it was were The Sex Pistols and The Clash. Without either of these bands I don’t think punk rock would have lasted more than a few fleeting months, if even that. Most punk rock bands to emerge in the late 70’s and 80’s were influenced by these artists.
The Sex Pistols first hit the scene in early ’76 with one of their first shows in High Wycombe, this show was a huge turning point for punk, although I doubt anyone realized this at the time. Two northern grammar school boys were in attendance that night, Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto, and as they drove back to Manchester later that evening they vowed to make their own band, and so became the Buzzcocks. The also formed what is now believed to be the first ‘indie’ record company, New Hormones. By mid ’76, punk rock had gained huge momentum and was influencing more and more people all over the world, including Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Tony Wilson and Steven Patrick Morrissey. Although a lot of Pop-punk and Skate-punk were more heavily influenced by The Clash as their music was “more intriguing, more thoughtful and more complex than much of punk’s head-down trash” (UK, Dr. Martens, 1999). Joe Strummer (The Clash’s frontman) was also amazingly enigmatic when compared to other artists, and this in turn inspired a lot more people as they felt a stronger connection. This is definitely true of Green Day, as they were, and still are, hugely influenced by The Clash, as they have stated in many interviews. They’ve also done tribute covers of some of their songs, including “I Fought The Law”.
As a finishing note, I’d like to leave you with this brilliant video I found on YouTube, uploaded by DoctorBrixx.
My favourite section is at 4:20-4:45 when AFI’s “Miss Murder” is blended with Cute Is What We Aim For’s “Curse Of Curves” and Thirty Seconds To Mar’s “Closer To The Edge”.