Minor Threat

Minor Threat entered the Washington DC hardcore scene in 1980 and set the stage for pretty much all hardcore acts to follow. Their lyrical content, song structure and production quality created a listening experience that was bar none at that time. I honestly can’t say where I first heard Minor Threat. I was barely in kindergarten by the time they played their last show in 1983 and wasn’t into this type of music until I was a teen in 1990. Their music just kinda went around in my circle of friends, similar to that of Dag Nasty, Dinosaur Jr and others. None-the-less I became at first listen even all those years after their reign.

To my knowledge the original organizers of Minor Threat were Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson wiMinor Threat were a bunch of jolly fellows.th the original line up being Brian Baker(bass), Ian MacKaye(vocals), Jeff Nelson(drums) and Lyle Preslar(guitar). Lyle Preslar left the band for college at some point and Brian Baker stepped up to play guitar. This left and open spot for Steve Hansgen to step in and play bass. Despite this Lyle Preslar left college to rejoin the band as a second guitarist. All in all a pretty stable band for it’s short three year life span. It is my understanding that the task of song writing was done by the band as a whole so no one specific member was the driving force behind the scenes. Since the time of the band’s breakup certain members have gone on to fame within the underground music community. This post-fame isn’t necessarily due to their percentage of contribution to Minor Threat’s material or performances

I gotta say even to this day I love Minor Threat’s music. If I put in their discography I usually listen to it to completion. It’s so fast and frantic, yet on point. Every song seems to have a goal it’s trying to make, social, personal or just random commentary but not repetitive from song to song in any way. At the time of release in the early 80′s their fan base must have been starved for suggestion. Even if the suggestions weren’t intended as such. One case would be the song, “Straight Edge” which was intended to be personal commentary on the decisions of a single band member to not take drugs, drink alcohol or have sex, it’s as simple as that. However things got way out of hand when the lyrics were taken way out of context by some listeners with the song being received as gospel telling listeners to not drink or do drugs. This misunderstanding on some wordplay created the whole “Straight Edge” movement which still exists today. On the surface doesn’t seem to be a bad thing, keeping kids away from drugs and alcohol is good right? Well it is, but some of the kids after receiving their new commandments found a sudden sense of righteousness and would go as far as throwing people’s drinks on the ground at bars or instigating fights with those not in compliance. Kind of ironic since not all the members of Minor Threat itself weren’t in compliance and the lyrics were never intended to be anything more then just lyrics.

It’s not hard to track down Minor Threat’s recordings. There is only one official release in print and it is titled “Complete Discography”. It is put out by Dischord Records and you can find it just about anywhere although I’d suggest getting it directly from the label, it’s just more fun that way.

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