The Units: San Francisco Punk Revisited

The Units punked the system, played JC Penney
by Jennifer Maerz
June 08, 2009

“I don’t think you can underestimate the influence Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters had on the antiestablishment, prank-driven, California punk and performance art scene in the ’70s.” “” The Units

348269747-200San Francisco’s cultural revolutions of the ’50s and ’60s get plenty of retelling in the history books, while the vibrant years when punk shook the status quo often go overlooked. The late ’70s was a fertile time for creative instigators in this city, with students from the Art Institute interfacing with a burgeoning music movement and an experimental film scene. A brave new world of adventurous activists was busily honing a sense of humor as weird as its recorded output.

I’ve been dwelling on San Francisco’s punk roots a lot lately after stumbling into an excellent new collection of out-of-print material by San Francisco’s original synth punks, the Units (History of the Units, the Early Years: 1977-1983). The group’s music and mantra provide interesting angles from which to view an era of rapid technological and artistic progress “” much like the one we’re in now. Continue reading “The Units: San Francisco Punk Revisited”