Blog #6

As Larry Livermore suggests in the excrepts from How To Ru(i)n a Record Label that I shared with you – the Gilman Street Project significantly shaped the identity of the punk-rock commons worldwide and inscribed in its mythology a collectivism and a quasi-utopian mode of togetherness that insisted on process and becoming, somewhat challenging the nihilistic character frequently attributed to punk.  

I’d like for you to perform a close reading of a song by Operation Ivy (one of the bands that more than any other influenced the East Bay scene) and try to relate it to both what Larry recounts in his book and what we discussed in class about punk (DIY, inclusiveness, futurity, community/commons, utopia, nihilism, and more).

You can choose any of the songs from their record Energy, all of which can be easily found on YouTube. Feel free to comment on lyrics (don’t forget to ask yourself what imagery and literary devices they employ), sound, and what not.

You may want to read a little about Gilman, Larry and Op Ivy online to get a better understanding of the context, but – as usual, do not look for inspiration elsewhee (including on for your blog post.

Length Requirements: 500-750 words. Try and make the most of it – I’d like for you to skip placeholder introductions (I know very well of/about Larry, Op Ivy, Gilman, and others) and get to the core of the aspect you decide to focus on right away.

Also – I’d like for you to start thinking about (and formulating, at the bottom of your post) questions you’d want Larry to address when he comes to visit our class next week. Keep in mind that, as I mentioned in class, he was also a participant in several countercultural movements before becoming one of the East Bay punk scene herdsmen (and herdswomen).


15 thoughts on “Blog #6”

  1. A song written by the Operation Ivy, called “The Crowd”, is in much relation to what Larry preaches about. This song was written with much emotion and symbolizes unity and togetherness. This song was not only a nice jam song but it has great meaning behind it. In Larry’s famous, How To Ruin A Record, he states, “there was a crowd but it wasn’t crowded. The energy level was high but nothing like the nerve-wracking stressful high, none was starting fights. Everywhere you looked you’ll see happy faces and togetherness.” This quote is in similarity to Operation Ivy’s song, “The Crowd”, in which focuses on the type of people in whom attended these concerts, he sings, “more! just another crowd, we need a gathering instead”, this can tie into what Larry was saying on the fact that he explains what kind of people were at the concert and the energy that was present. Larry explains that he missed out on many great songs and genres of music because of the fact that he wasn’t open to listen to any other type of music other than what he is used to, ” ill admit I’ve been narrow minded in listening to music outside our immediate scene.” There are many comparisons in Larrys writing and the songs written by Operation Ivy. I really enjoyed listening to Operation ivy. Honestly at first I was confused in what I was listening to, they sounded so angry, so loud, so violent, however I grew to actually like that jam style. I feel that it was out of my comfort zone at first and until I got used to it, it sounded weird. My favorite I would say is “Sound System”, there was such a catchy tone to it. I actually put my friends onto this band, we had a thrill rocking out, surprisingly. Larrys writing and the song both reinforced what we have spoken about in class. In class we mentioned the term inclusiveness, meaning the in and new. The term “inclusive” can relate to the fact that the band was very inclusive in what they say. DIY refers to the term “do it yourself”, I feel this makes a strong connection to what they believed in , living life the way they want it and how they want it. I am beyond excited for Larry to come in and talk to us! At first I didn’t really understand who Larry was but now i feel a certain connection with Larry. I feel like I know him on a personal level, because of reading his writing. I have many questions to ask Larry such as when did he first realize he was into punk music, why did he start listening to punk music, can he relate to it in any way, etc. I feel as if these questions will further analyze his perspective on punk and I will have a better understanding of punk music and someone in who takes pride in it.

