Monday, April 07, 2008

Straight Edge

I was listening to yesterday's Broadcasting House as I was cycling home through the drizzle tonight and they had a piece on Straight Edge making a comeback in London. The guy they interviewed was 19, he seemed a very nice lad and being straight edge had obviously helped him sort out his problems, but being 19 I don't think he had much historical perspective on the movement and came up with delightful line of "it started on the American west coast in cities like Boston and Florida." Ahhh! Bless his little clean-livin' socks but someone get him an atlas for Christmas.

It did make think of the Fugazi though for the first time in years.

Interestingly if you look up Fugazi on YouTube all the comments seem to be about whether Fugazi were emo or not (including even in Spanish in the clip above!?). The answer is so obviously, NOT! Emo is, in my humble opinion, the bastard child of late 80s Goth and New Romantics. Fugazi very clearly wasn't either.


Quizbo said...

Anyone who regards Fugazi as Emo should be beaten by Robocop French riot police.

As for "Straight Edge", they weren't the originators of the movement, but credit for taking the message to a wider audience should certainly be given to Ian MacKaye's earlier band Minor Threat. (MacKaye wrote the song "Straight Edge" for SOA, which eventually turned into Minor Threat.)

Interestingly the Straight Edge movement was also about youth solidarity, trying to push for minors to be allowed into more punk shows. Since they weren't allowed to drink and were marked with giant X's on their hands by one owner, they took their "no serve" status as mark of honor. Thus youth solidarity merged with anti-drug philosophy.

Don't know if you've come across them before, but I can highly recommend Michael Azerrad's "Our Band Could Be Your Life", or Mark Andersen and Mark Jenkins' "Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital"

And just for old time's sake... here's the classic itself:

Quizbo said...

Just remembered that a good friend who grew up with the punk scene in DC talked about going to see a show featuring "Straight Edge" Minor Threat opening for on-stage weed smoking Bad Brains, with a lot of respect between the groups. Wow... what a show that must have been.

On a side note, I also found Glen E. Friedman's view of the link between early East Coast punk, the mid to late 70's Dogtown skateboarding scene and hip hop acts like Public Enemy and Run-D.M.C. (chronicled in his aptly titled collection "Fuck You Heroes") to be an insightful bridging of outwardly disparate youth cultures.