Gothic (Goth) Music
What is 'gothic'?
First, separate yourself from the concept that the word 'gothic' is bad. It is a reference first to a type of architecture with lean lines and sweeping counterbalances. The word also refers to gloomy, dark or mysterious themes in literature, a type of font which is used to print in the German language, and most recently - a subculture which branched off of the punk movement of the late 70's and early 80's.
Yes, punk. The gothic subculture was often referred to as 'Positive punk' by those who encountered it.
Anders Manga - Goth Techno!
A brief history of Goth
Bearing in mind -what- the source of the whole gothic movement was, namely an aversion to the rise of bitter and harsh punk music, how exactly did this whole genre get it's start?
Mike Mercer, author of numerous books related to the Gothic subculture and something of a gothic legend, stated in an interview that the first gothic band was Gloria Mundi. Other sources have pointed to Concrete Blonde as the true beginning of the musical movement.
What everyone can agree on is that beyond the trappings of the subculture, a rich musical avenue was created in the late 1970's as punk rock became more repetitive and angry. The ancestors of Gothic music, as the sound has changed since it began, struck lively tunes with heart-thrilling drum beats and deep ear caressing vocals.
Dozens of bands, big and small, trace their lineage to the fading popularity of hardcore punk rock, and the rise of something reverent and new.
While there are many bands which can be swept under the massive rug of the gothic music genre, there are some bands whose influence or activity in the scene were integral to the strengthening of the genre's foundation.
From the very beginning of the gothic music movement, Bauhaus remained the truest source and launching point for the genre. Everything that represented the core of the gothic subculture, Bauhaus represented in every way. They had the look, the lyrics, and the inspired and fashionable ensembles. When one looks to the past in this genre, inevitably you look to Bauhaus.
It was Abbo from UK Decay who attributed the term 'gothic' to the genre in the early days, giving a singular banner under which the lost, the weary, the disillusioned punk kids came togther.
Siouxsie and the Banshees
Much like the band Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees were not actually 'gothic,' but they influenced the genre in leaps and bounds. Siouxsie created the stereotypical gothic look for women, and this group solidified the use of the term gothic.
The Cast of Extras
Joy Division, as well as groups like Play Dead and Sisters of Mercy, added a fuller definition and influence to the gothic music scene. While the Sisters arrived in the scene much later, the influences of the bands mentioned above ricochet through the scene to this day.
This list is by no means comprehensive of the wide variety of bands to whom the tag of 'gothic' can be attributed to. In fact, this list only features the major names tossed around during the early 80's when the gothic music scene was just getting heavy.