  2. Operation Ivy released a song called “Take Warning” as part of their original 1989 Energy Album for Lookout Records. The title is constantly repeated throughout the song in order to demonstrate the various facets of nihilism that defined the punk movement during the late 1980’s- early 1990’s. At first glance, I thought “Take Warning” would appear to be aimed towards capitalistic Americans who remain ignorant to the irreparable damage that was done. However, the beginning of the song discusses revolutionary ideas such as pacifism and unity. For instance, the song mentions in the beginning, “Stand by your friends, wrong or right/ Can’t call that justice when its just a stupid excuse to fight.” This was a possible reference to the “Screamer” that Larry Livermore mentioned who was always kicked out of the 924 Gilman Street Club. Screamer was the stereotypical mohawk, leather-wearing, violent punk often depicted in the 1970’s by bands such as the Germs, being the uglier depiction of punk rock. They would always come into the club in order to incite a fight with other punk fans due to the controversial laws that the Gilman Street Club enacted such as no racism, no sexism, no homophobia, or no drugs. Screamer’s particular faction of punks felt that this is not the essence of punk rock because punk is meant to be an outward representation of countercultural revolution, not any of this straight edge nonsense that was being implemented in the club. Yet, the excuse that Screamer and his group would always use to enter the club in order to convey his message was, “This is a punk club and I’m a punk,” thereby making them “friends” sharing a common identity.

    However, what Screamer did not understand or prefer, is that fact that based on the times, outward expansion of the punk movement was necessary if recognition was wanted and if goals were to be realized. Larry Livermore expressed this type of cultural Manifest Destiny ideology for punk rock as he stated, “But I saw no reason why we had to cater only to punks. Good music was good music. You shouldn’t have to wear a certain costume or subscribe to a certain ideology to enjoy it,” and “But neither did I see the need to stay so far underground that only the most determined and knowledgeable scenesters could find us.” Similarly, Operation Ivy hints to this larger type of inclusivity by mentioning, “Heard all that shit before/ About stomping out any difference/ We say stand together!” Thus, the more moderate faction of punk believes its not the actual aesthetics that takes precedence in punk rock. Rather, it is the goals that punk wants to achieve. Cultural revolution, in Livermore’s view of an utopian society, is where everybody is genuinely equal without superficial aesthetics or possessions to differentiate one another. Therefore, it is not the “dismantling” of society per se, but reshaping it.

    Interestingly, Larry Livermore escalates this type of “Good music is good music” belief in the song itself. The melody and beat of the song seems to be inspired a little bit by some form of subtle reggae. Also, this song is not like hard punk rock where the screaming is overbearingly dominant and unpleasant. It is relatively harmonious with the song. I enjoyed it compared to a Germs or Black Flag song. In my opinion, there is also a little bit of Beatles inspiration. “We say stand together” was strikingly familiar to the Beatles’ iconic song “Come Together” in 1969. Therefore, one can infer multiple inspirations from various backgrounds helped create the song.

  3. The renowned American punk rock band Operation Ivy released a song called “Take Warning” in the year 1989, which was part of their Energy Album. This was my first time actually listening to punk rock and I surprisingly enjoyed it very much. I supposed punk rock to be excessively loud, violent, and irregular; however, I was proven wrong and I’ll be listening to it more often. The songs’ rhythm and melody was fresh and very catchy. In addition, during several parts of the song “Take Warning” was sung consecutively. This song relates to the ideas of Larry Livermore’s famous book “How to Ru(i)n a Record Label”, along with other concepts of nihilism, DIY, and unification. As Larry suggested in the beginning excerpts from his book, the Gilman Street project was probably the best developments he was a part of. Larry stated, “Walking through that front door was unlike entering any music venue, club, or hangout I’d ever known. It felt like coming home. And it wouldn’t have been home without a family”, this relates to the lyric “Stand by your friends, wrong or right/We say stand together”. Also, from the documentary we watched this week, the punks also insisted that they were all considered a family and would stand by each other regardless of the circumstances. The song also mentioned, “Nobody’s got a thing against you unless you’ve got something to prove we don’t need no new set of standards/We say stand together! Not to fight just to exist”, and this relates to a person named Screamer, one lunatic who was repeatedly thrown out of Gilman Street due to all of the fights he would cause. The Gilman Street project had nothing against anybody, but you had to abide to the several rules of no alcohol, racism, sexism, and violence. However, Screamer always argued claiming that since he was a punk and Gilman Street was a punk club, he has every right to participate (sometimes it would work for him). The concept of Nihilism also ties into the song due to rejection of any morals and principles, “We don’t need no new set of standards we don’t need a new set of rules heard all that shit before about stomping out any difference”. Additionally, DIY (Do it yourself) applies to the song because it is the method of building and repairing things without any assistance (authority/professionals), Operation Ivy pressed, “There’s a new generation coming and we really gotta stand up to them…..”. Lastly, “Take Warning” is surprisingly one of my favorite rock songs now, which strongly advocated unity and opposed violence. When the guest speaker comes tomorrow for class, I would like to ask him how/why he got into rock and whether he was/is a punk himself. I would also like to ask him lots of questions about Green Day, considering the fact that they are one of the best rock bands that have ever existed. Finally, I would like to ask him if he thinks rock is the same as before, and whether or not the music industry is diminishing.

