In Judge Ryan Keefer's day, he didn't have rock stars that appeared in movies, opened their own restaurants or started clothing lines. He listened to music from the Ramones and the Stooges, and he liked it!
From Elvis to Iggy, all the punks are here!
It's kind of hard to imagine what late night talk shows were like before the days of O'Brien, Stewart, Leno and Letterman. More to the point, when Johnny Carson was on, there was no real alternative to his late night gold standard. Any real hope that young bands would have to get media exposure was seemingly to try and jostle for the limited number of musical guest appearances on Saturday Night Live, unless you felt like checking out Tom Snyder. The cigarette smoking talk show host encouraged his viewers to "fire up the colorcast" and to enjoy a wide variety of guests who shared many different viewpoints. And somehow, he managed to attract a wealth of musicians during the punk rock era.
For those who were born after 1981, punk rock is music that Green Day, The Strokes and Jet play to try to sound aggressive and angry. But for those who are a little more acquainted with the era, punk rock (or New Wave, depending on your preference) was forged by bands like the Ramones in America, and the Sex Pistols in Great Britain. They provided an aggressive alternative to the music of the time. Disco was very popular, as proven with the release of Saturday Night Fever, and normal established rock bands at the time were either disbanding or going stale creatively. Punk gave a new voice to the young people of the time, where they articulated their displeasure with the system and everybody associated with it.
Snyder didn't really promote the bands that came on the show, but he did help give them a chance to be experienced in a broader way that radio wasn't doing for them at the time. Most of the time, he managed to give them a relatable factor to Joe Sixpack who viewed the show in Podunk, Kansas. This is to Snyder's credit, because he seemed to be on the few that would actively give these artists increased visibility. The folks at Shout! Factory have managed to pull together some of the episodes where these artists appeared on Snyder's Tomorrow show, and have treated the old punk in your family to two discs of fun and good times. The breakdown is as follows:
• February 3, 1981
• February 12, 1981
• May 20, 1981
• June 25, 1980
• May 27, 1981
• September 1, 1981
All in all, this seems to be a slightly fond look back at a quick (but memorable) music genre. This is somewhat of a cheap plug, but for those who are curious about the genre, and would like to listen to some of the lesser known music, or find out more about it, former Black Flag singer and self-proclaimed "aging alternative icon" Henry Rollins (The Chase) currently hosts a weekly radio show in California on KDLE named "Harmony In My Head," where he plays anything ranging from Jerry Lee Lewis to The Cramps. Either you'll get turned on to music that you've not heard in a long time, or you'll discover them for the first time. I've included the KDLE Web site and the "Harmony in My Head" Web site (named after a Buzzcocks tune) for your reference and enjoyment.
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