In a brief but pointed interview, Brandon Sideleau speaks with underground music legend Ian MacKaye. Mackaye, a veteran of a number of acts, notably Minor Threat, Fugazi and The Evens, among others, sheds some light on his upcoming release, as well as his former bandmate Joe Lally's solo record and even briefly addresses Fugazi's "indefinite hiatus."
Ian's current band, The Evens, will be releasing Get Evens in November.
Can you tell me about the new Evens album? Has it been completed? Is there any specific musical or lyrical direction you and Amy decided to go with this release? Also, who is the primary song writer? Do you collaborate on lyrics?
The record is finished and is scheduled to be released in early November. It's called Get Evens. We write the songs together, but generally the person singing the lead is the one that wrote the lyrics. we do collaborate on the words as well.
Can you tell me anything about the upcoming Joe Lally solo release? I've read that there are a wide variety of guest vocalists and collaborators on this release. What kind of musical directions does Joe explore?
Joe's record, From There to Here, will be released in early October. The root of Joe's music is just his voice and the bass guitar, but for this recording he has enlisted a number of people to play on some of the songs. I don't really engage in trying to discuss 'musical direction', but what i can say is that i think it's a record like no other.
Of course, I must ask this- is Fugazi, at this point, completely over with for you? Or are you guys merely on an extended hiatus?
The term we used was 'indefinite hiatus', which means that we really don't know when or if we'll play again. The other option we had was to break-up and that seemed somewhat ridiculous given that the four of us were so close. At this moment, there are still no plans to play, but who knows what the future holds.
How do you feel about the current state of independent music in general? Do you think the intensity and sense of urgency present in the past is still a driving force in independent music today? Do you think that the current political atmosphere has ignited feelings of anger and frustration in a whole new generation of young musicians?
It's difficult for me to make a sweeping comment about the state of independent music as I don't believe that i am fully aware of the dimensions of such a thing. My sense is that there is always another wave coming in on some shore and it would be folly to dismiss the possibility of something occurring. Obviously the United States engagement in various military crimes around the world and the government's ongoing tightening of civil liberties here could serve well as fuel for anger and expression, and I think that responses are developing in the minds of artists and activists. that's their job.