It’s not often you will hear Ian Mackaye (Fugazi/Dischord/The Evens) in conversation head to head with Steve Albini (Big Black/Shellac) but it’s happened on Kreative Kontrol.
In part 1, listen to Albini slag off Rites of Spring, and the influence of Minor Threat on hardcore, punk violence, the Butthole Surfers, one-upmanship, record distribution, explaining Pailhead and how Ian came to work with Al Jourgensen from Ministry (softy dance stuff, ha!) and most importantly, they discuss in detail that ‘In On The Kill Taker’ recording session that never worked for Fugazi that Albini engineered.
In part 2, the pair discuss politics, Sylvester Stallone, the Urban Outfitters/Minor Threat thing, Henry Rollins, communication, anonymity and much, much more.
This is a great chat if you are obsessed by hardcore, make sure you find time to sit down and listen to it properly.
Some clever sod has photoshop skills and has transformed the infamous Glen.E.Friedman front porch shot of Minor Threat at the Dischord House with the heads of Ozzy and co from Black Sabbath. Cheeky, surreal and a must have. Ours arrived within just over a week shipped from the US.
We’ve waited a long time for this one. Crowd-funding for the making of ‘Salad Days’, a look at the incredibly fertile hardcore punk movement that exploded out of Washington DC in the early 80s, first started over four years ago when brief snippets and enticing trailers started to work their way across the internets. And now it’s finally here…
We live in an age now where so many bands, movements and artists are getting to tell their stories in film. Every week there’s a new music documentary to see, a story to tell, but Salad Days is something special. From the very start, the Washington DC punk scene documented itself. More than any other punk scene in the world at that time, the participants took care to photograph, film and record everything that was happening. They knew what they were doing was important and special and wanted it preserved. “I didn’t want to own the scene, I just wanted there to be one,” explains Ian Mackaye, who through his work with Minor Threat, Fugazi, Dischord Records and many more is understandably the lynch pin and constant through the whole movie. So the upshot of this is that there is a wealth of incredible footage in this film. It rushes past, much like the music, in a high-speed, high-energy blur. This is not any easy film to sit still and watch in a cinema, as each band and song crashes by, every moment made me want to leap out of my seat and explode.
Ph: Ian Mackaye of Minor Threat, Wilson Center, DC, 1983 by Jim Saah
Film maker Scott Crawford has done an incredible job of capturing the spirit and energy of the time. Having been involved in the scene in DC from a very young age (he was just 12 when he started going to gigs and making fanzines), he was trusted to tell the story and help the various participants open up.
Running chronologically from when Bad Brains exploded onto the scene and everything went FAST with bands like SOA, Void. Teen idles, Minor Threat, Untouchables, Youth Bridge, to the mid-80s ‘Revolution Summer’ years with Rites Of Spring, Embrace, Gray Matter, Dave Grohl’s first band Mission Impossible. They then move onto the end of the 80s as the alternative rock explosion beckoned, and Grohl, fresh out of Dischord legends Scream propelled Nirvana into the mainstream, bringing Fugazi attention they never expected, Jawbox a major label deal and the rest is history.
There are so many magical moments in ‘Salad Days’ that it’s difficult to know where to start but here’s a few. The footage of Void is utterly off-the-hook insane and demonic, the bit where MacKaye talks about Straight Edge and how he still gets people, to this day, phoning him at the Dischord office and screaming “hey Ian, I’m drunk, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT!!” before slamming the phone down, the self-belief, politics and conviction that run through every band, the thought that they really believed they were making a difference and could change. Subject to change. The realisation of just how young everyone one was when this started…
“Salad days” is a Shakespearean idiomatic expression to refer to a youthful time, accompanied by the inexperience, enthusiasm, idealism, innocence, or indiscretion that one associates with a young person.”
That says it all.
You can pre-order the film on Vimeo as it will be Video On Demand from August 4th.
Canadian bands have always delivered great underground punk music, from the recent slamming sounds of Fucked Up through to the old guard of SNFU and DOA, they just seem have a knack of digging out some classic stuff and bringing something beautiful to the scene.
Last night, Alberta rippers Fist City rolled into town for their debut London show over East and delivered an absolute treat to the lucky few who witnessed their balls-out, garage fueled surf attack. From the opening track ‘Endless Bummer‘ to their epic version of Devo’s ‘Uncontrollable Urge’, (video below) the quartet packed massive amounts energetic punk into their 30 minute set and blew the roof off.
Fronted by Keir Griffiths on guitar and vocals, Fist City’s overall sound is trashy, powerful and underlined with a surf twang that invites a feel good factor on par with the best of them. We are talking the cheekiness of the Black Lips and Fidlar, riffs that would rival Rites of Spring, all delivered with a confident presence that brings their live work directly into your face.
This is not a band that plays a show and doesn’t get involved. These guys shake and move to the banging sound of Ryan Grieve’s pounding drums. Griffiths threw his guitar onto the stage and then threw himself into the audience, pulsating and gyrating like a woman on fire in a sandpit. His mic was hurled into the open jaws of the lucky few watching, whilst bassist Lindsay Munro and guitarist Evan Van Reekum kept the rolling pace flowing from the stage. Born a girl and now a man following gender reassignment, Keir stomped the shit out of every inch of space between those surrounding walls and left the onlookers in awe.
This band are special and they don’t come around that often, so look out for them on your travels and pick up their album ‘It’s 1983, Grow Up‘ whilst there’s still vinyl available.
Headliners Cousins followed this carnage well and put on a good show. They hail from Halifax made up of guitarist/singer Aaron Mangle and drummer Leigh Dotey. The duo play rock and roll at each other with thunderous riffage. Their stripped down presence hails a sound as loud and as finely perfected to any four piece. Dotey’s rolling drum assault does a grand job of keeping Mangle’s deep garage swagger fulfilled and made this evening one of the most enjoyable this year.
