Note: These posts – “Allen Ginsberg Punk Rocker” (parts one and two) first appeared on The Allen Ginsberg Project on June 23, 2011, and, due to technical problems, are now being re-posted
The Sex Pistols Anarchy In The UK was released on November 26 1976.
Less than six months later Allen Ginsberg was playing San Francisco’s premier punk venue, Mabuhay Gardens
Dirk Derkson, the legendary promoter, recalls:
“I told Allen Ginsberg on the night he came to the Fab Mab to see Jim Carroll that I thought punk rock was today’s poetry. Two weeks after, Ginsberg showed up with his band and we put them in for a couple of nights!”.Allen was already familiar with the New York punk scene – “I like The Nuns“, he wrote referring to one of San Francisco’s more prominent punk bands. “They’re like Kabuki Theater. I’ve been to CBGB’s 15 or 25 times but now I think that the Mabuhay is a better scene. CBGB’s is a bit tired”.
Steven Taylor’s, Allen’s accompaniest, was also an important conduit. As he recounts in his absolutely-indispensible text – False Prophet: Field Notes From The Punk Underground: “My interest in contemporary pop music had been on hold for five years by the time punk became a presence in the New York area…But some time in 1978… a friend took me to a local bar to see The Ramones. At first the dangerously overcrowded smoky bar room made me feel claustrophobic but when the band came on I heard pure hilarious rock ‘n roll and it was as if someone had turned the lights on in a room that had been getting gradually darker for five years.”
“Whatta lotta Noise” – “Punk Rock, Your (sic) My Big Cry Baby”.
Tomorrow, part two – “President Ginsberg” (sic) – Allen meets Joe Strummer. Allen gets to play “Capitol Air” with The Clash.