What constitutes 'punk rock?' I ask because having seen 'The Filth and the Fury' (great documentary, btw), I was struck by the crowds and the Sex Pistols were in now way stereo typically punk at least prior to Sid Viscous' arrival. No Mohawks. No spikes. No died hair (other than JR's.) No dressing up for the show in any way. Without JR's lyrics, voice and concert style, little in the band is a classic punk sound, and that voice and style are not classic punk either, just sneering and weird. The music is aggressive, rough with a strong rhythm, but not so different than the Stooges or the Ramones. It seems clear that the Pistols may generate the genre, and epitomize the attitude, but were not a part of it. I have a good feel for the sound I would call punk, and the Pistols aint it, oddly enough.
I still find this fact extraordinary: At one concert in 1976, where only 42 people attended, the audience included many who would later form bands including theBuzzcocks, Anthony H. Wilson (founder of Factory Records), Bernard Sumner, Ian Curtis and Peter Hook (Joy Division), Mark E. Smith (The Fall), Adam Ant, Morrissey, and Mick Hucknall (simply Red), Billy Idol, Siouxsie Sioux (of Siouxsie and the Banshees), and members of the Clash. Clearly, the influence is deep.
Should only stereotypical punk bands be called punk? Is it punk if it leaves out the pistols? Is it more of an attitude? A scene? or a true genre?