Both bands are playing at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton this weekend alongside a bunch of other fine Canadian acts down there. If you find yourself on the beach, do yourself a favour and seek these two out.
A brand new book covering Washington DC’s infamous hardcore punk scene will be released this June. “Hard Art, D.C. 1979” has been put together by Lucian Perkins who spent 27 years of his life taking photographs for The Washington Post.
His iconic snaps of Minor Threat, Bad Brains and beyond whilst he was an intern there proceeded a career that earned him not one but two Pulitzer Prize’s for his sterling work shooting various wars and conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and much more.
You can pre-order this on through Dischord so you know it is legit for a decent price of $23. It will be a far better choice than the rip off project that the Vinyl Factory are selling to hipsters this month. Make sure you do your homework.
If there’s one thing that will instantly grab our attention when hearing about a new band it’s the words ‘featuring ex-Fugazi member…’ Such was the incredible influence and power of their music, ideas and attitude that anything the members of Fugazi have created since their hiatus is always met with excitement and interest.
Deathfix feature Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty who, as part of Fugazi created some of the greatest, body-jarring rhythms ever produced out of pots, pans and drums. Deathfix formed after Brendan met producer Rich Morel when they were touring as part of Bob Mould’s backing band. After the live work was done, the pair started to work in Canty’s home studio, fleshing out basic song ideas and instrumentals before enlisting bassist Mark Cisneros and drummer Devin Ocanpo to fully form the songs and take them to the stage.
The end result is one of the best new album’s to come out of the once vital Washington D.C. music scene. Wonderfully melodic and beautifully produced, songs like ‘Low Dying Dreams’ and ‘Mind Control’ ebb and flow with pure pop melody but there’s a swaggering cool to the band’s sound that recalls fellow DC post-punks Girls Against Boys. Midway through the album, ‘Dali’s House’ is another real stand-out, featuring a repetitive guitar-lick that burrows its way under your skin and refuses to budge.
Deathfix have succeeded in crafting an album of songs the are tuneful without being clichéd, backed up by a challenging array of rhythms, moods and motions. Superb.
We like it when bands reach out to us direct. No PR company spamming out releases, just straight up, direct contact to say ‘listen to this fucking record, we are putting it out ourselves’. Most bands by choice have to take this route thesedays. With major labels no longer taking risks or even knowing about how scenes develop because their A&R departments are still looking at Myspace for new artists, your average band is forced to get off it’s backside and do the right thing. Do it yourself people and knock on that door.
With Chicago being 3948.26 miles from where our office is in West London, 3-piece punks, Nonagon probably thought we were an American mag but knowing we grew up on Washington Hardcore releases and that we do have a knack of listening to everything that hits our contact page, Nonagon came to the right place this week for a review.
Made up of Tony Aimone (whose previous bands include The Blue Meanies and Taylor), Robert Gomez (Der Lugomen/Martian Law) and John Hastie (Jumpknuckle), Nonagon’s brand new EP kicks off with a crunching bassline, smashing guitars and shouty vocals remiscent of J.Robbins from Jawbox in a fight with the musicians of Bluetip. Thankfully there are no trumpets anywhere near this opening track Vikings, a-la Blue Meanies- only a look back to the good old days of the 90’s when Dischord were on fire with every release they put out. Second track Fresnal Lens offers off-beat drum prowess that slughtly touches on what Tanner were knocking out on ‘Ill Gotten Gains’ all those years back, followed by the spikyness of The Swifts which is where Nonagon’s punk spirit really lets itself loose from the chains. The tempo and winding basslines are stripped back for instrumental number Fadeout before the EP comes to a close just how this People Live Everywhere EP started, with crashing blocks of guitar and a healthy dose of frustration with a meandering crunch close to that of Barkmarket.
If you love the days of Fugazi, Girls Against Boys, Jawbox and The Holy Rollers, then this EP recorded by Justin Foley of The Austerity Program might just be a catalyst to make you get off your fat arse and re-live some of your favourite bands. Stream it in that player below and support these punks and buy the EP for just $5 from nonagonchicago.bandcamp.com
Fugazi are one of the best bands to ever come out of America and stay true to their roots and this Thursday, fans will be able to purchase live recordings on a concerts website that will showcase hundreds of mostly high quality recordings of live shows recorded over the last 15 years.
Fugazi played over 1000 concerts, covering all fifty United States, Europe, Australia, South America, Japan and many points in between. Over 800 of these shows were recorded by the band’s sound engineers, often on high quality recording gear. The first 130 will be live this Thursday alongside flyers, ticket stubbs, photos, mp3s and more.
If you are expecting polished, perfect versions of all of the shows, hold that thought. In true Fugazi style, they will be as they were when recorded and not edited in any way. Guitarist Guy Picciotto told the NY Times recently that: “It’s all there, and it’s not cleaned up. You get what you get.”
Log into Dischord Records today and get signed up for the updates and an account where you can purchase the recordings as they drop. You will receive 2 free MP3’s as a taster on sign up from Egg Hunt too.
Ian Mackaye has ben very active of late with Fugazi. No gigs have been announced though, or even talk of a brand new record, but we hear on the vine of grapes that a Mojo journalist has visited Dischord House in the last 5 weeks for a future feature in the mag, a new book on hardcore is in the works from the same journo and today, music website Kicking Against The Pricks have unleashed a small interview feature with recent words from the Minor Threat singer.
In Sean Caldwell’s own words: “Our discussion centered on independent music and its progress as the scene, technology and means with which information can be distributed have changed.” Click here to read the feature.