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Ian MacKaye & Jeff Nelson were interviewed on 5/1/83 in Kalamazoo, Mich. The band was just about to complete a seven week tour that took them across the country. Interview taken from Inside View 2.
Inside View: Tell us about the past seven weeks.
Ian: The first official show was March 11, but we had to go back homeafter that...we actually left DC March 15. We've been on the road ever since... Jeff: We're very sorry if anyone reading this went to Vancouver thinking we were going to play...sorry if you made the trip to find out we cancelled. It was the first show we ever had to cancel.
Ian: We were suppose to play, but Brian had tonsilitis--so we had to cancel that one.
IV: Is Brian alright now?
Jeff: Well; me, Richard and Brian had it--but he didn't feel up to it...
Ian: It was a big show (DKs)...like a thousand big. It would have been a good show to play...it's really bad that we missed it. Also our apologies to Denver and any where else we missed. We didn't do it on purpose...we did attempt to play Denver but was some controversy...the guy I called didn't want anything to do with us...and that was the only number I had.
IV: How's the new record selling?
Jeff: They're all gone...3500 of 'em.
IV: What about a second pressing?
Ian: I don't know...
Jeff: We're either going to...we're certainly going to make more...
Ian: What form--we're not sure of...
Jeff: It might take the form of repressing it more and fixing the cover w/remixing and remastering...or I think we're just going back into the studio and record the whole thing over again...and see how it turns out--if it turns out better...
IV: You're not satisfied with the original?
Jeff: Not really.
Ian: It was good...I mean I like the record, but it kinda sounds dry to me.
Jeff: It's really thin, flat, too much treble...alot of the songs were just really new...
Ian: Yeah, for instance, "Look back and Laugh," that was the first time I ever sang the song...never even practiced it.
Jeff: That was one take...
Ian: "Think Again" was only 2 weeks old when we recorded that one.
Jeff: So possibly, if we go back in...it might turn out better--it might not.
Ian: The main thing is that we toured...we've played the songs 50 or 60 times and got them down in between sound checks.
Jeff: We've figured out all kinds of stuff that we would want to correct...and maybe add to it.
Ian: We'll give it a shot...I mean just re-record no matter what and whether or not we'll use it...who knows.
Jeff: It might also come out in England on SST records...Rough Trade was also interested...so we don't know.
IV: Tell me about Dischord Records. How did it come about, and you have any thoughts that it would become this big?
Jeff: We really didn't think about starting a record label. We just wanted to put our record...that was our goal and dream as the Teen Idles. The money came back from the first record and with that we saw it as a label that other bands could benefit from...it's like a cooperative. We're in charge... what I'm trying to say is that not just anyone can use the label.
Ian: It's our label...we decide...we watch a product. I don't feel like putting my name on anything that's not...we don't want to rip anyone off.
IV: Do you think it's (Dischord) going--to get bigger?
Jeff: Yeah, I think so. It will either get bigger or it will fold.
Ian: It could do neither...it's possible.
IV: There's alot of people that will buy a record on Dischord just because of the past releases...
Jeff: I know and it's an incredible responsibility because of that. It makes it worse when we're not happy with a record that came out on Dischord.
Ian: And I'll also tell you if we did the record ("Out of Step") over...we would apologize for putting out the same product that would be different than the first one...we'd apologize for putting something out that wasn't up to par.
Jeff: Or even to the people that would feel they would have to buy both.
Ian: But I feel it's better to correct it now than to keep putting out the same thing...if we're not happy with it--why stick with it?
Jeff: Things are certainly going to change...we're going legal when we get back home. We'll have to pay taxes...trying to re-create the financial history of Dischord is going to be very hard.
IV: It seems like a pretty major step...
Ian: It's something we weren't really looking forward to...but it occurred to us that we'd get busted this year...so we decided that we better do something about it. We could easily say fuck the gov't, but aside from the fact that we don't mind paying taxes...considering we just drove across the country and back onthe highway's that tax money pays for. Also if we lose Dischord...that's irresponsible to all the bands that have supported us, all the people who put out records and never got paid...they put all the money back into the label...I'd say it would be pretty bad money management if we folded.
IV: Tell me about the song "Cashing In"?
Jeff: That was in response to the reaction we got when we got back together in DC. There was a lot of resentment...people misreading what we we're doing
IV: Did people feel you were selling out?
Jeff: Yeah...something I've brought up in interviews before and after we broke up...we've (Ian/Jeff) been in the Slinkees, the Teen Idles, and Minor Threat together...we had to keep starting over and over each time...getting a new name, new songs, and new recognition...it was pretty tired...but at least it kinda made you humble.
Ian: As soon as Minor Threat got back together, everyone said, "Hey, you said you'd never get back together," or, "Now you're not humble"...but to me--maybe I'm wrong--it's a band that I've put alot of work into already...actually, we're very humble for the fact that when we did get back together--we got so much fucking shit from it...it was a pretty ugly situation. The band had been fooling around with the song for ages. I sat down and wrote lyrics...that were as ludicrous as the idea that were going to make any money off of Minor Threat.
