Highlights of Ian MacKaye’s Library of Congress Lecture


From Spin Magazine:

On Discovering Punk and His Straight-Edge Mentality:
“[In the ’70s] pretty much what I saw were just people getting high. In high school, I loved all my friends, but so many of them were just partying. It was disappointing that that was the only form of rebellion that they could come up with, which was self-destruction.”

On How Skateboarding Shaped His Musical Sensibilities:
“Skateboarding is not a hobby. And it is not a sport. Skateboarding is a way of learning how to redefine the world around you. For most people, when they saw a swimming pool, they thought, ‘Let’s take a swim.’ But I thought, ‘Let’s ride it.’ When they saw the curb or a street, they would think about driving on it. I would think about the texture. I slowly developed the ability to look at the world through totally different means.”

On the Early Days of Dischord Records and Going DIY:
“We had no idea how to make a record, so we just asked one of our friends who put out records at the time, ‘How do we do that?’ And he said, ‘Here’s a phone number, call them.’ So we called National Record Productions down in Nashville, Tennessee, and they said, ‘Send us a tape and a check for $500.’ We got a Money Order, sent it down, and got a thousand 7-inch records. Then we took apart a picture sleeve from a 7-inch record from England to see how it was configured. So you can imagine, a 7″x7″ sleeve — a 14-inch paper with little flaps on the side that pulled in — we just opened it up, we sketched it on a 11″x17″ piece of paper, and then we put our own art into that and took it to a print shop and said: ‘Can you give us a thousand of these?’ The guy ran them off and in a week we picked them up: a thousand 11″x17″ pieces of paper with this weird-shaped art. And then using scissors and glue, we cut and folded every single record sleeve. That is the way Dischord Records worked for the first 10,000 records. By hand, cut-and-folded, every one of those sleeves. That, my friends, is the record industry. The is the true record industry. It was incredible to sit with people — your friends — and make records together. It was an amazing experience.”

Continue reading the rest of the story on Spin Magazine