  4. The punk rock band, Operation Ivy, introduced a famous song, “Unity”, which is apart of their 1989 Energy Album. The lyrics to this song are very interesting and rather something new and different. I haven’t really heard something as original as this song. After listening to the song, I found the beat to be quite catchy. Despite the fact that the song itself is appealing, I feel as though it holds a deep meaning to it. A quote in Operation Ivy’s, “Unity”, that I found to be worth discussing is “All so different yeah, I say we’re all the same/All caught, you know, in the division game./Self destruction fast impending like a bullet./No one can stop it, once it’s fired, no one can control it.” This is an important part of the song because Operation Ivy is stating how we, individuals, are all basically the same people. Additionally, I believe that they are referring to a group sharing a belief of some sort, similar to a bloc, and that there are divisions in society, as stated by the lyrics. In Larry Livermore’s popular book, How To Ru(i)n a Record Label, he mentions, “I wasn’t trying to hide the fact that we were a punk label, not that anyone would be fooled if I had. But I saw no reason why we needed to cater only to punks. Good music was good music. You shouldn’t have to wear a certain costume or subscribe to a certain ideology to enjoy it.” This is explaining how individuals shouldn’t be categorized into certain groups based solely on how they appear, for instance, their mohawks, leather attire, etc. Moreover, we discussed encoded practices, where learning processes come from fashion. I really like what he is portraying here and agree with what he is expressing in this statement. These two quotes from Livermore’s writing and Operation Ivy’s song may be seen as a comparison, where everyone should be unified and not seen as different people. Another aspect from Livermore’s piece I thought may also be compared to “Unity”, was when he mentioned the skinheads. Livermore stated, “Then there were the skinheads. In the 1980s, skinhead culture was still a big thing…Unfortunately, when skinheads showed up at the door, it was hard to tell which kind you were getting.” Alongside with this, Livermore stated “A counterculture presence since the 1950s…ran a one-man campaign urging ‘Beats, Hippies, Punks, and Skins’ to ‘unite’. But the only kind of uniting that appealed to certain skinheads involved their fists and punk rocker’s face.” Interestingly, over here, we are able to view the controversy that went on between the punk rockers and the skinheads, the fascist Nazis. This break between the two, displays how the song, by Operation Ivy, is related with the disagreement between both groups and how unity is more important, than individuals being divided. Within the song, the repetition of the lyrics, show how unity is exemplified, and how this is the message they wanted people to acknowledge. The concept of unification was strongly advocated. I like how this song, along with Livermore’s writing, presented how important unity was amongst individuals.

