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OI Music

Wikipedia version of Oi!

Oi! is a subgenre of punk rock that originated in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s. The music and its associated subculture had the goal of bringing together punksskinheads and other working-class youths (sometimes called herberts).

The Oi! movement was partly a response to the perception that many participants in the early punk rock scene were, in the words of The Business guitarist Steve Kent, “trendy university people using long words, trying to be artistic…and losing touch”. André Schlesinger, singer of The Press, said, “Oi shares many similarities with folk music, besides its often simple musical structure; quaint in some respects and crude in others, not to mention brutally honest, it usually tells a story based in truth.”


Oi! became a recognized genre in the latter part of the 1970s, emerging after the perceived commercialization ofpunk rock, and before the soon-to-dominate hardcore punk sound. It fused the sounds of early punk bands such as the Sex Pistols, the RamonesThe Clash, and The Jam with influences from 1960s British rock bands such asThe Rolling Stones, the Small Faces, and The Whofootball chantspub rock bands such as Dr. FeelgoodEddie and the Hot Rods, and The 101ers, and glam rock bands such as Slade and Sweet. First generation Oi! bands such as Sham 69 and Cock Sparrer were around for years before the word Oi! was used retrospectively to describe their style of music.

In 1980, writing in Sounds magazine, rock journalist Garry Bushell labelled the movement Oi!, taking the name from the garbled “Oi!” that Stinky Turner of Cockney Rejects used to introduce the band’s songs. The word is an old Cockney expression, meaning hey or hello. In addition to Cockney Rejects, other bands to be explicitly labeled Oi! in the early days of the genre included Angelic UpstartsThe 4-SkinsThe BusinessBlitzThe Blood, and Combat 84.

The prevalent ideology of the original Oi! movement was a rough brand of working-class rebellion. Lyrical topics included unemployment, workers’ rights, harassment by police and other authorities, and oppression by the government. Oi! songs also covered less-political topics such as street violence, football, sex, and alcohol. Although Oi! has come to be considered mainly a skinhead-oriented genre, the first Oi! bands were composed mostly of punk rockers and people who fit neither the skinhead nor punk label.

After the Oi! movement lost momentum in the United Kingdom, Oi! scenes formed in continental Europe, North America, and Asia. Soon, especially in the United States, the Oi! phenomenon mirrored the hardcore punk scene of the early 1980s, with Oi!-influenced bands such as Agnostic FrontIron Cross, Anti Heros. Later American punk bands such as Rancid and Dropkick Murphys have credited Oi! as a source of inspiration. In the mid-1990s, there was a revival of interest in Oi! music in the UK, leading to older Oi! bands receiving more recognition. In the 2000s, many of the original UK Oi! bands reunited to perform and/or record. The song T.N.T. by hard rock bandAC/DC features the interjection at the start and in various parts throughout the song.

Association with far extremist politics

Strength Thru Oi!, with its notorious image of British Movement activist and felon Nicky Crane

Some fans of Oi! were involved in white nationalist organisations such as the National Front (NF) and the British Movement (BM), leading some critics to identify the Oi! scene in general as racist. However, none of the bands associated with the original Oi! scene promoted racism in their lyrics. Some Oi! bands, such as the Angelic Upstarts,The Burial, and The Oppressed were associated with left wing politicsand anti-racism. The white power skinhead movement had developed its own music genre called Rock Against Communism, which had musical similarities to Oi!, but was not connected to the Oi! scene. Timothy S. Brown identifies a deeper connection: Oi!, he writes “played an important symbolic role in the politicization of the skinhead subculture. By providing, for the first time, a musical focus for skinhead identity that was ‘white’—that is, that had nothing to do with the West Indian immigrant presence and little obvious connection with black musical roots—Oi! provided a musical focus for new visions of skinhead identity [and] a point of entry for a new brand of right-wing rock music.”

