Thursday, December 14, 2006

Keep on fighting Ian

As much as I have come to dislike self-righteous, indignant musicians, I have kept a soft spot in my heart for Ian MacKaye. Dischord Records helped shape my taste in music some 10 years ago, and Fugazi has remained one of my all time favorite bands, and his part in both those projects stands as a testament to the modern ages musical contributions within our society.

Of course Ian is an excellent musician and a great songwriter, but the truth is, his power comes from his principles. Principles that seem to have changed very little over the last 20 years, but seem as fresh and revolutionary as they were in the early 80’s. The idea that a bunch of kids could make bands, create “venues” to play in, book tours and release records, all without the help or money from major record labels may not have been started by MacKaye, but it sure did take on realistic proportions. The man still sells his records for less than 10 bucks, and continues to play shows that cost no more than 5 bucks to get into. He may have lost some hair and gained a few wrinkles, but his presence on the stage and within the “indie” music community is still prolific.

Ian is the only individual I have been star-struck by. I briefly meet him at the Coachella music festival a few years back. He said “Hey” and looked me in the eye, and I stood stupid with my mouth open. Never had I thought I could be reduced to a babbling idiot by such a routine looking man.

His newest band, The Evens, may not be as loud and abrasive as his previous work, but the man still growls and wails with an intensity that many can only hope to imitate. They have a new record, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in “punk-folk” (if I can call it that).

When MacKaye stands on a stage in Washington DC, and jabs with contempt at the Capitol, it doesn’t come across as posturing. It looks like the actions of a man who has been in the trenches of the counter-culture for decades, and shows no intention of surrendering any time soon.

Keep on fighting Ian.

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