Feature: Minor Threat

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There is one band you X-ed up hardcore punks should know about and that’s MINOR THREAT. They set, together with BLACK FLAG and fellow Washington, D.C. hardcore band Bad Brains, the standard for many hardcore punk bands in the 1980s and 1990s.

“Make do with what you have, take what you can get, pay no mind to us, we’re just a minor threat”

When I got my hands on an issue of their only studio LP ‘Out Of Step’, long after they were dead and gone, it left a mark on me, not in the form of an X (or maybe a /), but Minor Threat certainly made quite an impression. What made me love them? Was it their short, fast, loud and angry form of punkrock, was it their critical views on things or was it their DIY mentality? Guess it just was all of it really?. Not only was their music a nice outlet to deal with my own frustrations, their songs also made me think and opened my mind on certain things.

“How do you do? I don’t think that we’ve met. My name is Ian and I’m from Minor Threat.”

Minor Threat was formed in Washington, D.C. in 1980 by vocalist Ian MacKaye (also known from Teen Idles, Embrace, Fugazi, The Evens) and drummer Jeff Nelson who were prior to Minor Threat together in a band called ‘Teen Idles’. They recruited guitarist Lyle Preslar and bassist Brian Baker (also known from Dag Nasty, Government Issue and Bad Religion). Two years later Steve Hansgen briefly joined the band but Minor Threat ended, as they started: a four piece.

“I’m a person just like you but I’ve got better things to do than sit around and fuck my head. Hang out with the living dead.”

Although Minor Threat was only around for 3 years (including a small hiatus), the band had a strong influence on the hardcore punk scene: they were an inspiration to a lot of bands, they believed in the ‘do it yourself’ (DIY) mentality and an independent music scene (they created the independent record label Dischord Records) and maybe most imported: their song ‘Straight Edge’ helped to inspire the emerging straight edge movement.

“(I) Don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t fuck, at least I can fucking think. I can’t keep up, I can’t keep up, I can’t keep up, out of step with the world”

During their existence Minor Threat released 2 EPs: ‘Minor Threat’ and ‘In My Eyes’ in 1981, the ‘Out Of Step’ LP in 1983 and some compilation tracks (Flex Your Head compilation, …). After the break-up Minor Threat’s first 2 EP got re-released as ‘Minor Threat’ in 1984.  In 1985 Dischord Records released a final EP called ‘Salad Days’ with slower songs, making a slight departure from their hardcore punk style. In 2003 Dischord Records released a CD/7” called ‘First Demo Tape’ with previously unreleased demo versions of material which appears on the band’s subsequent recordings.

But if you really want to get to know the music of Minor Threat, pick up the ‘complete discography compilation album’, including the songs that were issued on studio releases.

MT1980-by-Susie-Josephson-Horgan

 


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