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Punk blues
Stylistic origins Punk rock, protopunk, blues, garage rock
Cultural origins Early 1980s, United States
Typical instruments Guitar - drums - Piano - Harmonica - Hammond organ, Farfisa organ - Bass guitar
Mainstream popularity Largely underground and popular with punks, teds, rockers, greasers and hipsters. Very few bands such as The White Stripes and the Blues Explosion have had mainstream success.
Regional scenes
England, Europe, United States
Other topics
Timeline of punk rock, timeline of alternative rock, cowpunk, psychobilly, garage rock, garage punk, Sludge Metal

Punk blues (or blues punk) denotes a fusion genre of punk rock and blues.[1] Punk blues musicians and bands usually incorporate elements of related styles,[2] such as protopunk music and blues-rock. Its origins lie strongly within the garage rock sound of the 1960s and 1970s.

Punk blues predominantly tends to be an underground music style in terms of music genres, and is mostly unrecognized by the music mainstream, or mislabeled a neologism due to its low visibility. Punk blues can be said to favor the common rawness, simplicity and emotion shared between the punk and blues genres[3] over the politics and lifestylism prevalent within the broader punk subculture and, in turn, it is much more a musical style than a counterculture.

Chet Weise, singer/guitarist of The Immortal Lee County Killers has stated, "Punk and blues are both honest reactions to life. It's blues, it's our blues. It's just a bit turned up and a bit faster."[4]



Before the beginning of the punk movement of the late 1970s, several important forerunners such as the MC5, The Stooges, The Who, The Sonics, Captain Beefheart, the New York Dolls, and Jayne County have displayed a fascination with American blues.

Allmusic states that punk blues draws on the influence of the "garage rock sound of the mid-'60s, the primal howl of early Captain Beefheart, and especially in the raw and desperate sound of the Gun Club's landmark Fire of Love LP from 1981."[1] Also according to, "...punk blues really came to life in the early '90s with bands like the seminal Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The Oblivians, The Gories and the Gibson Brothers", and "...continued into the 2000s with even more visibility thanks to the popularity of The White Stripes."[1] John Doe of L.A. punk band X claims that frontman Jeffrey Lee Pierce and The Gun Club invented a completely new style of music by mixing punk and blues.[5]

Key performers


In Pulaski, Tennessee, there is a Punk N Blues Cafe specializing in music oriented towards fans of punk blues.[6] Additionally, many punk blues bands perform at the Deep Blues Festival. Their activities and releases are often chronicled by Punk Rock Blues, self-proclaimed "London-based promoters of hard rockin', punked-up, primal blues mayhem" who also manage Not The Same Old Blues Crap.

Related bands

Beginning with their 1988 album Prison Bound, the punk band Social Distortion began incorporating rockabilly, country and blues influences into their music.

The Detroit garage rock scene that bore bands such as The White Stripes continues to thrive with punk blues musicians, and bands that can be tied to the style, such as The Detroit Cobras, Geraldine, Mystery Girls, The Reigning Sound, Soledad Brothers, The Von Bondies, and countless others. The Boston band Mr. Airplane Man[7] and the Ohio band Pearlene are other notable bands that play in this style.

The indie rock bands The Gossip, The Kills[8] and Deadboy & the Elephantmen,[9] have been associated by the media with a punk/blues sound.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Punk Blues Genre AMG, Retrieved on May 21, 2008
  2. ^ British Rhythm and Blues - The Convulsions: High-Eneergy Original British RnB and Punk Blues, Retrieved on May 21, 2008
  3. ^ Punk and Blues Evolution: Immortal Lee County Killers, Retrieved on May 21, 2008
  4. ^
  5. ^ Ghost on the Highway - The "Cast"
  6. ^
  7. ^ allmusic ((( Mr. Airplane Man > Overview )))
  8. ^ allmusic ((( The Kills > Biography )))
  9. ^ allmusic ((( Deadboy & the Elephantmen > Overview )))

Simple English

Punk Blues is a genre of music which mixes elements of Punk Rock with Blues Rock. It is considered a type of Underground Music as it has not yet achieved mainstream popularity on radio and television and through sales of music. It is most popular in the United States. An example of a Punk Blues band is the Imortal Lee County Killers and the Gun Club. One artist who may be considered to have been a big influence on this genre is Captain Beefheart.



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