Without electricity, punk may have never happened at all. A tenuous link, you are thinking…but how many people would have turned up to acoustic night at the Roxy?
Punk was all about energy, and volume, and without electrically powered amplification, it just wouldn’t have made any sense. Without power it would have simply been a bunch of teenagers shouting over acoustic guitars, they might have invented the new genre of speed folk, but it wouldn’t have been punk.
It wasn’t just the electrically powered live shows; by the late 1970s every teenage bedroom had to be furnished with a record player, then a radio, followed by a cassette recorder to tape the record player and the radio. Then a microphone for the cassette recorder to tape your own fledgling attempts at home-style punk rockery, then some headphones to listen to the punk rockery. Then an electric guitar and an amp, followed by a trip to the electrically powered photocopy shop to duplicate the flyers or fanzines, then a distortion pedal, which needed a battery or its own power cable, because….electricity.
In fact, not one of our favourite records, or indeed the sleeves would have been possible without the electrically powered studios to record them, and a factory press to stamp them out, and as for mass duplicating cassettes…or broadcasting the John Peel show….
Before long our teenage bedroom power sockets, previously perfectly adequate for a bedside lamp or the occasional use of a modest crafting accessory, became dangerously overloaded with plugs and wires for all our teenage punk rock needs.
Punk needed power. Power punks.