  5. In the song ‘Unity’ by Operation Ivy, besides for the intensity of the title, there is a lot of depth within the song. First, I’ll mention the sound of the sound. It sounded as if the band was singing straight from their hearts; that this was their honest, pure dream. Despite all their differences, all they want is unity among themselves and the rest of society, and among themselves and the skinheads, hippies, and other subculture groups, and it’s a sincere wish. That was all expressed just by their tone and the way the song was sung. It was and intense beat, with passion. It exuded the sense that this song wasn’t a ‘cute happy-go-lucky’ song dreaming about unity, but rather a sincere dream to help save them from being in their current pain, that they are experiencing because of it.
    The lyrics immediately open up with the word ‘War’. It’s the third word of the whole song and it is repeated throughout the song, many times. It is an important word because it is used as the antithesis of unity. The ‘war’ that is happening is directly making unity an impossibility. Therefore, the ‘war’ must be stopped and discontinued. In order for society, America, the world, to get along and be united, this war of judgment and un-acceptance must come to and end. Society looks down on the Punk subculture revolution. But the Punk revolution was created because they were not intrigued by or happy with what society has come about. The Punks wanted to change the shape of society, so they started making oppositions to everything society stood for and to create shock value, in order to make clear statements. This song helps a person realize that the Punk revolution was not created with bad intentions; rather it was created and started as a movement to bring unity among people. To bring about awareness about the importance of acceptance for no reason other than they are human beings too. Whoever listens to this song starts understanding this because of how sincere the band sounds in the song. It is also a rational realization that although there are so many subcultures, they are all in some aspect united – because they are all break away’s from society. Because of this, they should be united and there shouldn’t be such intense division amoung one another. In the first stanza, there is repetition of the words “going down, going down.” This is doubled to show their passion once again – this is the reality, but they are unhappy about it.
    The chorus consists of three short words. I believe it is done this way to have the listener focus. To wake everybody up, and get us inspired almost to stop the ways of society and to become a stronger unit. Maybe, it is also like this in order to wake up the people from the varying subcultures and make them listen to the chorus and the medley. The end of the song closes with a repetition of ‘Aint nothing wrong with a unity song’. I feel that they hear are counteracting all society stands for. It is so common to follow suit with the rules society places, but the Punks are saying that just like there’s nothing wrong about wanting unity, there is nothing wrong with going against the standards that society is built on. If there are things wrong with the morale, than something should be done about it. And there is nothing wrong about wanting the subcultures to be united and fight their fight together.
    This song features the ideas of futurity and utopia. Their idea of harmony and unity is embodied within this song and by these lyrics. They believe so strongly in having a community and a group of commons but they are thirsty for the unity and the acceptance of society, as well. To be recognized as more than just people going against society, but to be recognized as people trying to create and persuade positive change.
    This song I find inspiring, in the passion of the tone and how you really begin to indirectly hear and feel what the Punks and members of other subcultures are going through. This song has so much depth through it, and it brought about a lot of appreciation towards the Punk subculture. From the outside they come off lost and slightly frightening, but they feel deep and they have strong morals, and they are willing to take action and fight for what they believe in.

  6. Operation Ivy released the song, “Sound System” from their 1989 Energy album. While listening to this song it didn’t sound like other punk songs I have listened to. This song hard a fast beat but there was no yelling or screaming going on. While analyzing the lyrics I noticed that the title was repeated constantly throughout the song. For example, “Sound system gonna bring me back up, One thing that I can depend on, Sound system gonna bring me back up, One thing that I can depend on” (lines 1-4). This made me assume that the sound system is where the music comes out from. Also, that the music that’s coming out of the sound system helps the punks depend on something. Additionally, sound systems are located in mosh pits where punks are able to listen to music from their favorite punk bands. Additionally, mosh pits are scenes that come to life for punks. They are able to relieve stress by yelling and screaming. Additionally, the music that they listen to helps them pogo which makes them jump up and down. Furthermore, the music the punks listen to in mosh pits help them find hope. For example the song states, “To resist despair that second makes you see, To resist despair because you can’t change everything, To resist despair in this world is what it is, what it is, what it is to be free” (lines 21-24). These lines are showing that the songs punks listened to helped them resist feeling hopeless. The mosh pits also helped punks feel united. During the mosh pits everyone was allowed to go in and enjoy the music that was being blasted from the sound systems. The idea of inclusivity connects to Larry Livermore’s excerpts from “How To Ru(i)n a Record Label” because he mentions the idea of “DIY.” Livermore states, “…so I may have mistakenly assumed that because we shared similar views about bands and DIY ethics, we were on the same page about everything else.” This quote is showing that punks had similar views and also the ethics of DIY. The DIY ethics for punks was the idea of inclusivity and that everyone can and should take part in. Livermore also states, “Don’t turn your backs on these kids, they represent what Berkeley has always been about, the opportunity to grow and express yourself in ways that might not be understood or tolerated anywhere else.” This quote displays the idea that everyone was welcomed into the mosh pits, even kids. Additionally, this idea of inclusivity allows the punk community to grow. Both the song and Livermore’s excerpts connect to the idea of DIY. This is because in the song Operation Ivy talks about sound systems. Sound systems helped blast music in the mosh pits which allowed punks to pogo and enjoy the music. Additionally, mosh pits allowed punks to create a community and welcome other people. As for Livermore’s excerpts he mentions DIY and gives examples of how close punks were to each other. Overall, the song and excerpt helped me obtain a stronger understanding of how punks were very inclusive.

