trumpwillwin-notextPunk rock was many things to many people- a fantastically indefinable force that had a huge cultural impact. The latest claim by one of those buck toothed and too scrubbed clean looking with cardboard voices, handbag skin and polystyrene heart American news readers on Fox news that Donald Trump’s latest trip to the UK has had the cultural and political impact of the Ramones blowing away prog rock in 1976 is as dumb and genius as that band themselves.

Greg Gutfeld reacted to President Trump’s ongoing NATO-England-Finland tour by saying that he should be considered “the punk rock president.”
“Donald Trump is The Ramones of politics,” he said.
Gutfeld said that the British left’s “baby Trump” balloon had “absolutely no effect” because Trump’s impact on the world is “bigger than a balloon.”
He said that in the 1970s, British music was defined as soft rock or progressive rock — naming bands like Air Supply and Genesis.

Gutfeld said that, like Trump today, as the decade progressed, The Ramones, an American band from Queens, N.Y., landed in London and “destroyed that whole scene.”
10 thoughts…

1.There is a great argument that Trump and other demons of the right like Thatcher were one of the logical conclusions of punk rock and rock n roll. We once toyed with this idea about Thatcher here. The end game of this ‘I’m an individual and fuck everyone else’ that was at the heart of sixties and seventies pop culture is now being played out by the likes of Trump on fh big and dangerous world stage with the same kind of political nous and in touch with the public sneer as a limousine riding, spoilt brat, ageing rock star with a bloated ego and well glued on toupee. Of course there is another punk narrative that the music was like the small mammals gnawing away at the bloated Dinosaurs of the rock-stocracy – the vain, pompous, out of touch arrogant lumbering beasts of showbiz and their attendant cosy media but I guess Fox News would be less keen to promote that idea!

2. It’s always been a mistake to assume that punk was a glorious liberal left revolution of the good people. Right from the start there was a confusion of ideas. The Ramones themselves were hardly beating the drum for the liberals apart from Joey and, famously, Johnny Ramone was always a standard bearer for the right and surely would have possibly been more than happy to have played Trump’s inauguration.

3. The word rebel has been hijacked and stolen by the super rich. Where it once meant defying the mainstream and the establishment those same forces have co-opted the word and sold it back. In the 21st century the word rebel means a vain billionaire who was gifted a fortune, stamping his tiny feet on everyone else and getting applauded for it. The establishment, on their 600 bedroom yachts, now pretend that they are Robin Hood like figures whilst they ‘steal from the poor to give to the rich’ which has become the new mantra and the protest singers with a thousand million in their bank accounts are part of this process.

4. People used to say keep politics out of rock n roll but it might be better to keep rock n roll out of politics.

5. Pop culture’s great mantra of ‘the lie is better than the truth’ worked perfectly in the fuzzy world of showbiz but in the 21st century it has become the heart and soul of the new mainstream. Lying is now virtuous. The truth the first casualty of the digital war. Slick PR and distorted media tricks learnt from the pop culture hype machine power all the dictator-presidents from Putin to Trump in the age of the tweeting dictator or the twit-tator.

6. The Ramones and part of the punk movement appeared to sneer at the hippies which may have been necessary at the time to create some space in pop culture but once it became the prevailing idea in culture it was the death of any counter culture ideas which were shrunk down to buying a toy Buddha to put in your expensively pointed front room.

7. Actually the Ramones and punk didn’t sweep away prog rock…those bands just got bigger and bigger once they were removed from the so called frontline. The back to basics retro rush of the Ramones may well have been genius and the music sounds great to this day but in some ways it was the first of the curmudgeons who wanted music to go backwards to the ‘good old days’ . Facebook is now littered with elderly men who think ‘music nowadays’ is terrible because it left them behind. Like some kind of weird dark matter quirk in the universe, the Ramones were in the unique position of fast forwarding the future and dragging back to the past at the same time!
8. Donald Trump captures all this in his 1-2-3-4 politics. The complex world situation boiled down to half thought out tweets. The smart pretending to be dumb but maybe actually dumb schtick of the Ramones sat on the rocket to russia. The ‘America first’ rock n roll boiled down to its core and stuck through a fuzz box.

9. Maybe despite all its love and peace promises the sixties was the true Trump decade. The high decibel shouting and stadium posturing with a big dose of the seventies selfish slapped on top. Like all great pop culture it’s about the hair more than the content. It’s about the high decibel bluster and not the melody. It’s one of those backstage controlled by hundreds of passes that reads of privilege and puffed out chest bravado. It’s I wanna be Me I am an individual fuck everyone else turned into a political movement.

