Welcome to Tattoodo's Punk Rock Week! We're celebrating everything punk this week — from some scary dudes in New Jersey to heartbroken nerds from SoCal, and everything in between. We bitched about how being a NOFX fan used to be fun and weird, but now it's just problematic. We sniffed glue with The Ramones and dove headfirst into a New York Hardcore circle pit. Now we head to DC and pay homage to the progenitors of Straight Edge.
From the moment they first hit the “stage” — corner of a basement is a more apt description of the locale — opening up for Bad Brains, Minor Threat were a force to be reckoned with. The bombastic guitars, the breakneck speed of the rhythm section, and the fury behind Ian MacKaye’s vocals — it all combined to create a sonic explosion burning brighter than magnesium. There was no way they could last for long, but what a legacy they left behind.
There are only a handful of bands that can take credit for creating an entire lifestyle, the Grateful Dead and Insane Clown Posse immediately come to mind. Which is kind of funny considering that Deadheads and Juggalos are the polar opposite of the straight edge ethos created by Minor Threat. Rock music had gone hand in hand with general vice for as long as anyone could remember, but when Minor Threat released “Out of Step” they were screaming for a different way of living: “Don't smoke/Don't drink/Don't fuck/At least I can fucking think/I can't keep up/I'm out of step with the world.”
While the band always said that they weren’t trying to set up a list of rules for how people should live their lives, the message has been taken to heart by generations of angry and confused kids looking for a different way to live. Who needs booze when they are in the middle of a circle pit, smashing into their friends, screaming along to the frenetic band in front of them? There is a vitality to Minor Threat’s music that is felt throughout your entire body, this is not music that should be listened to on headphones while doing homework, it needs to be played loud. Seeing Minor Threat in a cramped and overfilled basement stinking of BO would given a punk fan a high better than any chemical.
The passion and fire behind their music is undeniable, it’s no surprise that it become so infectious among punk fans. All these years later it’s nearly impossible to look into a sweaty mosh pit without seeing a couple of bottled violence logo patches and an Out of Step tattoo or two. Here are some of our favorites.
As I put this article together I was able to listen to Minor Threat’s entire discography twice. It’s a shame that they didn’t give us at least a little more music in their time, but damn do I appreciate every single song they recorded. And I bet you do too.