Saturday, April 17, 2010

Weekend Post: IAN MACKAYE

Ian in the old office of the Dischord house, Photo: Pat Graham

This weekend's subject of discussion is DC's favorite son, none other than Ian Mackaye. We are all indebted to this guy. If you're straight edge, you owe him a thank you. If you love hardcore, he deserves a nod. I think it is that simple.

What's your Ian story? Did you see the Slinkees in '79? Mosh to Minor Threat? Catch Embrace during Revolution Summer? Hate the Egg Hunt 7"? Get the mysterious Pailhead EP from Wax Trax? See Fugazi countless times? Get yelled at for filming the Evens? Share with us and comment.

While I don't think we'll ever get a Minor Threat reunion, it's still pretty cool that Ian will talk freely about the band. Just last week, DCXX partner-in-crime Ed McKirdy dug up an old MT shirt he's had forever, and questioning its originality, decided to shoot an email to who else...Mr. MacKaye. Within an hour Ed had a response. Pretty damn cool. -Gordo DCXX

Classic Ian and Henry Touch and Go cover from issue 22

Ian's email:

Hello Ed.

I think there were only two designs that were made by anyone actually associated with the band. The first one is the 'Out Of Step' cover with the Minor Threat logo in yellow. Lyle and our roadie at the time, Rich Moore, made the shirts and sold them on our 1983 US tour. Jeff made some shirts of the black sheep with Minor Threat in green block type.

I found images of both on the internet and will paste them below.

Yours, Ian

Original Minor Threat shirt from 1983


Jeff Nelson made Minor Threat shirt originally sold through his side label, Adult Swim in 1989


mel said...

About time Ian was featured guys. Nice one.

Billy said...

Ian set the bar high. Integrety. Creativity. Content. No other compares. Never will.

Jake said...

Ian MacKaye albums/EPs/singles I've listened to (all of which are either masterpieces or great)

The Teen Idles - self-titled (1980 demo)
The Teen Idles - Minor Disturbance
Minor Threat - self-titled
Minor Threat - In My Eyes
Minor Threat - First Two 7"s on a 12"
Skewbald/Grand Union - self-titled
Minor Threat - Out Of Step
Minor Threat - Salad Days
Minor Threat - Complete Discography
Egg Hunt - self-titled
Embrace - self-titled
Pailhead - I Will Refuse b/w No Bunny 12"
Pailhead - Trait
Fugazi - self-titled
Fugazi - Margin Walker
Fugazi - 13 Songs
Fugazi - Repeater
Fugazi - 3 Songs
Fugazi - Repeater + 3 Songs
Fugazi - Steady Diet of Nothing
Fugazi - In on the Kill Taker
Fugazi - Red Medicine
Fugazi - End Hits
Fugazi - Instrument soundtrack
Fugazi - The Argument
Fugazi - Furniture + 2
Fugazi Live Series Volume 1: 9-3-87 Washington, DC / Wilson Center
The Evens - self-titled
The Evens - Get Evens

Emil said...

I LIKE Egghunt.

TrashMan said...

I interviewed Ian for Right Trash #2, during the early Fugazi days of 88-89'. He is the greatest. Although in those heady and naive days, he was admittedly a little off put by the baggage that creating sXe entailed. I remember we asked him about straight edge and he curtly stated, "Straight edge was a song by Minor Threat." Maybe I'm too willing to put heroes on a pedestal, but I loved Fugazi, even the later, more experimental records. An ex-girlfriend and I attended a big Iraq war protest in D.C. in 05' and lo and behold, The Evens were playing somewhere in the distance. I soon after checked them out and I really liked them. Ian is a truly interesting artist. btw, Mackaye is pronounced, despite what most people think, as MAC-EYE, not MAC-KAY.

xbojanx said...

X Ian Mackaye is my savior, not Jesus Christ! X

Adamski said...

Yeah, good to see someone knows how to pronounce his name, as a Scotsman. It's very definitely a Scottish surname!

Martin said...

Great, great post guys!!! I'm reading 'Dance Of Days' for the 3rd time. If you don't own that book, do yourself a favor and get it. Anything and everything you'd ever want to know about the DC scene(late 70's to the present day).

Boogie said...

judging by that jan '87 date with his home address, i'd say that the second minor threat shirt, dischord shirt, egg hunt shirt, and rites of spring shirt were available before the Adult Swim imprint. kind of cool to see an og add for shirts i always thought were bootlegs made by the schism dudes (ala that embrace shirt i've seen).

Isaac Golub said...

Not bragging but my uncle took me to see Minor Threat and Suicidal in L.A. early 83, life changing to say the least. My first L.A. show proper so I was 13 and scared shitless. I think Youth Brigade played too, but I can't remember for sure.

I began claiming straightedge officially that year.

"Do you, remember when? Yea? So do I. We call those the uh, Salad Days. Hahaha, Salad Days."

Greg Polard said...

