The post-punk era

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 2:20 pm on 7 March 2017

Bill E (Simon Bendall) is a Wellington DJ and the man behind regular ‘Atomic 80s' and ‘24 Hour Party People' dance nights held in various clubs around the capital since 1996.

Siouxsie and the Banshees

Siouxsie and the Banshees Photo: Wikipedia

Though he's a fan of 80s pop, it's the post-punk era (from the late 70s to mid-80s) on which he is an authority.

He talked with Jesse Mulligan about this musical niche, and the bands that characterised this short-lived genre.

He says post punk as a genre is hard to pin down.

Public Image Ltd

Public Image Ltd Photo: Wikicommons

“Punk, if nothing else, showed any one could form a band, but after a year or two it got a bit restricted - you dressed this way, you play this way.

“Post punk is a rejection of traditional rock aesthetics and a move towards experiment, playing around with other styles of music such dub, disco, jazz, noise and world music.”

Public Image Ltd. (PiL) were the ultimate post punk band, fronted as they were by former Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten - re-monikered John Lydon (his actual name).

PiL were heavily influenced by dub music.

Another Bendall favourite is the Gang of Four from Leeds, a “good Marxist band” he says. 

“They very much used the anger and energy of punk with funk influences.”   

American bands in this genre included the B52s, Talking Heads and Devo. In Australia there was Hunters and Collectors and New Zealand had The Pin Group on Flying Nun and The Herco Pilots.

Post punk broke down gender walls as well, he says.

Gang of Four

Gang of Four Photo: Wikicommons

All-female band The Slits from London being a good example. 

Siouxsie and the Banshees were also stalwarts of the genre.

“Punk, post punk or goth? You can blame them or thank them for helping to invent goth.”

And finally perhaps the ultimate post punk band – Joy Division.

“They only put out two studio albums, this is where producers came into play, a lot more experimental music. Martin Hannett really worked his magic on this band." 

Joy Division

Joy Division Photo: Wikicommons