Rightly or wrongly,The mainstream media especially associated Oi! with far right politics following a concert by The Business, The 4-Skins, and The Last Resort on 4 July 1981 at the Hambrough Tavern in Southall. Local Asian youths threw Molotov cocktails and other objects, mistakenly believing that the concert was a neo-Nazi event, partly because some audience members had written National Front slogans around the area. Although some of the skinheads were NF or BM supporters, among the 500 or so concert-goers were also left-wing skinheads, black skinheads, punk rockers, rockabillies, and non-affiliated youths. Five hours of rioting left 120 people injured—including 60 police officers—and the tavern burnt down. In the aftermath, many Oi! bands condemned racism and fascism.

These denials, however, were met with cynicism from some quarters because of the Strength Thru Oi!compilation album, released in May 1981. Not only was its title a play on a Nazi slogan—”Strength Through Joy“—but the cover featured Nicky Crane, a skinhead BM activist who was serving a four-year sentence for racist violence. Critic Garry Bushell, who was responsible for compiling the album, insists its title was a pun on The Skids‘ album Strength Through Joy, and that he had been unaware of the Nazi connotations. He also denied knowing the identity of the skinhead on the album’s cover until it was exposed by the Daily Mail two months later. Bushell, a socialist at the time, noted the irony of being branded a far right activist by a newspaper that “had once supported Oswald Mosley‘s Blackshirts, Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia, and appeasement with Hitler right up to the outbreak of World War Two.”

Another subsequent source for the popular association between Oi! and a racist or far-right creed was the bandSkrewdriver. Lead singer Ian Stuart Donaldson was recruited by the National Front—which had failed to enlist any actual Oi! bands—and reconstituted Skrewdriver as a white power skinhead act. While the band shared visual and musical attributes with Oi!, Bushell asserts, “It was totally distinct from us. We had no overlap other than a mutual dislike for each other.” Donaldson and Crane would later go on to found a magazine, Blood and Honour, and a street-orientated ‘skinhead’ club of the same name that arranged concerts for Skrewdriver and other racist bands such as No Remorse. Demonstrating the ongoing conflation of Oi! with the white power skinhead movement by some observers, the Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations refers to these groups as “‘white noise’ and ‘oi’ racist bands”.

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A view with Nu / #1

Good or Bad?

Japanese music started off as a mixture of popular and distinct styles, from Classical, Folk and Traditional, originating from as early as the thirteenth century. The oldest forms of Traditional and Folk music in Japan are Buddhist Chanting, Orchestral Court music and Biwa hōshi (otherwise known as stories created by Lute performances.) Into the 1960’s the Japanese youth became very influenced by the modern rock genre, as a well-known modern rock band, The Beatles, who become internationally active in 1964. By the time the 80’s band ‘Japan’ appeared, Japan’s music industry was determined to show the western world their talents of making rock/punk culture internationally cultivating. Now in 2012, Japan is the second biggest music market in the world, behind the United States.

Jrock however, is a fairly new, popular choice by people from their teens to their twenties and here’s why!

This is Mana Sama, known and loved internationally from the band Moi Dix Mois. Now you may be thinking ‘My goodness he looks Pete Burns without the eye-patch’, which is what many people I showed this idol to said the first time. You may also be thinking he has taken the feminine gothic look that Dead or Alive one had and has simply put that in his own group. REMEMBER, these are biased opinions thatfellow friends, family, etc, have expressed.

Here’s a fan’s strongly worded reply to the subject on biased opinions towards Jrock. 

Rien Xi, 17, Birmingham
Common interests ~ Elegant Gothic Lolita & Aristocrat and Ouji fashion, Music (particularly Jrock and Classical), vampire, horror novels and tea!

“The people, who are quick to judge and insult Mana, obviously have no idea of the kind of person he is. Mana is an inspiration to thousands of people; he is a musician, an artist, the creator of a fashion and an intriguing human being with so much to offer to the world. Everything he does is inspiring, he has made a name for himself and has fans and followers all over the globe, so you may not like him, but you can’t deny the fact that he is talented. Those who talk badly of him because of the way he looks, without knowing anything about him, are obviously close-minded, simple and immature individuals. “Oh, he looks like Pete Burns.” Sure, maybe he does look like Pete Burns in your opinion… but what does that matter? Mana is beautiful and I feel sorry for those who can’t recognise that fact. He is an extraordinary person and he is clearly un-phased by hateful comments and opinions.  Even so, it’s quite pathetic to talk badly of somebody who looks different or is into something that you are not. It’s sad that people are still so close-minded and ignorant in this day and age.”

