Sonic Youth and Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd: Interstellar Overdrive

Kurt: “Exactly which parts of daydream nation sound like pink floyd? Minutemen are prog rock? I think you are stretching your “everything is prog rock” thesis a bit too far. If you said that husker du sounded like king crimson on zen arcade then yes, but really, come on. Exactly which parts of daydream nation sound like pink floyd? Minutemen are prog rock? I think you are stretching your “everything is prog rock” thesis a bit too far. If you said that husker du sounded like king crimson on zen arcade then yes, but really, come on.”

Trickledown:
Basically, the first two Minutemen albums as prog rock: the complicated bass and the tricky timing that’s way different from punk rock, the bass is like in Yes or Gentle Giant, the guitar is complicated and tricky, so is the drumming, it’s way different from punk or hardcore, and the Minutemen were big fans of Captain Beefheart which falls under the prog rock umbrella in terms of experimentation.

I would say the first two Minutemen albums are as much prog rock as they are punk, not necessarily like keyboard laden prog but tricky time change prog (Yes and Gentle Giant happen to have bits of both). Daydream Nation, the echo and noise breakdowns like in Silver Rocket and Total Trash, are very similar in parts and vibe to a lot of Pink Floyd’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn, it’s their most indie album, with Syd Barret, I’m not talking about Dark Side of the Moon or anything.

Check out songs like Interstellar Overdrive (the beginning few seconds sounds exactly like a song on Daydream Nation or Goo even!) or Astronomy Domine, they’re quite different from more mainstream Pink Floyd (which I happen to like too). They’re very experimental noise rock, art rock, postpunk even at times, much different from what people consider more “bloated” PInk Floyd (but which has become much more influential on bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor etc in recent years).

Pink Floyd: Astronomy Domine

Here’s another person in a book on rock calling Minutemen prog rock, saying they fused hardcore and prog… Also here: “Borrowing the pagan impetus from hardcore, the harsh quirkiness from the new wave and the cerebral, and the convoluted indulgence from progressive-rock, the Minutemen concocted the miniature hardcore shrapnels of Punch Line (feb 1981 – nov 1981) and What Makes A Man Start Fires (jul/aug 1982 – jan 1983).

The acrobatic primitivism of these albums became even more neurotic and atonal on Double Nickels On The Dime (nov 1983/apr 1984 – jul 1984), one of the most ambitious recordings of the decade, a veritable encyclopedia of musical styles revisited from the point of view of a spastic genius reminiscent of Captain Beefheart and the Pop Group. After Boon’s untimely death in 1985, the survivors hired a new vocalist, renamed themselves fIREHOSE (1), released Ragin’ Full On (oct 1986 – nov 1986) and pursued a more conscious program to refound the song format, except that R.E.M.-like folk-rock took over Minutemen’s unpredictable structures.” http://www.scaruffi.com/history/cpt49.html

Pink Floyd and Sonic Youth:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/jun/05/sonic-youth-rock-music
“Gary Gersh, who signed us, had some sort of idea that ‘You guys could be the next Pink Floyd,'” Gordon remembers with a smile.”

Here’s a comment on Youtube
“Anybody else think that Sonic Youth ripped early floyd off alot….?” rassault 1 month ago

A whole thread on Piper at the Gates of Dawn on a Sonic Youth fan site http://www.sonicyouth.com/gossip/showthread.php?t=16479

Also,
“As D. Boon of the Minutemen famously said, “Punk is whatever we made it to be.” This seemed especially true of the generation of American iconoclasts associated with independent labels such as SST and Discord in the 1980s. Not unlike prog-rock or fusion of the time, these bands experimented with song structure, lyrical content, improvisation, and even crowd control. But unlike their more “respectable” counterparts, the punks sought to disrupt the complacent social order they inherited.”
http://www.bassplayer.com/article/21st-century-upright/April-2010/110637

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One Response

  1. What Sonic Youth’s eccentric rambles and tight songs bring to mind is a social and outre vista quite unlike the whimsical, lace fringed time machine of the Pink Floyd – both out there, just heading out on entirely different orbits 🙂

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