We all have specific ideas of how certain genres of music should look and sound. Pop is bubbly and brightly colored. Rap is socially aware and powerful. These constructs have been formed by time and mass consumption, creating a genre-specific cannon for each manifestation of musical practice. But what do we call to mind when thinking of the hatchlings of a genre? What is the embodiment of something like rock ‘n’ roll before rock was an acknowledged form?

In terms of punk music, the answer to questions like these lay largely in the city that the University calls home — Ann Arbor. Tree Town was once home to now famous proto-punk bands such as The Stooges and The MC5. It may be my current locale or my ceaseless need to find music that will further piss off my parents, but I have become entirely infatuated with these profoundly progressive groups.

Bands like The New York Dolls and their proto-punk counterparts completely denied the virtuosic and elite attitude that much of rock music had taken on. Instead, their rough, chaotic sound was anti-social and anti-grandiose — they screamed that anyone could make music. They challenged gender norms, performance styles, lyrical composition and pretty much anything else imaginable. Which is exactly what I think music, and art in general, is all about.

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