Punk blues (or blues punk) denotes a fusion genre of punk rock and blues. Punk blues musicians and bands usually incorporate elements of related styles, such as protopunk and blues rock. Its origins lie strongly within the garage rock sound of the 1960s and 1970s.
Punk blues can be said to favor the common rawness, simplicity and emotion shared between the punk and blues genres. Chet Weise, singer/guitarist of The Immortal Lee County Killersstated, "Punk and blues are both honest reactions to life. It's blues, it's our blues. It's just a bit turned up and a bit faster."Jon Spencer
Before the beginning of the punk movement of the late 1970s, several important forerunners such as The MC5, The Stooges, The Who, The Sonics, Captain Beefheart and the New York Dollsdisplayed a fascination with American blues.
Allmusic states that punk blues draws on the influence of the "garage rock sound of the mid-'60s, the primal howl of early Captain Beefheart, and especially in the raw and desperate sound of the Gun Club's landmark Fire of Love LP from 1981." Also according to Allmusic.com, "...punk blues really came to life in the early '90s with bands like the seminal Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The Oblivians, The Gories and the Gibson Brothers", and "continued into the 2000s with even more visibility thanks to the popularity of The White Stripes". John Doe of L.A. punk band X claims that frontman Jeffrey Lee Pierce and The Gun Club invented a completely new style of music by mixing punk and blues.
Beginning with their 1988 album Prison Bound, the punk band Social Distortion began incorporating rockabilly, country and blues influences into their music. In the same time period, Rollins Band performed punk-inflected blues jams. In the early 1990s, British musician PJ Harvey also explored an avant-garde variant of the style.
The Detroit garage rock scene that bore bands such as The White Stripes continues to thrive with punk blues musicians and bands that can be tied to the style, such as The Detroit Cobras, Geraldine, Mystery Girls, The Reigning Sound, Soledad Brothers, The Von Bondies, and countless others. The Boston band Mr. Airplane Man also plays in this style.