Yeats: O body swayed to music— julia story: I remember me and a male friend handing our eyeglasses to another friend so they wouldnt get broken in the pit at a fugazi show. Im pretty sure it was in one of the memorial Union ballrooms at the University of Iowa, 1993. Glasses were unharmed but I did get kicked in the head and I wore that bump with pride. O brightening glance— paul Connolly: Not all mosh pits are violent. Each is a snowflake changing shape under the same influences that are shaping the shows collective mood. Its possible to view a pit as a group impulse of all its participants to touch every other participant at the same time. How can we know the dancer from the dance? I have not written a word about The waiting room, fugazis first anthem, which at the time i saw as the punk male counterpart to Elizabeth Bishops In the waiting room.
Why do people hate jews?
Began to flex its imperial muscle in Iraq, fugazi was trying to find new ways of creating structures of freedom, of self-becoming—by drawing upon the primordial chemical stew that makes us raiders or addicts or soldiers. I remember how angry i could get at my own helplessness, at my failures to be the man I wanted to become. Attacked by dark moods, i wondered what the hell I was doing with my life; Id been helpless to stop the war, Id broken up with someone, i was self-conscious and awkward around girls. I couldnt even write my way out of the first stanza in a new poem. Sometimes I had to be buried in noise, in the tomb of a dorm room, for hours, before i could emerge again. The vale of soul-making, as keats called it, was rife with amplifier feedback, primal screaming, and masses of sweat-drenched bodies seething in the whirlpool of a mosh pit. It was a song so outside of your parents definition of music it was a secret code, a code you best couldnt crack unless it cracked you open. Keats: do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an Intelligence and make it a soul? Once, in a mosh pit, a particularly thick-headed dude was whaling away at everyone essay around him, lost to himself and everyone else in his damaged flailing; for some reason, i found myself grabbing and hugging him, holding him in my arms, bearing him until. Maybe all he needed was a fucking hug.
But its the chorus that yoga makes this song so memorable, embodying and giving voice to the lustful aggression that animates corporate raiderism: this ones ours lets take another / this ones ours lets take another / this ones ours lets take another, etc. By leaping between oppositional rage and giving voice to the hunger of greed, fugazi again situates itself at the heart of the dionysian dynamic. Throughout their work, fugazi shows that they are not simply interested in the aesthetics of protest; they want to move through the energies of the warrior impulse, to bend them toward new directions. In guy picciottos words, What we have at these shows, and with these records—this is our battlefield, this is where well be fighting about what were for (qtd. In Our Band 376). Perhaps thats why their music and vision appealed to me so strongly. In the early 1990s, at a time when unfettered macho capitalism led to massive deregulation and union busting, when the American cities were flayed by the scourge of crack cocaine, when the.
McAdams: I have gotten more interested in Fugazi as I have gotten older. I have bought albums, watched the documentary, and played full disclosure for the kids in the car. As I get older i am more interested in the participatory democracy that guy elucidates in the letter to Phil. We moved to harlem, are active in the kids schools, protest standardized testing, join climate marches, dragging the kids to it all. Also, my anger has not subsided much, although I think i have better ways to channel. Its true, the themes of their songs reads like a laundry list of progressive issues, but working their approach to the material is nothing less than art. Sure, fugazi here engages in a typical critique of monopolistic capitalism; the title itself refers to the five corporations that control 90.
Their shows cost five dollars a ticket. Fugazis creation of an alternative to the music industry itself—not alternative music, but an alternate way of making and sharing music—made them one of the few truly avant-garde and truly punk bands of our time. Fugazis art was not meant to be consumed; it was meant to be lived. In the cassette version of Repeater, one would find the following" from Ortega y gassett: revolution is not the uprising against preexisting order, but the setting up of a new order contradictory to the traditional one. Fugazis ethos and practice hearkened back to the tradition of American anarchism, radical politics, and participatory democracy (Thoreau, the. W.W., Students for a democratic Society, malcolm x, and noam Chomsky) and anticipated the Occupy movements attempts to create what Mackaye calls a working model of a real community, an alternative community that could continue to exist outside the mainstream. In a weird way, fugazi may be the Grateful dead of the post-punk generation—if the dead were fronted by mario savio and a skinny tornado. They did more than create music; they made the soundtrack to an alternative mode of being.
