Showing posts with label minor threat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label minor threat. Show all posts

Monday, May 28, 2018

resonators 2018 - episode #005 - 'out of step' by minor threat (VIDEO)

You know, I was kind of expecting this Resonators episode to feel longer... but when you have hardcore punk records this incredible and direct, you really don't need to say much at all!

But it's not the only video coming out tonight, so stay tuned!

resonators 2018 - episode #005 - 'out of step' by minor threat

Well, we're finally here: the topic that I've danced around a fair bit with hardcore punk but one that really is quintessential for understanding the scene - and like with most things hardcore punk it got chronically misunderstood and stigmatized by organizations and systems not willing to see nuance, and partially consumed from within by complications at its core. Yes folks, we're getting political here again, because it's time we talk about straight edge. 

And with this comes a huge disclaimer: I'm not straight edge, and I probably never will be. I don't smoke because lung cancer and heart disease killed my grandfather and I don't do drugs mostly because I'm not really interested or have the time or money to get into it, but I do like craft beer and good wine and entirely too much bourbon. I know folks who are both edge and ex-edge, and I've got no room for judgement for either group - not only is it emphatically not my place, the choice to go edge is an individual one, and one for the record I do respect. Also keep in mind that in the early 80s when straight edge began as a true grassroots movement, it was on some level reactionary but that does not diminish its power or relevance - coming out of the late 70s and very early 80s, a lot of punks died from drug and alcohol abuse, and when you factor in that most of the hardcore punk scene was in their very early twenties, it's completely understandable if broad action was taken without a lot of consideration for what straight edge would become throughout the rest of the decade and into the 90s. If we ever talk about Earth Crisis on Resonators I'll weigh in more significantly on the more complicated activist side of the movement, but the early 80s, it was a movement to help protect a lot of kids from substance abuse that most weren't prepared to handle and provide them a space where they weren't marginalized for not partaking, both in the bands and outside of them. And as such, when edge advocates say that straight edge probably saved a lot of punks' lives, I tend to agree with that.

So today we're going to talk about the artist that coined the phrase 'straight edge' in a 1981 song of that title: Washington D.C. native Ian MacKaye, and his band Minor Threat. Now I do not have enough time to go into a full history of Ian MacKaye - again, if we get to Fugazi I'll speak more on him - but in 1981 he was gaining traction with the second of his bands Minor Threat. Also worth keeping in mind he was nineteen at the time and was running his own DIY label Dischord Records, where Minor Threat released two EPs in 1981 and almost by accident started the straight edge movement. He also racked up some negative publicity for a song called 'Guilty Of Being White', and if you remember some of the conversation about race from the Bad Brains episode, you might understand why this might have been controversial. To MacKaye's credit, I do buy that it's not intended to be read as racist, but man it has not aged well, and when you factor in how straight edge was already starting to become more of an activist movement, it's no surprise Minor Threat went on hiatus while founding guitarist Lyle Preslar went to college. But the band reformed after one semester and started recording the record we'll be talking about today - the only full-length record released by Minor Threat, and nowadays widely touted as one of the most influential records in hardcore punk. That's right, we're talking about Out Of Step by Minor Threat, and this is Resonators!