Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ian MacKaye


Background information
Birth name
Ian Thomas Garner MacKaye
Born
April 16, 1962 (age 47)
Washington, D.C., USA
Genres
Post-hardcore, indie rock, hardcore punk, straight edge, alternative rock
Occupations
Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Producer
Instruments
Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Baritone guitar, Piano, Keyboards
Years active
1979–present
Labels
Dischord
Associated acts
Fugazi, Minor Threat, Teen Idles, The Evens, Embrace, Egg Hunt, Skewbald/Grand Union, Pailhead

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ian Thomas Garner MacKaye (pronounced /məˈkaɪ/)

(born April 16, 1962), is an American singer and guitarist. Active since 1979, MacKaye is best known for being the frontman of the influential hardcore punk band Minor Threat, the post-hardcore bands Embrace and Fugazi, as well as The Evens. He is a co-founder and co-owner of Dischord Records, a Washington, D.C.-based independent record label, along with Jeff Nelson.

A key figure in the development of hardcore punk and an enthusiastic promoter of an independent-minded, do it yourself punk ethic, MacKaye also worked as a recording engineer, and produced releases by 7 Seconds, Nation of Ulysses, Bikini Kill, Rites of Spring, Dag Nasty and Rollins Band. Along with his seminal band Minor Threat, he is credited with coining the term "straight edge", though he has stated many times that he did not intend to turn it into a movement.


Ian MacKaye was born in Washington D.C. on April 16, 1962, and grew up in the affluent Glover Park neighborhood of Washington D.C. His father was a writer for the Washington Post, first as a White House reporter, then as a religion specialist; the senior MacKaye remains active with the socially progressive St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.
According to MacKaye's longtime friend, singer Henry Rollins, MacKaye's parents "raised their kids in a tolerant, super intellectual, open-minded atmosphere."MacKaye listened to many types of music, but was especially fond of mainstream hard rock like Ted Nugent and Queen before discovering punk music in 1979when he saw The Cramps perform at nearby Georgetown University. He was particularly influenced by the California hardcore scene. MacKaye looked up to hardcore bands like Bad Brains and Black Flag and was childhood friends with Henry Garfield (who later changed his name to Henry Rollins).
Early bands

Ian MacKaye's first band consisted of one performance as The Slinkees in the summer of 1979, performing a song titled "I Drink Milk"

The band also recorded two demo tapes of covers as well as songs that would later be recorded by the Teen Idles.

In MacKaye's next project, The Teen Idles, he played bass guitar and sang back up vocals in from 1979-1980, and the short-lived Skewbald/Grand Union (1981-1982).

His brother Alec MacKaye has also been active in several notable bands.

Campaigning, business and activism


Throughout his career, MacKaye has opted to advertise in independent and underground media and perform in unconventional venues. Such practices keep admission prices low (in the $5-$10 range) and allow fans of all ages to attend performances. Maintaining a low overhead and protecting one's monetary assets are also important ideals for Mr. MacKaye, who in the summer of 1990 formed the corporation Lunar Atrocities Ltd
in order to shield his own and his band mates personal assets from the threat of lawsuits. As Mr. Seth Martin, MacKaye’s financial advisor explained to the Washington Post in a 1993 interview: "protection from liability is the main reason to form a corporation, and for these guys it makes sense. If someone got hurt stage-diving and decided to sue, it would be a little harder to go after their personal assets.”MacKaye also regularly promotes anti-war and civil rights causes alongside his music and often attends left-wing organized protests and related events, working closely with the Positive Force collective in Washington D.C.MacKaye has also been known to rebuke concert violence and to confront crowd surfers and other unruly concert attendees who start fights. This is especially true of his days with Fugazi. When audience members became belligerent or violent at a Fugazi show, the band would cease to play (sometimes right in the middle of a song) and MacKaye would tell them to stop. If those people continued their deviant behavior, he would refund their admission price and eject them from the concert facility.MacKaye recently provided technical audio assistance with an investigation of the Kent State shootings by cleaning up a field recording made by a Kent State student who recorded audio of the incident on a reel-to-reel tape machine from his dormitory windowsill. According to Alan Canfora, a Kent State student who was injured in the wrist that day by a gunshot, a voice can be heard on the tape yelling, "Right here! Get Set! Point! Fire!" before there is the 13-second volley of gunfire.

Straight edge philosophy
The song "Straight Edge" was written by MacKaye for his band, Minor Threat (originally going to be named Straight Edge), and was released in 1981 on Minor Threat's self-titled EP. It was a song that described his personal life free of the "drugs" and the self-destructive idea of "sex as a conquest" which served as a part of the "sex, drugs and rock'n roll" banner originating as a rebellion in the 1960s — smoking, drinking, and drug use. It began to influence youth culture as Minor Threat gained popularity through numerous live shows and through sales of the song on their EP. Although to MacKaye the song did not represent a philosophy or a movement, over time people adopted the philosophy of the song and many bands began to label themselves straight edge, founding the straight edge movement. Although straight edge is not explicitly supportive of vegetarianism, MacKaye has stated that he is a vegetarian because he feels it's a logical progression from his view of straight edge.Although "Straight Edge" gets the most attention, MacKaye wrote other songs with Minor Threat describing his clean lifestyle as well, most notably "Out of Step (With the World)," in which he said "I don't smoke. I don't drink. I don't fuck. At least I can fucking think." "In My Eyes" is also at least partially about his philosophies, with lines such as "You tell me it calms your nerves; you just think it looks cool."

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