Punk News

Punk Guitar Strumming Styles Through The Decades!

SNL’s and Portlandia’s Fred Armisenhilariously demonstrates punk guitar styles from the ’70s to the 2000s on The Tonight Show!

You may, or may not, know that years before Fred Armisen became known as a Saturday Night Live cast member and one half of the duo behind Portlandia, he was a drummer in a punk band called Trenchmouth.

Based out of Chicago, the band released four albums between 1988 and 1996 before disbanding. over those 8 years, Armisen did a lot of drumming and saw a load of bands, most of which would gain far more fame than Armisen’s band.

“It just felt like other bands kept passing us by,” Armisen said. “When weirder and weirder bands started becoming more popular, I saw the writing on the wall. One band had 20-minute songs with no vocals and they became huge!”

In the clip from The Tonight Show, Armisen put’s his punk knowledge to hilarious good use with a trip through indie and punk rock history based on rhythm guitar styles.

He starts with a Velvet Underground imitation, then up through the Ramones and Sex Pistols, eventually winding its way through the ska-influenced pop-punk of blink-182 and ending with the Strokes. Host Jimmy Fallon giggled non-stop throughout. Armisen also name drops Sleater-Kinney as a knowing wink to his Portlandia mate Carrie Brownstein.

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