I think that the idea of straight edge, the song that I wrote, and the way people have related it it, there's some people who have abused it, they've allowed their fundamentalism to interfere with the real message, which in my mind, was that people should be allowed to live their lives the way they want to.— Ian MacKaye
The most remarkable Ian MacKaye quotes that are free to learn and impress others
That's a Roman concept where the government can do anything, as long as you give the people "bread and circuses." And I'd say this culture right now is similar, as long as people have money, fun, and food, our government can do heinous, heinous things.
Music is a language and different people who come along are each using that language to do something different, but all coming at it in a similar vein inasmuch as it's always community based and for the most part nonprofit. Most bands don't ever come within a mile of profit - clearly these people are not playing music to make money.
At every election, my vote goes to the candidate less likely to declare war.
You're dropping hugely expensive pieces of exploding metal on a population. America deserves the president it gets, whether the country votes for them or allows their vote to be stolen, and the least we can do is to elect someone who won't do that to other people.
We play loud electric guitar music, and we'd hope that that doesn't mean you have to act like an asshole.
I just have work to do; I just do it.
I don't think it's an ethical or moral issue, or even that people are stupid, but I do feel like as a culture things are out of balance, perverted, and inverted. Things that are ridiculous are worshipped, and things that are important are ridiculed. I think that's something worth thinking about.
American business at this point is really about developing an idea, making it profitable, selling it while it's profitable and then getting out or diversifying. It's just about sucking everything up. My idea was: Enjoy baking, sell your bread, people like it, sell more. Keep the bakery going because you're making good food and people are happy.
I do not consider myself a teddybear. Just to be clear, I don't feel sorry for myself.
I'm always happy when I hear about people selling records or selling books or selling movies. It makes me proud of them.
I've done thousands of interviews in my life, and it's a format that I quite enjoy, because I think of questions in interviews as an opportunity to sort of gauge my growth in a way. It gives me an idea of how I'm navigating this world that I'm in.
Major labels didn't start showing up really until they smelled money, and that's all they're ever going to be attracted to is money-that's the business they're in- making money.
I'd much rather talk to a 30-year old that survived rough times in their lives [practicing Straight Edge] rather than someone that was harmed by a culture of violence.
Record labels have enjoyed a 100-year monopoly of selling plastic and now they're up against a different format.
There are certainly good examples of incredibly brilliant, beautiful music that has been made commercially available and sold everywhere. But I would say that, for the most part, quantity certainly does not speak well for quality.
With Napster and the sharing of music, of course, there are going to be people who exploit it. Greed has no end. But there's a lot of good that could happen. We shouldn't let the economic concerns of the major labels infringe on our freedom to share music.
Yeah, if someone's selling downloads and collecting money for our songs I would be unhappy about that but if they're trading it I don't mind, obviously if I make a thousand records or CDs or whatever, I like to sell a thousand.
I jump from one thing to the next but try and strike a balance.
But it's not nostalgic in the sense of 'those were the good old days and now we're not there'. I don't think like that. Not my way.
I'm not a sports guy. However it's interesting to be in a place where people have a sporting fever. One time I was in Italy during one of the European soccer cups, and it's interesting because it's so electrifying.
Bars are meeting places and places to unwind.
But at some point, what is culture unwinding from, and why can't they meet anywhere else?
Let's say for instance people say, "He's a really totalitarian, strict guy, he's hard to work with or whatever." I don't think it's true, but people's perception of me leads that direction, like I'm a fundamentalist person. I end up having to spend extra time saying, "I'm not a fundamentalist." I have other stuff to do.
What does bother me is that I have to spend time and energy dealing with the ramifications of what people do think about me.
I have stuff from 1979, 1980 in my collection.
But I also have things from 2012. So I don't know if it's memorabilia as much as it is holding on to things that I find relevant that most people might not.
It's just hard to have a nuanced discussion with like a thousand people, 30 of which are white-power skinheads.
Getting your letters or pictures digitized.
I don't think it's that important. The more you spend on your materials, you're given the sense that those things are more important due to the total amount spent. You'd probably be better off giving that money to a soup kitchen.
Every song I ever wrote, I wrote to be heard.
So, if I was given a choice that 50 years from now I could either have a dollar or knowing that some kid was listening to my song, I'd go with the kid listening to my song.
If You Want To Rebel Against Society, Don’t Dull The Blade
I'm basically in every band I ever was in, and the songs, I still mean them all.
I don't take anything back, so I do look after them to some degree. But my main focus is on what I'm doing now.
I feel quite connected to the past, and my memory.
Everything that I've ever done I can still relate to, and feel connected to it in a way. There's no part of my life that I look at and go, 'I don't recognize that person at all.
Now anyone can move anywhere. I've made deep connections with people around the world since I tour everywhere that I will simply never see again.
I obviously use computers. My car is wondrous. My phone is amazing. I've already talked about the music I'm digitizing. Technology is fantastic, of course.
I think it's my nature to engage in things that are more difficult.
The American underground punk scene, though, is a story worth remembering.
I'm a fifth generation Washingtonian and I was born and raised here.
My kid's a sixth generation Washingtonian. Honestly I wish people didn't move because I love the people of the city.
Minor Threat was an important band, believe me that it was important it in my life, but it belongs to an era that no longer exists. I'm not nostalgic. I think music today is much more important, because something can be done about it.
The Corcoran show was actually almost a reportage.
The exhibit was, in many ways, pretty unique. It was one of the first pieces about DC culture that doesn't include some marble building or the Kennedy Center.
My point of view is, I'm just a person, and there are times when I look at other people and think, 'My God, they spend so much time thinking about things that seem so absurd.' But I'm sure people must think the same thing about me.
The thing is, people can't complain about profit-oriented moves if they're only interested in profit themselves. You can't have it both ways. If they're willing to polish up a gift and sell it to make money, they can't really complain about the fact that somebody above them has sold them down the river. That's the way it goes.
My humor is very dry. To me it doesn't make sense.
The only thing that drives music is the people who are making it.
Columbia Heights was a poor, messed up area, and the church was in the middle of it. What happened inside was a reflection of the community. I actually saw my first rock concert on the altar of that church [St. Stephen's].
It doesn't hurt me on a personal level, but it hurts me on a larger level of like, why are people so stupid? Why do we have to go through these unnecessary exercises. Fight crime, don't fight me. If you really want to make a difference don't fight me or Fugazi.
I stand behind all the lyrics I've ever written; I don't have a problem with that.
I do remember seeing Godspell or Jesus Christ Superstar, one of those.
It was a liberation theology venue. Anything radical seemed to be accepted there. I definitely picked up the idea there that you should question authority.
"Straight Edge" was a song about my life.
There was no structure, no premise as if I was forming a club. There were no tenets. I mean I wrote a song called "Straight Edge," I'll take that, but the song was about my life the way I wanted to live it.
I'm really anti-option, so computers have been my nightmare with recording.
I don't want endless tracks; I want less tracks. I want decisions to be made.
I don't need any more avenues of communication, and frankly I think people are still working out to realize that it's just a tool[social media] rather than something that you have to do or participate in.
I don't watch TV but occasionally I'll read the Washington Post.
I will say that sports are the only "real thing" on television.
When children start to speak they find their own voice by imitating the sounds around them. It would follow that bands do the same. Bands will find their own voice at some point.
I never imagine myself as anything. I've never had a goal or any future vision at all. I just do what's in front of me.