After a chance meeting in a library in Barcelona, a collection of true gems were uncovered from the primative years of punk. A tempting glimpse into the music genre that took grip of the world’s youth, right from behind closed doors.
The photo collection was taken by legendary punk journalist Philomena “Philly” Winstanley. Alongside her partner, Claude “Kickboy Face” Bessy, they co-founded Slash magazine, LA’s legendary punk-rock fanzine.
In and amongst all the bands of the fledgling scene, LA was rife with new and emerging music. In the shadow of the dying rock and roll era, the young were seeking a new type of excitement; one of anarchy.
Whilst punk in the UK emerged shortly after, the first punk bands could be found in the garages of LA.
In an amazing swoop of luck, the photo collection was unearthed in 2000 in a library in Barcelona, when a young punk fan was making photocopies of her punk fanzine, and Philomena walked past.
She began reciting her stories of the days she photographed some of punks biggest names, when they were at the start of their musical careers.
Eventually she invited the young fan back to her house and gifted her a box, full of old, intimate photos taken in a fashion far less anarchical than the usual portrayal of punk.
But that was exactly the style of Slash Magazine.
Unconventional by default, Slash would detail interviews that covered outrageously strange topics, and include photographs, which stepped away wherever possible from the traditional front-row concert shots in favour of more personal settings, such as the beach right next to Philly and Claude’s house.
The infamous John Lydon looks pensive and remarkably relaxed for once.
Now the photos have been published in a book, Underground Babylon, by music journalist Ivar Muñoz-Rojas’, which is a visual testimony of LA’s first punks. The book also features extensive interviews with Philomena conducted over several years.
Here frontman Javier Escovedo (possibly the greatest name ever) from The Zeros commands the crowd.
Dead Kennedys were an American punk rock band that formed in San Francisco, California, in 1978.
The band was one of the defining hardcore punk bands during its initial eight-year run in the scene.
British legends Madness are pictured here on a beach in LA, enjoying the sunshine they rarely see in their home town of London.
Not sure if Madness are really punk, but we love them so who cares.
You can put them in a punk book, why not?
Another legend of punk music, Nick Cave, is looking a little forlorn, staring into the grass, seemingly unaware his friend is talking to him.
Looking as punk as ever.
Pete Shelley offers his opinion whilst nestled into a plant.
Pete formed part of one of the UK’s biggest punk bands, forming in Bolton in 1976.
They are regarded as a seminal influence on the Manchester music scene, the independent record label movement, punk rock, power pop, and pop punk.