A Minor Threat to business as usual:
January 8, 2001 10:39 AM   Subscribe

A Minor Threat to business as usual: A fine Q&A with Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat, Fugazi) about the ethical, fan-friendly approach to music business at Dischord Records. Obligatory MeFi disclaimer: It's a Salon link.
posted by jhiggy (10 comments total)
I really do have to admire Ian MacKaye; he actually abides by the rules of his conscience, despite the fact that he could probably be a very rich superstar if he chose not to. He walks the walk, unlike the dithering bullshit merchants of, say, Rage Against the Machine ("We're so pissed off at corporate culture that we had to release a whole album with one of them!").

If Lester Bangs were still alive, I'm sure he'd happily include Fugazi in his fond compendium, "A Reasonable Guide to Horrible Noise."

PS--The red link looks kinda cool on my end.
posted by Skot at 10:59 AM on January 8, 2001

Nice interview. It's hard enough doing the best you can everyday with your art, but bringing artists together, building a support community for those artists, dealing with the little details that can drive you crazy trying to bring it to an audience; it can really apply the pressure. Begin Shameless Plug: I'm helping start a "Dischord" for literature and such: Painted Land
It's even harder than it really looks. MacKaye's the real deal.
posted by J. R. Hughto at 11:17 AM on January 8, 2001

I don't know anybody who has started a label that does not hope to follow in the tradition started by Dischord/Touch and Go. Many fine labels use that model, and do so with equal integrity drag City, Thrill Jockey, and MyPalGod are examples that come to mind.
I don't pray, but I used to go to sleep, hoping to live my life more like Ian MacKaye, Steve Albini, and Corey Rusk. That is embarrassing to say, and I hope my friends don't read that, but it is so true. Three men as unbending as any Ayn Rand character. Practicably archetypes.
posted by thirteen at 11:39 AM on January 8, 2001

I was pretty psyched about it, but mostly I was touched by the fact that this person would take time out to speak to me. So I just feel like I'm returning the favor.

I can't contribute too much to the discussion, except to say that I met Ian MacKaye in 1998 and was amazed at how easygoing he was. Even though Fugazi was performing in a few hours, he talked to my friend and I like normal people. Very cool guy.
posted by pnevares at 11:53 AM on January 8, 2001

Nothing really pity to add other than my own personal anecdote--
Fugazi does at least one free show in DC every year. My friends and I (all in corporate-branded polo shirts, by the way) saw them this year, at an outdoor venue. There was a thunderstorm brewing during the show, adding an un-buyable lightshow. An excellent night out.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:58 AM on January 8, 2001

Of the couple different venues that I've seen Fugazi play, the Fort Reno shows are definitely my favorite. They played another free show in D.C. this year as part of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
posted by rorschach at 12:29 PM on January 8, 2001

why does it matter that it's a salon link?
posted by bliss322 at 1:28 PM on January 8, 2001

Skot: He walks the walk, unlike the dithering bullshit merchants of, say, Rage Against the Machine ("We're so pissed off at corporate culture that we had to release a whole album with one of them!").

I'm really ambivalent about Rage. On the one hand, like you say, how can they be dangerous when they're on a Sony label? On the other hand, like KRS One said: Every venue by which music reaches you is corrupt. Radio, TV, store shelves-- 99.9999% are all bought and paid for by corporations. If you can get a message through on those channels, you're ahead of their game.

Then I think about Ani DiFranco, who as far as I know is getting the good word out there, with impressive success, without resorting to signing with Sony. Or doing a Nike ad. So it's a tough call to make.
posted by wiremommy at 2:04 PM on January 8, 2001

It's true, wiremommy, and I was probably out of line to single them out--it's a tough line to walk for any artist, I suppose. I'm an actor on the fringe theater scene, but I can't honestly say that if someone offered to pay me a pile of money to work in something ghastly like, say, "You've Got More Mail," I wouldn't take it.

I think what sets my teeth on edge about RATM is that I find their, well, "rage," so completely pat and packaged that I can't take it seriously at all. It strikes me mostly as an adolescent pose, a shuck and jive that just happens to be executed several orders better than, to use another odious example, Limp Bizkit. Just one dummy's opinion--I know a lot of people who love them.
posted by Skot at 2:15 PM on January 8, 2001

Out of all the musicians I have met in my life, hell, out of all the people I have met in my life, there are few that I respect more than Ian Mackaye.

This was a great article. It's too bad there are not more people like him in this world.

For more Ian, check out the interview he did with the onion's av club a few months back.
posted by punkrockrat at 8:51 PM on January 8, 2001

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