“The Ramones visit London in 1976 to discover a vibrant UK punk scene who reciprocate with a second British invasion of America, culminating in the Sex Pistols’ disastrous US tour and flameout in 1978,” so reads Epix’s own synopsis for part 2, which airs this Monday, March 18. The debate over who really made “punk” a phenomenon clearly rages on. Johnny Rotten aka John Lydon, as unfiltered and curmudgeony as ever, obviously takes issue with those who suggest the Pistols were influenced by the Ramones, and in Punk, he blames this egregious assertion on us- the media.
“The major lie about the Ramones helping form us is we were already a band,” Lydon says in the doc, proceeding to blame “journalism” for the misinterpretation that the leather-jacketed New Yorkers came first. He also blames the press for perpetuating that spitting on the band was a positive thing (he hated it). He hates a lot of things and he’s happy to , which, like him or not, makes him the ultimate unapologetic embodiment of the genre. On the flip side, if this episode of Punk brings anything new to the table, it’s the realization that Rotten was never not miserable even as his fame rose, thanks to a variety of factors including his asshole manager and junkie bassist. Some might charge that Lydon is a character, and everything he does is posturing, but in part 2, we get glimpses of sincerity beyond the shit talk, and it becomes clear that he always felt misunderstood as an artist, or as he famously said when called it quits, “cheated” as an artist.
Part 2 may be the most pivotal period covered in Punk and even if we all know how this one ends, it’s worth a watch. It definitely made for some heated conversation at the L.A. screening and premiere of the series, which featured a panel including Lydon, Marky Ramone, Henry Rollins, and Donita Sparks. Watch the video below and enjoy it as much as the series itself.
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Here are the summaries and air dates for the next two episodes of the show:
PUNK- Part 3 – March 25
The Germs, Bad Brains, Black Flag, DOA and others dump gas on smouldering rage and alienation in America’s suburbs, igniting a blazing form of punk so extreme they call it hardcore which, in turn, inspires a DIY culture and network that spans cities and bands across the continent and comes to define the genre.
PUNK- Part 4 – April 1
Despite itself, punk breaks big, highlighting the talents of Nirvana, Bad Religion and Green Day, while women roar onto the scene in defining bands such as Bikini Kill and L7, establishing punk as an enduring force, its spirit living on in the broader culture as we know it today.
More info here.