Punk was against solos. The Ramones, Sex Pistols, Clash made the absence of a guitar hero in their lineups a strength. It was ok to have pre-arranged instrumental elements — the guitar line in the Ramones’ version of “California Sun”, the melodies in Ventures covers — but the idea of soloing was squarely against doctrine.
The doctrine was DIY. Anybody can do this. It’s the people’s music. Three easy chords. Roll Over Beethoven. It was a cause, a manifesto, a revolutionary creed.
But in a sense instrumental virtuosity is more plebeian, more open, more democratic. Guitar heroism is the people’s choice. Guitar heroics appeal to the people. The public demands them.
The reason the public demands them is that heroics are entertaining. It’s not music, it’s acrobatics, true. But that isn’t a drawback for most people. Acrobatics are easier to understand than music! Acrobatics create a climax in the arc of concert that music is hard pressed to match.
Compare Yngwie Malmsteen’s ultra fast metal riffing context to Bill Evan’s complex piano chord voicings on Kind of Blue. Compare stupid but hot drum solos at an arena rock concert to sophisticated but emotionally frigid post-WWII classical music like Milton Babbit. (And leave aside the rare cases where instrumental acrobatics hit the target on a musical level). Instrumental heroics are crowd pleasers.
Purist punk has never been the music of the masses. The people speak with their numbers, and their numbers are squarely on the side of music that not anybody can do. The people want to be amazed by virtuosos.
This is an old story. Cheap thrills or elitist ecstasy — pick one. The thing that amazes me is how punk turned the narrative inside out, so that the thing the people loved (virtuousity) became elitist and the thing the elites loved (purism) became populist.