The only trend I was right there in the middle of during it's salad days was Punk. There I was, a musician's girlfriend (not advised) and there was PUNK, and it was what was done if you wanted to be edge and gritty and get gigs.
God I Hated It.
I've read stuff, I've listened to music, I've tried, but having been there at ground Zero while it was still pumping fluids the only thing I came away with was the absolute certainty that Punk Was Horseshit. A shuck. A bunch of moron kids watching a dirty addict pitch a full blown psychotic break to the sound of bad electronics and no talent, and pretending not to be freaked out.
And let's look at that fashion trend a bit. It took a hell of a lot of money to look that way. Even a used Perfecto jacket was going for 200 bucks, and unless you did a lot of shoplifting all those chains, safety pins, handcuffs, Doc Martins and hair products cost cash dollars. We'd be marching home from a gig, too poor and fucked up to own a car, and we'd pass groups of bright shiny punks with their edge hair and fingerless gloves and Donna Karan dresses worn over slashed long handle underwear and where would they trip on into? The DISCOS.
We did not see these people at our gigs, not for long. They walked in, established their cred, and off to wriggle to the BeeGees they went. Our audiences were street kids and confused teenagers and Skinheads a-plenty. Everyone hated to see them saunter into a venue. They ruined everything. That's all they did. They broke bottles and cut people, slam danced like maniacs, just random, idiotic agents of chaos that went from club to club fucking with people. They weren't about anything, just like the punks I met and knew.
We played with a few 'name' bands, as it turns out. You wouldn't know it by me. The Rat$, The Wipers, Bad Brains, The Slits, the Screaming Sidewalks, Echo and the Bunnymen to name a few...and they weren't doing anything but cashing in on a trend. I think it's the soullessness of Punk that repelled me as much as the sheer shittiness of the sound. It was like a prolonged, unpleasant tantrum that everyone pretended to like. Sitting in the green room with other bands, nobody was talking about anything but getting paid and getting laid. They were a characterless group of folks who practiced their snarls in the mirrors and went from Kid You Went To High School With to Snarling Mayhem as soon as they plugged in the equipment. Everyone was reading Interview With The Vampire and smoking dope. It was gnawed trash, ragged, ugly, people sharing needles and shitting between parked cars and thousands of flyers so thick on the walls and phone poles that you could set them on fire, which broke up the monotony.
I don't get the connection to Jamaican music either. No two types of music could be more unalike. While the Jamaicans had something to say in a manner that drew people in, Punk in America was pure First World Problem Whining that people felt obliged to like because it was being done in Europe.
I don't look back on those days with any kind of fond nostalgia. There it was, and I put up with it until I smartened up and stopped hanging around with musicians. It would have been nice to say that there were moments, you know, those golden glimpses you have when you're part of Something That Matters, but the impression I've been left with was one of hopeless stupidity, desperate rage, police cars, vomiting in alleys and chimps flinging shit.
I loved the clothes, though.