Subway Sect – Nobody’s Scared

Subway Sect – Nobody’s Scared // Don’t Split It (BRAIK Records) 1978. Coming out of the original 1977 UK punk rock explosion, the Subway Sect did not feel the need to hammer you over the head with their rage and complete dissatisfaction at the system. Instead they reacted to the world by being detached and generally lifeless, as if giving enough of a shit represented caring too much. Musically they did not mine the same proto-Stooges vein that other bands playing punk rock in our year of our Rotten, 1977 did but instead went further back in time to the 2nd Velvets album with its drone-like chord progressions, minimalist aspirations and generally dour worldview. The visual approach of the band was also relatively unique at the time. With nary a safety pin in sight, the Sect, as Caroline Coon wrote in her frustrating yet seminal book, 1988 wore “dustbin-grey jerseys and trousers”. The entire approach of the band really pre-supposed the mopey indie rock scene by a good 25 years. Unlike a lot of indie rock bands though, the Subway Sect also wrote some really great songs and this, their second 45, represents their high point in my opinion. This 45 and Subway Sect in general also represent a pretty good lesson in Punk 101. “No rules” means “no rules”. It’s something of a cliché now but the fact that a band like the Subway Sect, who deliberately went out of their way to be different from all of the other bands on their scene, could still be considered part of that scene is proof positive that said scene embraced the idea of “no rules”. Of course, this idea that punk isn’t music but instead a “no-rules” approach has now been so thoroughly bastardized that we have utter abominations like Punk Parenting and Punk Aerobics. So what the fuck do I know? It is early in the day and Joe Stumble has not had his coffee. His punk rock coffee, that is. Time to go destroy some kitchenware.

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5 Responses to Subway Sect – Nobody’s Scared

  1. chris g says:

    the funny thing about that punk parents article is that while it seems like the author’s closest link to punk rock was perhaps catching the Quincy Punk episode when it was new, they’re exactly right about punk parents

    except Artifix Greg of course

  2. Joe says:

    See here is the thing for me, punk rock to me is a form of music. It is aggressive, adolescent, angry nihilistic music that is shitloads of fun. It is there for you the rest of your life to listen to and enjoy. It is not an approach to cooking, a way to do aerobics, and especially not a way to parent. Parenting is all about responsibility, authority, love and compassion…none of those things are traits I would ascribe to punk rock. What these folks really are doing is DIY or individualist or whatever and its all very cool…just dont label it “punk rock” because that just neuters what punk rock really is.

    I’ve touched on this before in my review of the Masque Book.

    So did the literati try to pull that shit during the punk explosion of 1977? Did they try to co-opt punk rock and fuel it full of Artaud references? Like I said, I was in the webelos at the time so don’t ask me. But if they did, they clearly got it wrong. Cuz punk rock was inherently a nihilistic, disposable genre and attaching your agenda to it just cramps its style baby. As Mullen says it, “it’s raw art”.

  3. fernando says:

    Hey Joe, it’s been a while since I don’t comment here. “Nobody’s Scared” wasnt the 2nd single of the Sect but the first one (3/78). The 2nd one was “Ambition” (10/78) and then the band split and Godard put out a record under the Sect’s name in 1980 (a very good one, with a different style, swing-punk or something like that) with the Black Arabs, Terry Chimes and other people. Leaving the mistake aside, I enjoyed a lot your writing (as usual). Oh God, these links. Evil has no boundaries (as Slayer put it) :D but it all (well, at least the big thing) all started in the mid 1990s with the so-called corporate punk and now it’s no surprise to see things like those.
    Fernando :)

  4. Joe says:

    yknow I thought that this was their first bc Ambition adds keyboards…teach me to trust Discogs over my own knowledge again!

  5. chris g says:

    hey joe, would you happen to know whether “Stool Pigeon” is an original SS song from the 70s, or if it was part of the revival material?

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