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Subcultz

  /  Events   /  Buenos Aires Punk

Buenos Aires Punk

It was not long after an adolescent called Pedro came back from a holiday in London in December 1977 that punk started in Buenos Aires. He had travelled with his parents to visit his European family and came across with punks in the streets and the Sex Pistols and The Clash first albums in the record shops.

He was amazed by the style and raw sound, and since Argentina was under a brand new Military Dictatorship –fortunatelly the last that the country suffered- he realized that the setting was ideal and inspirational to import and create the most rebel kind of rock ever to exist on Earth that had just been born in London.

He soon learned to play the first chords on a guitar, adopted the nickname Hari B and Los Violadores, the first and most succesfull Southamerican punk band was on stage very soon.

Songs about repression, against the Government and its involvement in the Falklands War marked them as subversives and revolutionaries and almost all concerts ended with both musicians and the audience spending the night in cells.

“We were very influenced by Stiff Little Fingers music and lyrics, we thought that them coming from Belfast, they felt the same way as we did. They had Land Rovers, tanks and armed soldiers in the streets just like we had Black Marias and uncovered police waiting outside the venues we played to nick us”, he said in an interview.

In 1988, I was 14 years old and had been listening to Los Violadores and the local releases of
Sex Pistols, The Clash, Ramones, Madness and PIL for more than two years. A compilation of local punk bands called Invasión 88 was released and out of it came Comando Suicida, an Oi! band, and Attaque 77, both recognized among punks worldwide.

Another successful band, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, bursted that same year and brought ska and two tone on every radio station so we learned about Mod and Ska as well.

I was hooked and amazed. I realized that this was the music I really loved. Suddenly, most of my friends were into it and we became a gang of teenagers leaving childhood behind, going to concerts, roaming the neighborhood streets and parks, making a racket with instruments and trying to look the part, in contrast to normal kids or those who chose other musical styles (Metal or Hippie were very popular back then).

Thus, getting clothes was very important . The boots came from the National Service surplus, the braces from our Grandparents wardrobe and the Fred Perry´s from a tennis or golf shop from a High Street.

mport records were hard to get and expensive, but a trip to a record shop downtown was typical on a Saturday afternoon or on weekdays after school. We would check out the layout
of the album covers meticulously to see how Jimmy Pursey had painted in white
the collar of a leather jacket in Live And Loud Vol 1,  what brand of shoes The Business wore on Welcome To The Real World and how long was Wattie´s Mohawk on The Exploited On Stage.

Import records were hard to get and expensive, but a trip to a record shop downtown was typical on a Saturday afternoon or on weekdays after school. We would check out the layout
of the album covers meticulously to see how Jimmy Pursey had painted in white
the collar of a leather jacket in Live And Loud Vol 1,  what brand of shoes The Business wore on Welcome To The Real World and how long was Wattie´s Mohawk on The Exploited On Stage.

At that age, 14-16,  you hardly understood politics and you certainly did not care about it. All we knew, because of the songs we listened to, was that all coppers were bastards and all politicians had to be hated because they were liars, thieves and cheaters.

We liked to see ourselves as Anarchists because of the Sex Pistols and Crass thing so after painting a couple
of big As in circles on the walls we decided to go further and take it seriously. We tried picking up a couple of books by the likes of Proudhon and
Bakunin in the Anarchist Library, which was kind of a hippie- nerdie place full of pseudo revolutionaries. We understood fuck all of those books; it seemed like we had to study to be punk rockers.

We had too much school homework to do, so there was no way for us to read that. I even tried with Nietzche´s The Antichrist!!!. What the fuck???!!! After five pages, I was already reading again the only punk book written in Spanish at the time, Punk La Muerte Joven or kicking the football in the backyard with my army boots to make them look dirtier and older.

All we wanted to do was listen to music, buy records, go to concerts, get drunk, get stoned, fuck girls –we did not fuck but we tried more than a kiss or nipple touch- and fight against or take the piss of anyone who did not like us.

There was no Nazi / Sharp / Red / Anarchist nonsense at the time. Both punks and skinheads were seen as youth gangs who stood their ground and brought a new breed of music and image to a decadent and boring Argentinean rock scene. And we sure changed it.

Where were you in 1988?

Submitted by Mariano, Argentina

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