I am drawing the book on Nick Cave to a close, but in some backup reading I came across the following significant piece of information. Punk – which is where the early Cave bands – The Boys Next Door and The Birthday Party – are located, is usually dated from the release of the Ramones’ self titled first album in April, 1976, followed by the Sex Pistols’ ‘Anarchy in the UK’ in November 1976. In between, Australia’s own band, The Saints, released the brilliant self-pressed single ‘(I’m) Stranded‘ in October (managed finally to hear The Saints live in 2008 and the performance was as good as ever).
But were the Ramones really the first? Ed Kuepper from the Saints has this to say:
One thing I remember having had a really depressing effect on me was the first Ramones album. When I heard it [in 1976], I mean it was a great record … but I hated it because I knew we’d been doing this sort of stuff for years. There was even a chord progression on that album that we used … and I thought, “Fuck. We’re going to be labeled as influenced by the Ramones”, when nothing could have been further from the truth.
And since The Saints predate the Ramones as a band, that would make The Saints the first punk band.