  7. When I was looking through Operation Ivy’s Energy Album, two songs stuck out to me. One was “Smiling” and the other was “Unity.” I started with “Smiling.” I had to turn off the song after 16 seconds because I couldn’t handle the loud noise. After watching the documentary and listening to a few of Operation Ivy’s songs, I’ve come to a realization that punk style music just isn’t for me. However, I put my feelings aside and waited for the minute and 46 seconds for the song to be up. I decided to give “Unity” a chance too. I didn’t mind this one. “Unity” relates to what Livermore talks about. When you’re with a crowd of people, you generally have a good time because of the good vibes in the atmosphere. In Livermore’s piece, he states “so much joking, gossiping, and story-swapping took place just inside the door that you could easily spend the whole night there without ever seeing a band play.” This is what Operation Ivy wanted. They wanted the fighting and “war” to stop. The wanted peace between their “brothers.” The ending of the song, “unity as one stand together, unity evolutions gonna come” shows that the band really wanted for everyone to stand together and stop fighting. The lyrics to the song are very deep and this is shown in another set of lyrics stating “our evolution now has gone the way of hate, a world evolved resolved in this stupid fate.” Livermore discusses this “stupid fate” when he states “security was one of the most vital and least pleasant jobs…they’d be fighting or breaking things before the first band was through.” Like I said before, when reading the lyrics of “Unity,” the main message that comes to play is that everyone needs to stop fighting and needs to unite as one. The song has a very passionate tone, which makes the message loud and clear. It also shows that the Punks weren’t violent people. Despite the fact that they dressed differently and did drugs, they wanted to enjoy life to the fullest and have peace amongst all. To the Punks, rules did not necessarily need to be followed, which is why they got into so much trouble with the cops, however, they never caused problems with anybody. Operation Ivy looks into the future, hoping for unity to happen amongst all cultures and subcultures, which is the feelings they express with singing this song. In class we also discussed terms like DIY (Do it yourself), nihilism which was a negation of the present, and utopia which related to commons and futurity. Operation Ivy showed how they were unhappy with the present. They showed their emotions towards what was occurring around them through song. Altogether, this is a song with a powerful meaning that the band created in hopes of creating peace around them with all that was happening.

    A main question I have for Larry is if he still listens to punk and what his favorite band is at the moment.

  8. After reading the lyrics of Operation Ivy’s song “Freeze Up”, I was able to delve deeper into the minds of punks and I was able to gain a better understanding of their ideologies. In addition, after analyzing the lyrics I was able to relate them to what was discussed in Larry Livermore’s book and to what we discussed in class.

    First and foremost, “Freeze Up” discusses about the consequences of the Cold War and the effects that it’s having on the United States. The lyrics describe how the workforce is being shifted from the east coast to the west coast and that workers are being replaced by machines so that their employers can make giant profits. The group also notes that the rate of human progression is staggering comparing it to a drunk whose “…steps are quick and heavy and it’s mind is slow and blunt”

    The song can relate to what was discussed in class in the sense that Op Ivy is against the social norm and discontent with the route that American society and the government is leading them. It acts as a form of justification as to why punks behave so rebellious and why they decide to become punks in the first place. By joining the punk movement, they converge with other people that have the same principles and ideologies as they do, including going against the government and societal norms. The song also has elements of nihilism including the part where it states “I look for optimism but I just don’t know/
    Its seeds are planted in a poison place where nothing grows”. Within these lines we’re given a glimpse of the ideology and intentions of punks. Despite their rebellious conduct, punks are trying to desperately find a way to have a positive worldview but because they’re in a conservative society they’re unable to accomplish it.

    As well as relating this song to outside knowledge derived from class, I also made several connections with Livermore’s book. He elaborates on how over the years punks have matured and he claims that it shouldn’t be taken as a sign of weakness within the movement. Instead, he claims that punks are going a different direction as they realize that “…it was possible to change and improve society without dismantling it”. This section can relate to the following lines of the song: “It’s nineteen eighty nine stand up and take a look around/Weathers bitter tension it seems is sinking down”. These lyrics connect to Livermore’s book by serving as a form of realization to punks that because it’s 1989 they must mature in order to reform and correct society. It hints that times aren’t going to get any easier and they must adapt to the changes in society.

