Fugazi - First Demo

by Brian Lange. Rating:9 Release Date:2014-11-17

Whether you love him or hate him, Ian MacKaye of Fugazi is one of the most influential figures in the post-hardcore punk movement. Having grown up in the shadow of the emergence of punk rock music in Washington DC, I have that nonsensical home-town pride and an undeniable loyalty to bands of the time, like Bad Brains, Scream, Minor Threat and of course Fugazi. (Inner Ear Studios and Minor Threat’s house were within walking distance of my own house)  

Aptly named First Demo is a collection of Fugazi’s first ever recorded songs, after the band had only played 10 shows together. Not all the songs are new material. In fact, fans of Fugazi will likely know all of the songs quite well, most of which have appeared on different records over the years, more specifically EPs and live albums. But these are the original songs, recorded in 1988 in all their punk rock glory. 

Listening to this, it could very well be a brand new Fugazi release. The band, during its run, was one of the few bands that managed to remain very consistent with their sound and the quality of work. First Demos is a perfect indication of just how talented and true to the genre Ian MacKaye and Fugazi were. 

Ian MacKaye’s principle with Fugazi was always to charge the lowest possible ticket price for venues, often as low as five dollars. MacKaye turned down an offer to headline Lollapalooza because of this rule and for every one show has probably turned down 50 others. MacKaye is also notoriously straight-edge, refusing to ever do an interview with Rolling Stone until they stop advertising alcohol and cigarettes. 

His anti-violence stance at shows has gone as far as escorting disobeyers out of the venue with a $5 refund in an envelope (which the band kept on hand for this purpose). Love him or hate him, you have to respect MacKaye’s continued devotion to his beliefs. 

Undoubtedly, this record will spark a new interest and empty hopes that Fugazi will perhaps tour again and release new material. I find it unlikely, but this record certainly has brought back some fond memories of discovering Fugazi and punk music.

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