Friday, March 25, 2011

OBCBYL: Minor Threat

As the Things that Are Square celebration of the 10th anniversary of Our Band Could Be Your Life continues: Minor Threat.
Like Black Flag, Minor Threat is one of two sort of "straight ahead, no fucking around" punk bands on this list. Granted, Minor Threat were just better at it than the rest. You listen to a song like "Out of Step," and sure it's got the hardcore hallmarks in it (hell, it invented those hallmarks), but it's just got that extra something that elevates it above so much stuff that sounds just like it.

My opinion on this band is two-fold. On one hand, independent music is forever indebted to the DIY ethos these guys laid the blueprints for, as well as the importance of all-ages shows. Ian MacKaye is an amazing example of how businesses can be run in a way that's fair and beneficial for everyone involved without sacrificing art or vision. And these guys often set a great example of bucking punk convention by being decent, responsible human beings with the hearts of hippies (but without selling out). But, at the same time, Minor Threat spawned a whole bunch of bullshit, were super preachy, and just seemed like a bunch of assholes that would ruin other people's shows by fighting. The book mentions a NY concert where at least two different zines called these guys out on being violent muscleheads. It kind of reminds you what's great about 21+ shows, ironically.

Of course, most of that exists on top of the music, which remains pretty strong about three decades later.


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