Punk Bands and Fashions in Superb Photos from 1976 – 1977.
Above Photo: The Clash in their rehearsal studio, London, 1976. (© Sheila Rock)
I recently saw a great selection of Punk photographer Sheila Rock’s work in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, promoting her book ‘Punk+‘.
The book features many of her photos which brilliantly capture the time – especially Punk fashions and Punk bands in 1976-1977, which is when all the photographs accompanying this article were taken.
“Chrissie Hynde (above, far right) invited me down to a rehearsal so I came with my little hand-flash camera and took some shots. She was working at the NME at the time and didn’t want anyone to know she was in a group or what they were called. They got in trouble with the name later. Steve Strange was the singer.” (© Sheila Rock)
All the photos are copyrighted to Sheila Rock and I have added her descriptions of them below each photo.
Jordan, shop assistant in Sex, King’s Road, London, 1976.
‘Sex was a kind of intimidating place,’ says Sheila Rock, ‘but I just went in and asked if I could take pictures of the interior. People were happy to be noticed and have their picture taken. Jordan was this very strong, vibrant presence through her visual style.’ (© Sheila Rock)
What I like about her comments is that she understood, as everyone who passed through that scene did, how powerfully life-changing Punk could be. That’s something I write about on a very personal level in my 1970s-1980s bands, Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out!
Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php
More Sheila Rock photos and captions below.
Eater, in their manager’s flat, Islington, December 1976.
‘They were so young. Still at school. I think the drummer was 14 or something. His punk name was Dee Generate and he’s now a social worker. The singer was Andy Blade and his mum made his T-shirt. There was an innocence and a purity to them and I remember they were quite nervous posing for the photographs. Punk was such a cultural force that it allowed all these young people to do things they would not have dreamed of doing, like forming a group and playing at the Roxy while you were still at school.’ (© Sheila Rock)
Acme Attractions shop, November 1976
(at the table, left to right, Debbie Juvenile, Siouxsie Sioux and Steven Severin; behind them, Simon Barker). I was in the basement and these kids came down the stairs and they just looked so extraordinary. Early punks were stylish in the extreme and people tend to forget that and concentrate on the grunge and the mohicans and all that later stuff. This was creativity and self-invention out of very little money and such attention to detail. You wanted to be different so you made yourself look different – the shoes, the clothes, the make-up. There is a kind of purity to it that I love.’ (© Sheila Rock)
Subway Sect, Chalk Farm, London, December 1976
‘It’s like I wandered in on these eccentric guys who were so pure and quirky and shy, which is kind of what happened. I’d gone to the rehearsal studio to photograph the Clash, but they weren’t around so Bernie (Rhodes), who managed both groups, asked me to take some pictures of Subway Sect. They were like a sect. They were quiet and a bit odd. They would busk in a subway in Hammersmith to get the fare across London. They just look so strange and beautiful. The painting in the background is an early Paul Simonon landscape’ (© Sheila Rock)
Billy Idol of Generation X, 1977. (© Sheila Rock)
Jeannette Lee, London, 1976.
‘Jeannette was an important person in the punk scene, a kind of catalyst for a lot of people. She worked with Don Letts in Acme Attractions and it was she who dragged him down to the Roxy club, where all the early punk groups played and where he became the resident DJ. She later became a member of Public Image Ltd with John Lydon and the rest and she now co-owns Rough Trade. Punk was the beginning of a lot of people’s careers, the place where they reinvented themselves for the first time. Those were halcyon days for a lot of people.’ (© Sheila Rock).