  9. Blog post #6

    Operation ivy wrote a song called “Unity” which is from their record called Energy. This piece has relation to what Larry Livermore speaks about in his excerpt from How To Ru(i)n a Record Label. My first impression of this song from just reading the title gave me a sense that the song would illustrate a utopian society. The song consistently repeats “Stop this war” which symbolically urges to end discrimination and inequality. “All so different yeah, I say we’re all the same All caught, you know, in the division game. Self-destruction fast impending like a bullet.
    No one can stop it, once it’s fired, no one can control it”. They are trying to explain that we are all brothers and sisters who all bleed red so why the inequality? Why the discrimination? They just want to stop this war. As discussed in class the punk’s main moto was unity, they did not discriminate against queers, gender, homosexuality ect, they saw each other as family members. Although Punks are categorized as nihilistic that is proven otherwise in is song. Interestingly, Larry states an interesting line “Unfortunately, when skinheads showed up at the door, it was hard to tell which kind you were getting. Diamond Dave Whitaker, a counterculture presence since the 1950s—and renown for introducing a young Bob Dylan to marijuana—ran a one-man campaign urging “beats, hippies, punks and skins to unite. But the only kind of uniting that appealed to certain skinheads involved their fists and punk rockers faces”, despite all the hardship that was taken on by the punks they still believed in Unity for society. I can strongly agree with Larry when he states that the Gilman street project was the best development he was a part of because I can see myself In his shoes at the time.

  10. The song, “The Crowd” by Operation Ivy definitely touches upon Larry Livermore’s excerpts How To Ru(i)n a Record Label . Larry Livermore begins his excerpt discussing how Gilman Street was significant in that “it stood apart from them all.” The venue actually felt like “coming home”, as he writes “it wouldn’t have been home without a family, even this family was, as the MDC song put it, a little weird.” He writes about the scene just outside the doors where money was being collected, and the commitment of a 14 year old boy, for instance, who would make a “20 mile round trip” on his skateboard just to collect money or check membership cards. This alone demonstrates the commitment that the punks had to the shows and their fellow punk members, they acted and treated it with a significance equivalent to a deep commitment one can have to a “real” family blood member, for instance. Moreover, it’s the fact that “so much joking, gossiping, and story swapping took place that just inside the door you could easily spend the whole night there”, the communal-like behavior of getting with one another and enjoying each other’s company for hours, once again demonstrates the togetherness and sense of collectivism that Punk was becoming known for.

    Nevertheless, this can be seen in Operation Ivy’s song “The Crowd”. In the song a part of the lyrics read, “If we’re scared of one another must be scared of ourself. More than just a crown we need a gathering instead.” This ties back with Larry’s excerpts and the message he was getting across, in that the punks were expressing in their music a sense of togetherness and family-like behavior. The rhythmic pattern in these lyrics definitely aid in reinforcing this idea of togetherness into the mind of the reader. The words express for punks to treat and view each other as they would want to be treated and perceived; interestingly similar to the words of the very well-known Jewish Rabbi Akiva of the second century CE: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” While this part of the lyrics does present this new identify of togetherness and collectivism that the punks were starting to be identified for, I do believe that the end of the song does touch upon the nihilistic character of negating the present. “Chose your escape in the heartland of product and demand when you feel like a wasp in the swarm”, this can be interpreted to support the nihilistic character of the punks in which they are looking for ways to escape the present and reality, and “get away anyway that you [they] can.”