The best. Minor Threat, Embrace, Fugazi....all of the one off things he did were great as well. My first show ever was my 14th birthday, seeing Fugazi. Not many shows I've seen since will top it.

Minor Threat are hands down my favorite hardcore band of all time. Great post.

Henry K. from K. Town said...

Issac: I have been the biggest fan of XCHORUSX since the first come you never made ANY mention of seeing Minor Threat before now? Not in any interview I have ever read and I think I have more than the normal Issac fan.

Is something rotten in Straight Edge land?

Isaac Golub said...

Henry K,

I never mentioned it because it was never asked. I have been to ALOT of shows in my day. I suppose I don't look at shows like a bargaining chip or bragging rights. I saw Black Flag twice, and SSD too, but why would I just blurt that out in an interview? I don't think I remember one interview where the kid asked me to list some of the great shows I have been too. I wish I wasn't so intimidated by my youth at some of those shows, I might have enjoyed them more.

And Henry K, seriously dude, if you are/were such a big fan why is it so hard to spell my name right? I even spelled it for you buddy... Just sayin.

Love Isaac.

Jacob Rott said...

Isaac: You were not asked here either but it DOES have an important story to it, you know the time you started claiming edge.

I would think that would come up and mentioning it would too.

Marc said...

Are people really complaining that Isaac never shared that story before? REally?

I mean why should he have had to share that if he didn't choose to???

Important Story? It's Important for him to reveal he saw MT? It's a nice story, and it's intersting sure, but important and required to share? I don't think so...

On a smi-related note---I love me some xCHORUSx

Marc said...

Marc: People are not complaining that he did not share the story, they are doubting the validity of the story.

Take Care,
Marc (different one)

GOOD LIFE RECORDINGS - Belgium. said...

Visited the original Dischord House with my then girlfriend in 1988 and Ian took the time to hang out with us and forced me to have a vegan cookie. I felt like a kid in a toy store when were able to check out the often rare pressings of Dischord releases displayed on the walls in the office.

Picked up the Egg Hunt tee then and there, and then i noticed a box of 7"s on top of a cupboard. I asked and Ian said they were Teen Idles 7"s that were warped cuz their roadie left them on a hot car trunk back in the day. Ian would NOT let me have one.

I was obsessed by Uniform Choice at the time and Ian told me some interesting anecdotes about conversations between Pat Dubar and himself.

Thanks for your time, and kindness, Ian - it meant a lot to us.

All the scenesters in D.C. were real nice to us, down to earth, we ended up meeting tons of people from bands that i loved there.

ps : my then girlfriend moved to D.C. a couple years later. :)

Anonymous said...

would love to know what ian said about dubar. SHARE!!!!!

Tom said...

I did an interview with Ian a decade ago or more for the 'zine I had at the time. In it he was (what I then perceived as being) very short and not at all friendly. It turned me off to him as a person, but not to the music. My story was not so nice towards him and a few months later I received an e-mail from him stating (verbatim): "Tom, Sorry you didn't like the interview. Ian"

After I cooled down and stopped thinking that I knew everything there was to know about punk rock and life (and genuinely feeling stupid for publishing the article, then sending it to every corner of the globe I could reach), I approached him a few years later about doing an interview with him and Chuck D from Public Enemy with Glen Friedman shooting photos. Not only was he not concerned about the piece (of shit) I wrote and published, but he was all about the interview idea and genuinely psyched, as far as I could tell. (funny, because when I spoke with Chuck D about this, he was interested, but didn't know who Ian was. When I mentioned the photo of him and Flava with the MT shirts on, he said, "I remember those shirts, but I don't remember [Ian].") Sadly, it never came together and my 'zine folded and life moved on. But, Ian did tell me that "Alternative Press" or another big music mag had approached him with the same idea after I had initially spoke with him about it and he told them "no" because it was my idea first. I was floored/honored that he would do that.

Anyway, I admire the hell out of Ian for what he has done and the ethics he sticks to. Amazing artist, incredible "leader," thought he and other might disagree with that, but most of all a solid human being.

ShayKM said...

Nice to see Ian here. Though it is certainly better to see newer bands and artists. Nostalgia is valuable only to a point. Two quick comments. First, Ian 'might' have coined the term straight edge, but many in punk/HC were already sick of the drugs, alcohol, and self-destruction in the scene (and mainstream culture at large). Being SE doesn't mean I owe him shit! My edge is my edge! I am sure he would agree! Secondly, the direction of HC before and after MT resulted from hundreds of bands all over the world, tape-trading, great 'zines and tens of thousands of exchanged letters. Yeah, we all licked stamps back then! Anyone who was there at the time knows this. MT were great, Ian is a great guy... but fuck the slavish idolatry. Let's see some more from current bands! Keep it up DCXX!

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Anonymous said...

FYI: Jeff sold shirts through his company North 4th long before Adult Swim existed, including the Minor Threat shirt modeled by Flav and Chuck. I believe he started North 4th in '86.

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