Saturday, September 25, 2010


Straight Edge

Several years ago, in Key West, Stephen Baker told me about his punk rock past. It sounded fascinating. He was part of the second generation of the Straight Edge movement, which eschewed the use of drugs and alcohol, yet remained as defiant as the rest of the punk movement. It wasn't church youth group, or anything like it, given that punk music was at its core and many of its adherents were rejecting or suspicious of authority.

Two things have been rolling around in my mind about this.

It seems that if you really want to reject the corrupt values of this culture, rejecting the role of drugs and alcohol is a good place to start.

Second, I'm beginning to lose my enthusiasm for musicians, politicians, and others who criticize American culture, but do not reject any of society's actual values at a personal level. I'm looking at you, fat-cat working class heroes, private-jetting environmentalists, and small-goverment screamers who live off the drippings of government.

Too bad the majority of "straight edge" bands put out terrible music.
.... Just like most of the other punk bands.
So true, they certainly are not David Thoreau.
Fugazi was awesome. As was Minor Threat. Actually, what's funny about Minor Threat is whenever they come up on my iPod, I like the music solely out of nostalgia. I can't imagine being that angry anymore, so their angry songs and aggressive lyrics, ironically, fill me with happiness. It reminds me of being a kid.

I've since fallen off the straight edge wagon. Big fan of alcohol, particularly a good scotch. But I do like the idea of a punk rock movement founded on, well, NOT acing out. The rebellion was supposed to be in your mind.
Fugazi is pretty excellent.
I never quite understood the difference between Straight Edge and HardCore. I do like Fugazi and Minor Threat.

--This reminds me, though... the other night I rented and watched the movie "The Runaways" about the band of the same name. Not a great movie, but it has its moments. Reminded me of when Rock and Roll was dangerous.

Now its all corporate and nostalgic
long live ian mackaye.
it's funny how many of the straight edge bands, from minor threat, of course, to gorilla biscuits et al, either had a mackaye (ian or his brother) in the band, or had former members of mackaye's bands-- minor threat, teen idles, etc.
for those interested, mackaye has been playing in a two-piece band called 'The Evens' for several years now, and they've got some great music out there.
it's very politically motivated, which is no surprise to anyone familiar with mackaye's work, but the music is great. great. it's just mackaye on a baritone guitar and amy farina, the drummer from the warmers. it's a very different sound (quite a bit more mellow) from his former bands like fugazi and minor threat, but mackaye's voice is still awesome and farina throws in some very cool harmonies.
check 'em out if you're a mackaye fan, you will not be disappointed.
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