The History of Punk, Class #23

The History of Punk
Monday 7 April 7:00PM
Location: Humanities Centre 1-14, The University of Alberta
All-Ages & All-Welcome


One day in the summer of 1983, a band called The Melvins  put on an impromptu event called The Them Festival in Montesano, Washington. This was near a place called Aberdeen, a town of 17,000 people 108 miles from Seattle. The ‘festival’ consisted of a free performance in the parking lot of a Thriftway supermarket. A teenager from Aberdeen was in the audience, and later wrote in his journal that “the stoners were bored and kept shouting, ‘Play some Def Leppard,’” but this was “what [he had] been looking for.”

In this class, we’ll take a look at the legacy of this teenager, Kurt Cobain, who felt isolated in his hometown - from mainstream society, other youth, and his family. We will trace his participation throughout the underground music community in Washington, from Aberdeen to Olympia to Seattle, while examining his influences and values.

Finally, we will discuss Cobain’s lasting impact 20 years after his death, and why he still resonates with a generation that found what it had been looking for, in Nirvana.

"Nirvana Photographer Charles Peterson Reflects On Kurt Cobain’s Life & Legacy"
"Notes from Seattle: 20 years later, what is Kurt Cobain’s legacy?"
"Kurt Cobain’s overlooked legacy: Guitar teacher for a generation"
"Kurt Cobain’s hometown no ‘nirvana’ 20 years after death"
"Here We Are Now"
"Kurt Cobain, Seattle 1993 Complete Interview"
"Kurt Cobain’s Interrogation of Hegemonic Masculinity"

The Melvins - ”live-in-the-studio, circa 1984
Beat Happening - ”Our Secret”
The Go Team- "Scratch It Out"
The Go Team - "Bikini Twilight"
Nirvana - "Smells like Teen Spirit" (first time live)
Nirvana - "Live at Reading, 1992" (full concert)

The Benefits of Music

Are you one of those people? You know, the type who used to go to a lot of local shows, but now there are kids to raise, house upgrades to worry about, and, most importantly, a new series of Cosmos on television.

So nowadays, maybe you’re one of those people who needs a really good reason to get out of the house and go to a show. You want to enjoy music like always, but also gain the sense of accomplishment you feel when you get the kids to bed on time, fix that leaky socket, and watch Carl Sagan’s protégé Neil deGrasse Tyson stick it to the creationists.

Luckily, a concert that will do EVEN MOREthan that is happening in Edmonton on April 5th. Five amazing acts, F&MThe Gibson BlockTwo Bears NorthJesse Northey, and Bombproof the Horses are ALL performing at the wonderful Avenue Theatre. Normally, that should be enough to get the biggest couch potato bolting to the gig, but wait: there’s still that really good reason to tell you about!!!!

All of these bands are getting together to raise money and awareness in support of the fight against Friedreich’s ataxia (FA).

Joel Kleine, from Bombproof the Horses, has been living with Fredreich’s ataxia for seven years. Although it has taken away his ability to walk and restricted his balance and coordination, it hasn’t stopped him from performing music. Nor has it prevented him and his wife Amanda from raising nearly $30,000 for the Friedreich’s ataxia Research Alliance (FARA).

“When something like this is so rare, and has such a strange name, it’s difficult to get momentum outside of your own community circles.” says Kleine.

That momentum, however, is vital to helping folks with FA.  

This event on April 5 will help support grow. It is bringing together bands across genres from folk to pop to rock, in one of Edmonton’s nicest venues. It’s not just connecting great music to the wider community, but also to a disease everyone should be helping to cure. Especially when helping can be so fun!

All ticket proceeds from the concert will go to FARA. You can also find out more, and donate at the FARA website:

And join the Facebook event and spread the word about the show!

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The History of Punk, class #21

The History of Punk
Monday 10 March 7:00PM
Location: Humanities Centre 1-14, The University of Alberta
All-Ages & All-Welcome


In this class, we will be looking at the characteristics of punk communities. This includes the elements that shape scenes, such as geographical location,  to the local institutions that exist, such as venues. We will also examine the factors involved in  a community’s development, such as marketability and innovation.

