Author Topic: Jan and Dean punk music quote by Dave Marsh  (Read 4252 times)


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Jan and Dean punk music quote by Dave Marsh
« on: December 08, 2016, 12:31:20 PM »
I am looking for information for an assignment I'm doing on punk rock. In Jan and Dean's Wikipedia page it states "according to rock critic Dave Marsh, the attitude and public persona of punk rock can be traced to Jan and Dean.[58] Certainly their early hits, recorded with myriad overdubs in a garage, and their casual and goofy stage antics were consistent with some of punk rock's ethos. and gives: "An Analytical Study", in the liners for Jan and Dean's Anthology" as the source. I don't have the Anthology album. If anyone can point me to where I can see the entry or can post it or pm it, that it would be very helpful!!

Mark A. Moore

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Re: Jan and Dean punk music quote by Dave Marsh
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2016, 07:54:12 PM »
Saw this and responded over at Smiley Smile, but posting it here as well:

Some of this is quoted in my book . . . You'll need to read the entire Dave Marsh piece for context, but here are a few quotes that should help you with your project:

“If surf music did touch a nerve or two in the American adolescent sciata it was a ganglia of both schlock and humor. With Jan & Dean, the schlock was humor, and that’s where they fit in: if the Beatles were the head-bone of rock ‘n’ roll, then Jan & Dean were the funny-bone, as assuredly as the Rolling Stones are the crotch and Bob Dylan the heart.”

“Jan & Dean saw the innate ludicrousness of people pretending to care about surfin’ and rodding when what they really wanted (as everyone knew all along) was to get down, to play some rock and roll.”

“So in the early sixties, Jan & Dean took a tack that five years later was powerful enough to spawn a whole cult, i.e. Bonzo Dog Band and the Mothers of Invention. Iggy Stooge and Alice Cooper are in many ways the heritage of the facetiousness of Jan & Dean, for the hysteria that Ig and Alice manipulate so well was first defined as such by the torrid surf duo.”

“One by one they removed all the excuses, ripping to shreds forms like folk-rock and exposing the roots for what they were: pure and simple rock ‘n’ roll. . . . Jan & Dean were the first enemies of genre-rock (of which surf-rock was the proto-form). God bless them for that!”

“They stayed close to their roots, for the most part, and let the music carry the satire, rather than the vice-versa that has been implicit ever since in all those oh-so-overt attempts at over-hip satirical messagizing.”

“The point is, Jan & Dean understood our mythology. . . . While desirous of exploding our myth-within-a-myth (i.e. that we were really about surfing, hot-rodding, etc., when we were really trying to say that we were about rock and roll), they were consciously trying to nudge it to a higher plane. Maybe they did that, and then their time ran out.”

“So they were not only conspiratorial, they were subversive as a bitch as well.”

“The thing about Jan & Dean was, they were so GOOD at ti, which made them subtle, which is a key to effective satire anyway.”

“Of all the killer albums Jan & Dean ever recorded, the A-number one most killer fucking one of them all was the famous Command Performance.”

“Sure, Jan & Dean came off as punks, but that’s all to the good because if rock ’n’ roll isn’t a medium for punks, what is it?”

“Rather than an ode to the generality of rock and roll, the T.A.M.I. Theme [“(Here They Come) From All Over the World”] was a paen to punk-rock specifics. . . . Nearly everyone on that show was punk, and a punk in the classiest mid-sixties sense.”

“What endeared Jan & Dean to their hard-core fans, I suspect, was their absolute refusal to acquire the garb of pretension that so many other rock heroes (even surf ones; you know who I mean) were swinging about like symbols of their very manhood in 1965-1967. Certainly, they seemed to be saying, we’ll sell ya Jan & Dean Little Old Lady from Pasadena Skateboards. Isn’t crassness what rock and roll is all about?”

“They understood the inherent sham that professional mythmaking is, in a way that Abbie Hoffman never will.”


Dave Marsh
“An Analytical Study”
Jan & Dean Anthology
United Artists UAS-9961

Salzburg Surf Scene

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Re: Jan and Dean punk music quote by Dave Marsh
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2016, 06:28:29 AM »
This is a really important piece by Marsh - he was evidently one of the first - if not the first - to refer spefically to "punk music". But the key think to remember here is that he wrote this in 1971 - before what people generally think of as punk music (Ramones, Sex Pistols, The Clash) were around. When Marsh used the term in 1971, he was thinking of the harder garage sounds of the mid to late 60s - The Standells, MC5 etc. Most casual listeners today would not identify J&D as punk; indeed, Jan's soaring arrangements appear the very opposite of the punk ethos of simplicity.
But I do think that a strong case can be made. The bands Marsh thinks J&D influenced were a key starting point for the punk movement; and a number of key punks acts have an obvious debt to surf: bands like the Ramones, who continually cited and covered J&D (as Marky Ramone said: "The Ramones obviously loved the Beach Boys, but Johnny and I liked Jan & Dean better."); but also the likes of Blondie. The we have the post punk/garage bands like The Barracudas, who are perhaps the most J&D-esque band ever.

I've been thining of writing an article on the influence/legacy of J&D, which can be seen in a string of different genres. I get the feeling that because surf music hasn't been "cool" for quite a while (generally among people whose entire knowledge of the genre is Surfin USA)  bands and even more so music journalists (whose "taste" and "expertsie" is often determined by what they are meant to like) don't want to recognise it, or simply don't know J&D's music well enough. But its there, in punk, in power pop, and in Indie. 90s Britpop has traces of it - something many of the main bands might not even be aware of - but the classic cover of the Lightening Seeds' "Like You Do" is quick reference to surf in general, but laced with surreal humour that is so reminiscent of J&D:

Marsh's article is a key piece of evidence here, but we mustn't forget when it was written "punk music" meant something different, or at least carried different connotations. The more I learn about the ethos of punk, the more I see of J&D in it.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2016, 06:30:58 AM by Salzburg Surf Scene »