  11. Operation Ivy’s record named Energy included the song “Unity”. This song was very influential at the time of its release and can be related to Larry Livermore’s excerpt from How To Ru(i)n a Record Label. From the title of the song my expectation was that it was based upon ones definition of a “perfect” society. A key line that is repeated within the song is “Stop this war”. This indicates that the band promoted peace and unity. They wanted to end the hatred that the society faced at the time. Another line that is often repeated as the song is entering it’s conclusion is “Ain’t nothin wrong, with another unity song”. This shows that this was not the first time a band has tried to relate the message of unity to its audience. The world they lived in was filled with so much hate and the fact that artist acknowledge it and promoted peace shows that the world was corrupted at the time. An even greater example would be the line “Unity evolutions gonna come”. It is repeated many times at the very end of the song. This just further emphasizes the need for unity. The line made me realize that the artist may be trying to start a revolution to promote unity. This was much needed at the time. Going back to the topic we discussed in class about the definition of punk. Punk’s message was to promote peace and unity. It allowed for the audience to relate to the artist and it was a place for coming together. This is seen in the mosh pits for example. In a mosh pit you may see all different types of people ranging from skin color, ethnicity, sexuality. I tried to imagine a mosh pit for this song and I came up with a vision of where the audience is fully embracing not only the artist but each other as well. Although punk rockers are stereotyped as pessimistic the song by Operation Ivy argues differently. In the excerpt by Livermore he brings up a very interesting story, “A counterculture presence since the 1950s…ran a one-man campaign urging ‘Beats, Hippies, Punks, and Skins’ to ‘unite’. But the only kind of uniting that appealed to certain skinheads involved their fists and punk rocker’s face”. Livermore mentions different groups and his take on unity. He highlights the different groups and this can be closely related to the song by Operation Ivy. The disagreement between the groups show how unity is important. When a community is not united, it becomes hard to function as a group. That is why Operation Ivy promotes unity. They do not want people to be divided. The repetition of the lyrics in the song shows the importance of unity and how this is the message that people must acknowledge. The idea of a utopian society is hard to achieve. Everyone has their different views that is why it becomes hard to satisfy everyone’s needs. Although the idea of unification is where it all begins.

  12. Brandon Dayan
    As we learned in class, the punk generation is much different than the beat generation previously studied in our last lectures. The beat generation represented rough times in the United States and the hardships that Americans were going through, also representing the corrupt capitalistic system. Punk goes into its own explanation and tries to make learners understand that circumstances at the time were much more stable and the movement was for a totally different reason. Punk represented a sense of unity as learned in class, which can be attributed to the gatherings that were taking place as well as a more active social environment. One way in which punks showed their unity was through songs. One song in particular that demonstrates this is written by Operation Ivy called, “The Crowd.” The song relates to what Larry explains in his writings through different points. One point that Larry expresses is the understanding that many people do not feel open. This is a great point that relates to the reading because of the fact that punk music must have “some getting to know” before rejecting it. Many feel as though Punk should not be given a chance, but as the song is written, “if we are scared of one another, we must be scared of ourselves.” In other words, there should be openness between individuals and less fear. It goes back to the idea of unity and how fear should be the last idea thought of. Fear not only doesn’t bring people together, but it rather separates people quite quickly. This is an idea that Larry brings up in his writing as he tries to explain how it serves as a significant problem to the society we live in today. At first, the song sounded very straight forward and not smooth to me. As I read Larry’s reading I started to get a better understanding of the music that I was listening to. It came to me that the music being displayed was more than just a not smooth sound that was taking place, there is meaning behind it. Punk music also helps bring a huge sense of energy into people, when needed. I feel as though, there is huge potential for punk music and I can’t wait to continue in listening to more. Larry attending our class gives us an opportunity to go further in trying to understand punk and what he thinks are the most important aspects of it. Over the weekend, I have a question I would like to ask Larry and start a conversation regarding this matter with the class.

  13. After reading the lyrics of “unity” a by Operation ivy from their record called Energy. I can determine that this song can be related to what Larry Livermore speaks about in his excerpt from How To Ru(i)n a Record Label. Going to the reading I expected this title to portrait a song that would promote piece and obliviously unity. After close reading this song It allowed me to dig deeper into the minds of the punks. After reading this song I realized that while punks may use and unorthodox tone they are fighting for very normal causes. In “unity” we come across there pursuit of world peace and to end war. In this song they also talk about equality by expressing that we all bleed so therefore we are all the same.
    This song is directly related to the discussion we had in class because we can see how rebellious the punks are and how they veer of from the social norm. The most important connection between our class and the song is that even thought the punks differ from the norm they are still trying to keep a positive outlook on the world. For example in the song the speak about how they want an end to all war. The punks may express themselves in a peculiar way but there still fighting to better the world. This idea also connects to Larry Livermore as he talks about how challenging it is for punks to express positive outlooks to the world. Larry also speaks about how he missed out on many great songs due to his inability to open up. I can directly relate to this and say after listening to “unity” that I should open my horizons. After close reading the song I found that when I listened to it after it became more appealing. For example I was better able to understand what he was saying because I already analyzed it.
    One question that I would ask Larry is what connections on a personal level does he male with punk music. To further expand on that why is punk music no different then regular music.