From New York City, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Prague, Vancouver, to Edmonton, we will discuss the ebb and flow involved in a scene’s existence, and why communities eventually hit a crescendo.


Dr. Hook: 1. Drake: 0

Recently, the former Degrassi: The Next Generation actor turned rapper Drake decided to vent on Twitter. And with over 14 MILLION FOLLOWERS, whatever he has a problem with is going to get noticed. Now, did he take to social media to point out the dangers of climate change, poverty, or war? Did he bring up something all his YOLO followers could relate to? Was it an issue that could unite all humanity?!

Well, no. He was mad he didn’t get on the cover of Rolling StoneEVEN THOUGH he was supposed to. But then an actor died and he was relegated to just being the feature interview in a magazine read by millions of people, some of whom don’t even follow him on Twitter yet. For most, such a slight is unimaginable, but then again most folks didn’t have a friend whose dad happened to be an agent and could get them on a television show at age 15. Being upset that the media, which created his success, could limit his rise to the top in any way must be a real blow to the ego. It’s like missing an easy slam dunk!

Or…is that why he was angry? Could it actually be for the following two reasons?

1. When Joey Ramone passed away, Rolling Stone kept Destiny’s Child on the cover. 

2. When Joe Strummer passed away, Rolling Stone kept Justin Timberlake on the cover. 

Obviously Drake was aware of this. And when you look at it that way, it’s gotta hurt!

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The History of Punk, Class #19

The History of Punk
Monday 3 February 7:30PM
Location: Humanities Centre 1-14, The University of Alberta
All-Ages & All-Welcome



Fanzines were publications that sprung out of local music scenes to engage and document the community. In the days before websites, blogs, and social media, they also served to connect participants of various local scenes with each other, and issues that concerned all of them.

Created and published by a scene’s actual participants, fanzines were a direct link to the music, ideas and debates that emerged within the community. Thus, they offered unique insights and showcased the relationship between participants as they negotiated with the various characteristics shaping the milieu.

In this seminar, we will examine different fanzines from throughout the punk network, and discuss the role they played in their particular scene. We will also look at fanzines that had a reach outside their local community and the impact this had in terms of developing a network of communication outside the mainstream.
In addition, we will discuss the a fanzine as an historical source.

Punk Fanzines
Mark Perry gives birth to fanzine culture
Maximum Rocknroll Archive
Punk Planet
Raising the Maximum Punk Age
The Kids Are Alright
Czech Scene Report – Maximum Rocknroll #42 November 1986
Marchetto, Tune in, Turn On, Go Punk
“Radio Free Lithuania” Flagpole Magazine

Mark Perry talks about Sniffin’ Glue Fanzine
1980 BBC documentary about Guttersnipe Punk Fanzine
We Are The Writing On The Wall
NOFX - “I’m Telling Tim”
Guttermouth - “Baker’s Dozen” 

AT 44

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The History of Punk, Class #18

The History of Punk
Monday January 13 7:30PM
Location: Humanities Centre 1-14, The University of Alberta
All-Ages & All-Welcome


The Screamers

When a local music scene’s institutions (venues, labels, fanzines) become well-developed, and its musicians garner enough attention from outside the region, it attracts new participants. They could be like-minded writers or guitar players keen to join a new community (or just have a change of scenery). Alternatively, if the scene is seeing mainstream success, folks could depart their local scene for the chance to further their careers.

In this class, we will look look at the transmission of local scene members from one community to another. We will examine the myriad of reasons that causes this. Focusing on musicians from Seattle since the 1950s and specifically on the punk community from the late 70s to early 90s, we will also discuss the factors that lead musicians from a scene to decide to stay.

“The Importance of Music Communities”
“Transmissions from the Punk Heart”

The Avengers “The American in Me”
The Screamers “The Beat Goes On” 
The Fartz “Take a Stand Against the Klan”
10 Minute Warning “Face First”
Duff McKagan on leaving Seattle for Los Angeles
Duff McKagan on visiting Vancouver

The Avengers

The Fartz

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