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Minor Threat formed in November of 1980. They consisted of four members: Ian MacKaye on vocals, Brian Baker on bass, Lyle Preslar on guitar and Jeff Nelson on drums. On the album "Out of Step", Steve Hansgen played bass and Brian Baker played guitar. In September 1981, Minor Threat broke up when Lyle decided to go to college. During this time, Ian and Jeff started a new band called Skewbald/Grand Union, who also kicked ass. This band broke up when Minor Threat reformed in April 1982. Minor Threat broke up for good in 1983. Minor Threat also changed the world with the Straight Edge movement which has affected thousands of kids all over the world. They are also the band that got me into hardcore punk.
Possibly the most musically and ideologically influential hardcore punk band of all time, Minor Threat is a beloved bastion of santiy, creativity, sincerity, and the punk rock ethic.
The core of Minor Threat originated in the Summer of 1979, when Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson formed The Slinkees. This band, in which Ian played bass and Jeff played drums, soon broke up when the singer (Mark Sullivan) left to attend Colgate University. The remainder of The Slinkees - Ian, Jeff, and Geordie Grindle (guitarist) - got a new singer (Nathan Strejcek) and formed The Teen Idles in September, 1979.
81-9-1 One of their first shows at DCspace (Pic: A. Angelos)At this point, Ian and Jeff helped form Dischord Records, and The Teen Idles recorded their first release, an EP entitled "Minor Disturbance". Dischord later released a sampler entitled "Flex Your Head", on which The Teen Idles put three songs. They also managed to get banned from one San Francisco club, nine DC clubs, the LA Greyhound station, and, yes, even Disneyland before breaking up in November of 1980 when Geordie became disinterested in hardcore, and Nathan joined Youth Brigade.
82-8-1 Jeff Nelson 9:30 Club (Pic: Glen E. Friedman)Ian and Jeff stuck together, but Ian moved over to the mike and got Brian Baker, from a band called Crossbow, on bass, and Lyle Preslar, from a band called The Extorts, on guitar. In November of 1980 Minor Threat was born.
In April of 1981, Minor Threat recorded their ground breaking eight-song EP, "Minor Threat" and released it on Dischord. Their musical style was fast yes melodic, raw yet tight, furious yet controlled, complex yet never complicated - a host of paradoxes that scores of bands have spent decades in vain trying to imitate. Their ideology was equally radical. Carrying over from the Teen Idles, Ian MacKaye and Minor Threat continued to spearhead the "Straight Edge" ideology of abstinence from intoxication and loose sex as a vehicle of sober and intelligent rebellion against the countless social norms that stuck them as idiotic.
Winter 1982 - Brian Baker (Pic: Glen E. Friedman)In August of 1981, Minor Threat recorded their second EP on Dischord: "In My Eyes", augmenting their legacy of penetrating, sober personal and social commentary, and raw, angry, emotional, excellent music. But in September, Lyle Preslar left DC to attend College in Chicago and the band split up.
During the split, Brian Baker joined Government Issue, while Ian and Jeff continued to stick together, forming a band called Grand Union / Skewbald with John Falls, of Youth Brigade and Iron Cross, on bass, and Eddie Machete, of The Untouchables and Nothing Sacred, on guitar. This band never played a show, but they did record two songs, which were released a decade later as the 50th Dischord record.
1982, In a tour Van. Minor Threat refused to remain sundered, and soon, in April of 1982 Lyle returned from college, Brian left Government Issue, and the band reformed. That September Steve Hansgen - one of the greatest hardcore bassists ever - joined the band. Brian Baker moved over to guitar, at which he is also one of the very best. With this impeccable lineup (Jeff, Lyle, and Ian were also among the all time best at their respective posts), the band recorded what is easily one of the greatest Hardcore Punk albums of all time: "Out Of Step", an LP released on Dischord in January of 1983.
With this line-up Minor Threat completed an extensive cross-country tour. In May of 1983, the band returned to it's original line-up, as Steve moved on to play in Second Wind.
83-1-2 Minor Threat at the 9:30 club (Pic: Jim Saah) As the year wore on, Minor Threat decided to disband for good. Perhaps this was to avoid turning into "rockstars," as the band was gaining such a huge popularity - or, more likely, it was in a feeling of dismay at the macho-ness of the scene that had evolved around their sound. In December of 1983, they put out their final release, a Dischord EP entitled "Salad Days", which was mostly a commentary on their own decision to breakup.
After Minor Threat... Lyle Preslar and Brain Baker went on to a band called The 400 with members of Negative Approach. Brian also went on to form Dag Nasty, and played in a long string of other bands, including The Meatmen. Lyle also played with Glenn Danzing (of the Misfits) on Samhain's first album.
Jeff Nelson continued running Dischord Records along with Ian, and the pair did another band together, called Egghunt. Jeff would also play in a variety of other bands including Three and Senator Flux.
In late 1984, Ian MacKaye got together with Ivor Hansen, Mike Hampton, and Chris Bald of Faith and formed another legendary and ground-breaking band: Embrace. Later, Embrace and Rites of Spring would combine to form Fugazi, who are still together playing shows and releasing records - and carrying on well the punk ethic.
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