10. I still love the Ramones records.

Previous articleYa Ya Logic: Own the World – album review
Next articleThe Proclaimers: Angry Cyclist – video/single and album news
Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. On April 23, I posted this on FB:
    Is Donald Trump America’s First Punk Rock President?
    Ted Cruz just called Donald Trump a “Flash-bang grenade thrown into Washington”.
    First of all, let me state at the outset that I love Rock and Roll, and Punk Rock holds a particular place in my heart. And I despise Donald Trump. I have always felt contempt for him, having grown up in the Metro-New York Area, I’ve seen and heard enough of him over the years to know exactly what he is, and who he is. He is despicable and contemptible.
    So I was practically knocked back on my heels when a co-worker suggested to me that Trump was to politics as Punk Rock was to Rock ‘n’ Roll. Gobsmacked. My first reaction was that a better analogy might be Insane Clown Posse, rather than Punk Rock, (simply because of the ‘insane’ part, and also the ‘clown’ part). But my friend persisted. And I began to think about what he said…
    Joe Strummer has said that the Sex Pistols were like the stun grenade thrown in the door, that allowed everyone else to come rushing in. Donald Trump certainly has the effect of a stun grenade, but one filled with shit! And my favorite quote about punk rock was something about how Rock had become so bloated and constipated, and that punk rock was the enema that freed everything up, at least for a while. Again, the shit reference fits nicely.
    But think about the other, deeper, parallels. The Punk movement was an effort to re-take Rock music from the corporate forces that had taken control of it all. It was a movement to bring non-professionals back into the process, and to rid the system of the greedy careerists. So too, Trump-ism was hyped by it’s true believers as a way of doing the same thing, substituting outsiders into the political system, and replacing career politicians. Except that in this case, the greedy politicians were public servants, replaced by greedy corporatists, and the system was government, and it is being replaced by a shit-system that seeks to move money and control to the Ultra-Rich and corporations. Trump was touted as “an outsider” someone who owed nothing to the political establishment. He really has no political affiliation, and he could have run as either a Republican or a Democrat, the two parties having become so overlapping and indistinguishable. What’s the difference between a Conservative Democrat and a Moderate Republican?
    Next, if we look at the personal behavior of Herr Drumpf, we see that he is personally reprehensible. He has no moral center, beyond his own bloated corpse, and he makes only the barest pretense of having any. He’s vulgar. He breaks no laws, so far as we can see, but he breaks the moral code. So too, the very first and best punk rockers owed no allegiance to anyone. Think of what they said about Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols. They were a threat! They were going to come to your town and vomit on your stage, and leer and sneer at you and your girlfriends! And they didn’t care if you liked it or not! Look at them with their torn jeans, (The Ramones), and their disgusting habits, (drinking and brawling and swearing in public!). “They’re dirty! They’re filthy! They’re never gonna last!” – again, a quote from Joe Strummer.
    The “establishment” reviled the punk rock movement. Didn’t like the way they looked or the way they acted, even though they didn’t do anything “wrong”, they just didn’t do anything the way it had always been done before.
    Go deeper and there are even more similarities. Early on, there was a disturbing tendency for punks to look and sound like racists. Skinheads! Of course the skinhead movement really fought hard to disavow the racist label, whereas Trump fights really hard to embrace it while seeming not to.
    “Undermine their pompous authority, reject their moral standards, make anarchy and disorder your trademarks. Cause as much chaos and disruption as possible, but don’t let them take you alive.” – Sid Vicious. Right up to the last comma, that could be Donald Trump, except that doesn’t even think in terms so deep as profound as that. He’s just an animal and he acts WITHOUT thinking, the way a shark swims and eats and then swims on, without a moral sense of what it’s doing, only the insatiable need to fill it’s belly.
    Let’s play a game of “Who said it?”
    “You can’t arrest me. I’m a rockstar.” (This one’s kind of obvious.)
    “I’m the President. I can’t be indicted” (So is this one)
    “I was the only guy with any bit of anarchy left.” (A toss-up?)
    “Well, you know, like, I don’t really give a FUCK what the general public think.” (Maybe he never SAID it, but you know Trump thinks this way)
    “You can play badly, or not even at all…if you can’t write songs, no problem – simple steal one and change it to your taste.” (Trick question. That was Malcolm McLaren)
    Punk Rock was the last gasp of the great potential that was held at the center of Rock and Roll music. It was lively, fun, rebellious, and you could dance to it! Trump’s America is deadly. If we’re lucky, we may come out of this with only our dignity ruffled, woken up by a short, sharp, slap in the face. If that’s the worst thing that happens, it will be all right. He hasn’t killed anybody, yet, but he could very easily get us ALL killed. Either way, we are clearly at a turning point in history. Now is the time for us all to put our shoulders to the wheel and push in the direction of humanism, of compassion, and of the great potential of life. Now is always the time to do that.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here