So many J-fans, as I call them, have participated in a wide variety of social events, such as; Gigs, Expos, Festivals and many gatherings discussing music, anime shows, fashion and most popularly the imaginative sexual stories between band members, aka ‘Fanservice’. A short while ago I was into this subculture and it took me on an extreme emotional adventure. When I had turned fourteen my gothic-cyber scene was abounded and I had found a new ‘alternative’ to become intrigued with and that was the commonly known Japanese street fashion Decora. I found out about the new exciting scene from my pen pal in China, whom herself was in high school and the same age as me. Of course due to our ridiculously random sense of humour, we clicked straight away and after 3 weeks were listening and fan-girling about the popular Jrock band ‘The Gazette’. From there I had changed my look on fashion, my future and which Japanese musician I had on my bedroom wall and had already booked a ticket to see my first live Jrock band – ‘Dio –distraught overlord-. On-top of being overly excited and screaming every 10 minutes before the gig in London, I was nervous beyond belief because of meeting a few people I knew but hadn’t met until that night. Thankfully, it all went well and to this day I still know those people who are now some of my closest friends including my boyfriend who I’ve been with for three years.  When I joined the queue outside the venue in Camden, I had heard rumours that people had camped outside for four days in the freezing cold in order to get right to the front of the stage, which until this day, I really didn’t see the point in. The whole night was fantastic, everyone really enjoyed themselves, so much so in fact, that some particularly obsessed fans were known to grope parts of the bands “private places” (yes, fans can get this horny in the pit)! It was all blood, sweat and tears when the gig was over as we were chanting for the band to come back on stage. But eventually they left, and I have to say, that was the most mad music experience of my life. Most Jrock gigs can get so wild that people get injured, mostly like metal gigs but with a lot more high-pitched screaming. But never fear, the security guards are always there to help (yeah, right). Unfortunately there are a lot of aspects about Jrock and Jfans that I don’t agree with. People often become so absorbed in the culture and its specific fashion that they take on a high school dynamic. People can get bitchy and arrogant, constantly passing judgment on any new people that don’t quite fit in with the strict unsaid rules, which from where I am is unheard of in metal gigs. And I ask you this, how do you think the band would feel if they found out about how their fans were promoting the gig experience?

Thankfully most people from the gig aren’t like that. Like i said, lots of them I’m still friends with and a lot of people agree with the problems that occur at gigs and gatherings, for instance my friend Keita who has been a lover of Jrock for over ten years –

Keita-Eiri Uesugi, 22, Boston/Lincoln

Common interests: Kamijo, reading, writing and drawing.     

“For the past few years, I can quite safely say that Jrock has certainly been a big inspiration. I think, in some respects, it’s helped me to find out who I am and to not be afraid of stepping out of the box and being different; I can be myself and don’t have to feel I have to follow the crowd. Not only that, but it has helped to fuel my style of writing and the way that I draw as well and being a creative person, inspiration in the form of music is a pretty important thing. Good aspects of Jrock would have to be the appreciation that the whole songs get, from vocals, through the bass line and everything else in-between. I have found in the past, compared to western bands where the vocalist is the front man, the rest of the musicians seem to be ignored and bundled in the background… but with Jrock, it’s different. Also, there are so many styles within the Jmusic scene, that there literally is something to please everyone, whether it’s pop rock, symphonic metal and so on. Sadly, with all things, there is a downside. The level of competitiveness between fans cannot be denied and this often puts people off. Also, because the music is essentially sung in Japanese, this can course a lot of close minded people or none-listeners to turn their ears to what they do understand. “
On a lighter note though, Jrock music is a fantastic genre and has been widely recommended by such companies as Neo magazine, Kerrang and Moshi Moshi and of course, me. It has inspired me throughout the years to change my life and my career which is to work with the artist Hayao Miyazaki from Studio Ghibli.

 Today’s Jrock band is Dir En Grey and their famous song- Child prey

Thank you for reading, I’m Nu McAdam.