  14. A popular American punk band named Operation Ivy released a song called, “Unity” from their Energy album. I never really listened to punk before this song and it was not exactly what I expected when the word “punk music” comes to mind. As the media portrays punk is how I would have imagined it, loud and violent, a lot of yelling and profanity. It is not something I would personally listen to, but the beat and rhythm were surprisingly catchy. Throughout all the lyrics, the message relayed was the want and need of unity among society and its subcultures that are not necessarily noticed. As the lead singer sings the exact word, “war” you can hear in his voice the anger and animosity he has towards war and the joining of the background singers unifying themselves. The lyrics then proceed, “civilization: ha! I call it as I see it, I call it bullshit you know, I still cannot believe it, Our evolution now has gone the way of hate, a world evolved resolved into this stupid fate,” the band is basically laughing at civilization because the idea and purpose of war is not a civilized and we call first world countries civilized societies when constantly we are in war or fighting and killing our own people: other humans. When Operation Ivy speaks of evolution, the definition of evolution is to evolve in a progressive and adaptive way, that advances society and in other words the lyrics are saying the complete opposite, that our evolution is rapidly declining into a negative way in which nobody can simple find a way to get along with one another. I think in a perfect world, the genuine thought and idea of this song is amazing. Everyone uniting as one, everyone getting along, no war, no problems. Realistically speaking, there will always be issues throughout the world, society, countries, even disputes amongst own family members. War is extreme and almost hard not to fathom when living in a world that every other day there is violence and shootings, mass killings, war amongst countries but almost is inevitable to not have disputes and problems between people.

  15. #6
    In Larry’s reading, he talks about many topics to stand out what is punk. He talks about unity or collectivism mainly. This his quote, “her was a crowd but it wasn’t crowded. The energy level was high but nothing like the nerve…everywhere you look you’ll see happy faces and togetherness.” So, this is what is special about the Gilman Street. Gilman Street is one of the rare place during the 1980s that allowed punks to share their ideas throughout music. It built its own little community that is separate from outside. Within this little community, everyone is the same and everyone is like their friends and family members. People knew what their friends were doing. In this club, it gave Punks the warm feeling of togetherness that they never felt that before. Gilman Street is also good about that it only provides people to play with music. There was no drug deal, violence, and racism. As long as people can follow the rules, no matter how they dress, they allow to come in. So, this gave Punks a greater chance to chat and gather with each other. The song from the “Operation Ivy (Energy), “The Crowd”, express the idea of unity too. The lyrics, “We need a gathering instead, another member of the crow goes down to drown at the liquor store, choose your escape in the heartland.” This part of song tells how punk interact with one and another. It describes the moment how punks were gathering together drinking their liquor. This is a moment that was important to them because they unconstraint to accompany with their friend. They got drunk together and they hallucinate together. In Larry’s reading, it also points out the theme of DIY, which means to ask yourself what you want, not listen to others what they say. What made him start a music label, Lookout, is he wanted to hear a good music. He didn’t believe a good music, (the type of ones he wants) can find in store. At that point, he had started to figure out music is more important to any other stuffs. Even though he didn’t have money to pay his rent, he would still do his music. The lyrics, just get me the airport and put me in a plane, before I go insane/ I can’t control my fingers I can’t control my brain” from the song, “ I Wanna Be Sedated” emphasize the punks can’t stop from doing something what they want; they want to voice out immediately. This is another example of DIY because it truly tell the punk is demanding to do his things, not the things of what the society ask for. Another idea Larry wants to point out is the Utopian society. “But I saw no reason why we had to cater only to shouldn’t have to wear a certain costume or subscribe to a certain ideology. What Larry tries to say from here is he believe punks the same from everyone eyes; there is no need to discriminate or against punk culture. Punks does what other people also do. They both go for their hobbies. It just punks are bravely express their hate and excitement.

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