Jeff: It's not ludicrous that we'll make money...
Ian: Well it's ludicrous that each one of us are going to get rich.
IV: Did you find most of the resentment coming from people in DC?
Ian: Oh yeah...almost all of it. That's why we say "There's no place like home." We only played the song once, and it was it the first show after we got back together...we also played it once in the studio. I never want to play it again...
IV: So there was a stormy period in DC when you guys first got back together?
Jeff: Yeah, but it's not like all of DC was against us...alot of people rolled their eyes and complained just because we got back together...they felt we'd get all the big shows...
Ian: We've only played like four times in Washington...
Jeff: And it certainly wouldn't be our fault if we did get shows.
IV: Getting to your new EP, someone last night made the comment that with the lyrics...you seem to be looking down on everybody...
Ian: No, I don't see it as me talking down to people. To me it's just...telling stories. In fact, every song on the record I consider myself to be on both sides of the coin. I've done both...I've felt that I've betrayed people--and people have betrayed me. It goes both ways. I know I've felt sorry for myself before, and I hate when people feel sorry for themselves. So I don't think I'm looking down at anything... I don't know where the guy is getting off...
IV: Alot of people here have big misinterpretations about bands that have 3 or 4 records out...they think the bands make a ton of money every show they play...
Ian: We're small potatoes...most places we've played the people were like...Detroit's a great big city, we have a good following there.
Jeff: I know, going through the south...
Ian: In Charlotte, we played in front of 20 people. Florida was pretty dinky, I mean it was ridiculous...New Orleans there were probably 50 people.
Jeff: Plus, they didn't know us at all...it was pretty weird.
Ian: I had to sing every song...every word of every song. Nobody sang along which was pretty weird, cause like last night--I'm use to everyone singing...in Boston, Washington, NY, Detroit, Chicago everyone sings. Actually, in Chicago and Detroit it was pretty neat...these were the first places that helped me sing on the new songs. The beginning of the tour wasn't so great, but it's been a real good tour...
Jeff: It's been really lopsided...1500 people in LA and we didn't get to play our whole set.
IV: What happened there?
Ian: Somebody got stabbed...
Jeff: Some domestic fighting or something...and than alot of people got involved--then somebody got slashed outside...then the cops got called and the plugs got pulled.
Ian: It was bullshit. It was a horrible show anyways. Everything was breaking...I broke 5 mics and there were a hundred people on stage.
Jeff: It had the potential to be a great show...
Ian: It seems our really snail shows, we played well...but at the big shows everything gets so fucked up. Like last night I had a good time, but the show in Chicago was better...we played better. In general, I didn't feel I put out enough. I got use to not having people on stage...having all this room; now there's no room at all. Almost all the shows there was plenty of stage. It was a lot different...it's cool, I had a great time...fuck, I had a great time! Actually, I don't know how I feel about shows. Every time I get off stage I say, "God...don't know about that one." It seems when you're on tour...you get one chance to play. So, if we play Detroit and it's a bad night--then everyone, for the next four months will be saying, "Minor Threat sucks!" It's a real gamble... we want to do our best. We're use to playing every few months.
Jeff: And then going on tour...at the beginning of the tour, we felt weird because it started to feel like an act...and we'd have to do it almost every day. It didn't feel right...it was so exhausting. The repetition...doing it over and over was different.
Ian: The first 5 or 6 shows were just...I don't know. Now I feel better about singing than I ever have before. Really, I feel great about it...I feel more sincere. I don't know why. Maybe I got into the groove of touring.
IV: It has been alnost one year since you played here, and there does seem to be a different stage presence...
Ian: ...I don't use the mike stand anymore. We should appear to be a lot more confident on stage. This is the last of 35 shows; Whereas, last year Detroit was the first of 14 or whatever...I'm sure after a few months of not playing we'll be back to ground zero.
IV: Do you have any shows lined up when you get back home?
Jeff: No, I hope not for awhile. I have an incredible fear... first of all, it's the hardest city for us to play and I have a big fear of over playing. I get very bored of bands after seeing them pay out alot. We were in a real rut before we wrote the new songs...last year--just after we got back together, we were playing all the old material. There was nothing really new to work with...most people in DC knew the old songs. So I didn't feel like I had anything new to offer.
Ian: We might play Boston in June. It's tentative...that's the only show we have coming up...if anything.
IV: Any closing statements?
Jeff: The record; first of all it's a 12" EP. It's not really an album. It's S3.50 post paid from Dischord...so anything over 4 bucks at a store is too steep, because it's not an album.
Ian: There's only 7 songs.
Jeff: So order it from Dischord if you want to get it cheap.
Ian: But give us a month at least...
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