1981 phoned me up and said they've got demo sessions of the Dischord Records EPs I've ordered.
Just like in the days of yore, when my most recent Dischord package arrived in the mail with SOA, Youth Brigade and Minor Threat demo 7-inchers, I was stoked. I flipped through our collection and grabbed the Teen Idles and Government Issue (on Spontaneous Combustion Records) demo records already nestled in there and fanned all five gems out on the table. Satisfaction.
Next up, I snagged the original EPs that our tall and trusty mailman sporting a pith helmet delivered 39 years ago to my porch in Redondo Beach, CA. It was a mind-spinner to see all these classic and vital records in one place, bookending the past and present with glorious DC hardcore platters. The old ones are, of course, a bit scratchy from copious plays, but they're present and accounted for.
The red Minor Threat first pressing has an interesting story: After my brother and I spun it countless times in our room, we loaned it to Fletcher (pre-Pennywise) over in Manhattan Beach and expected to have it back in our hands within a week or so. As the weeks dragged by, we learned that Fletcher had passed it on to someone else, and then that punk had done the same. Fuck. After many phone calls and bike rides to peoples' houses, we finally retrieved our gold-star record and have never let it leave the house since. I look back and laugh every time I pull that sucker out for another play.
Cat and I had a blast playing darts while giving the demos a go the past few weeks. Long live DC hardcore.
In honor of all these records existing for us to have our minds blown, here's some quotes from some band members via interviews with our blog:
Youth Brigade drummer Danny Ingram in 2012:
I don’t think there was anything formative that came from playing in Youth Brigade. My memories of Youth Brigade, whether right or wrong, were always that we were quite raw…and teetering on the edge (musically)…kind of like a toy that has been wound too tightly and the springs are about to snap. That said, I have some amazing memories of that time…and hope to put them down on paper at some point. But, to me, the most memorable thing about that time wasn’t the music we made –- it was the friendships that I made…and how they have weathered the punk rock ravages of time. I guess the one important thing is that, as a father, I will likely be able to support my kids in their musical endeavors and better understand what it is they are trying to do.
Government Issue singer John Stabb (RIP) in 2012:
If Tom Lyle didn't stick it out with me for the 8 years that he was in G.I., I don't think I would've kept the G-Issue train a-rolling. Sure we fought like Mick and Keef because being in a band for that long together was like a crazy marriage. Sometimes up and other times incredibly down. But our intense angry/happy relationship fueled the fire that made G.I. what it was. It wasn't the easiest thing to replace longtime drummer/friend Marc Alberstadt but we tried with a short-lived but incredibly talented drummer, Sean Saley (who's now in Pentagram) until Peter Moffett entered the picture. And musically we always just wanted to challenge ourselves and not be predictable. In doing this, we won over newer fans and lost some of the Old Schoolers who missed the bang and howl. That's cool with me.
Minor Threat and Teen Idles, singer and bassist, respectively, Ian MacKaye in 2012 and 2019:
I think Minor Threat, we had a refined sound, and also we'd seen the Bad Brains and the Circle Jerks, we were aware of those bands. Minor Threat... those guys were super players, three of them: Brian and Jeff and Lyle. I think especially Lyle Preslar, the guitar player, I mean he's one of the most unsung guitar players. He's playing full, six-string-position barre chords at that speed-- that's just insane. His accuracy and his rhythms are so incredible.
When I was in the band, we were just caught up in the moment, and obviously being kids, teenagers, we were spending a lot of time screaming at each other, it was such a crazy time. It wasn't until years later that I actually, when I was working on putting together the DVD of some of the videos, that I had kind of a perspective to look at the band and think about their musicality -- and I was stunned, really, to think that Lyle was 17-18 years old and playing that way is just phenomenal.
Jeff was a great drummer... I'm not taking anything away from my work or whatever, I had a really clear vision about the music. A lot of the songs I wrote... I think that that music was something that really resonated and continues to resonate with people.
(Ian's thoughts on the Slinkees into the Teen Idles):
I wanna be in a band, I just wanted to play music. I wasn't then and I still don't think of it as a career. To me, I just wanna play music. I just do the do, I just work with what's in front of me.
I honestly wasn't thinking about sort of the juxtaposition of me as an audience member or me as a performer because that's kind of the point, they're not that different. We're making a show together, that's what we're doing, the audience and the bands.
SOA guitarist Michael Hampton in 2012 (OK, I'm reaching on this one, but it still works):
I think about some of the (Faith) songs. "It's Time" especially pops in my head. I actually wrote that riff when I was 13 as a "rock" song. Later, it was an SOA song called "Red to Black", I think, with a chorus "influenced" by the fantastic Enzymes, and that became "It's Time" in the Faith.