Living by the Sword Slate Star Codex
This struggle was described well in the song by my friend Jim Doppke, ian Knows, whose lyrics begin: Ian looks out tired from the stage And he world wonders if theyll let him turn that page but theyre not even hearing the words And Ian knows. Hes just in a band. He cant believe theyre not hearing the words Ian says your soundtrack is not my words. Another time, a slam dancer took the stage and started to dance with guy, and guy went into a fully limp position, as if he were a nonviolent activist being hauled away by the cops. In the tradition of self-consciously political punk bands like the Clash, fugazi was different. Though the Clash called themselves the only band that mattered, their music was produced and distributed by cbs records; however nuanced their message, they served a particular consumer niche and was absorbed in the profit motive of a huge media conglomerate. Clash frontman joe strummer often lamented the compromises that ensued from this devils bargain: everybodys got their price.
But what about Fugazi? To paraphrase russian poet lev rubinstein, the watershed between traditional and avant-garde aesthetics cannot be delineated merely by style. Fugazi was beyond the commodifiable gesture of oppositional protest because of how they shared their music. They made their own record label, dischord Records, which Mackaye ran out of his house. They recorded at their friend Don zientaras Inner Ear Studios—which was in his basement. They produced and printed and distributed their own records and CDs for an affordable price (10). They played only at all-ages venues so that young people could hear them.
Singing and dancing, man expresses himself as a member of a higher unity. He has forgotten how to walk and talk and is on the verge of flying up into the air as he dances. The enchantment speaks out in his gestures. He feels himself a god. He now moves in a lofty ecstasy, as he saw the gods move in his dream. The man is no longer an artist.
He has become a work of art. The artistic power of all of nature, the rhapsodic satisfaction of the primordial unity, reveals itself here in the intoxicated performance. Anyone who has listened to punk rock (or, perhaps any music which aspires to this self-forgetting) for more than a minute would feel this power. Yet Fugazi always situated itself between the balance of the Apollonian and dionysian. For all their embrace of the diy aesthetic, they were quite technically proficient, and the music itself—echoing the minutemen before them—was rife with stops and starts, as if to measure their mastery over the noisy chaos they induced. One show, halfway through a song, seeing the mosh pit grow more and more violent, pushing young kids up against the stage, ian stopped the band and admonished the perpetrators, saying: we will not be a soundtrack to your violence. He was known for calling those violators of the common good sir—as if to place them in the category of brutal authority figures. Which would freak out any real punk. Theres never so much seething That it cant be disarmed.
Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco the new York review of books
And theres never so much seething. That it cant be disarmed. And of course, turnover is also about the primal dynamic of Fugazis music. Coming out of the underground Washington. Hardcore scene, composed of the remnants of Minor Threat (spawners of the ascetic Straight Edge movement) and Rites of Spring (whose music was so unrepeatable that they produced only one albums worth of material fugazi was avowedly postpunk—struggling against the very daemonic impulses that their. Punk, despite its diy ethos and anti-authoritarianism, also found itself confronting the dark side of anarchism—skinheads whose idea of a good time involved beating the shit out of people in mosh pits under the guise of dancing. A typical Fugazi show in the early 1990s involved this constant struggle between catharsis and violence, between abandon and discipline. They were, to use nietzsches definition in The birth of Tragedy, summoners of the dionysian: Now is the slave a free man, now all the stiff, hostile barriers break apart, those things which necessity and arbitrary power or saucy fashion have established between men. Now every man feels himself not only united with his neighbour, reconciled and fused together, but also as if the veil of Maja has been tnt ripped apart, with only scraps fluttering around before the mysterious original unity.
I didnt listen to them for years—nearly a decade, in fact. The babies were napping, the girls were playing, we were enjoying a quiet meal together. Fugazi—with its primal noise, its pitched-fit discontents, its content-wrecking rage—just did not fit in the sleep-deprived half-dream of journey early parenthood. It also didnt help that the band dissolved just as my parenting life began, so there was no need to return to that well of angst. When I listen now, it feels like a door to another world. Once, in my grandparents Brooklyn brownstone, i awoke to what I thought was the opening distorted notes of Fugazis Turnover. Its feedback slowly morphed, as I listened, to the distant horn of a tugboat coming into port. My grandparents are long dead and buried, and the house is long sold and gone, but that moment has anchored in a corner of my brain. The song is, incidentally, about waking up: Languor rising reaching, to turn off the alarm.
listened much to fugazi since the kids were born (as if entering another life but its also true that I cant imagine writing now without having been baptized by fugazi. As for the poem, i consider it a challenge; maybe Im going to buy this thing and listen to it until Ian gets his poem. Its all sort of beyond language, which is the great problem. Dan keating chimed in: Phil, isnt articulating that which is beyond language the job of the poet? Isnt that what you do? Mark gunn again: I was watching videos of live fugazi performances last night (which is why i searched for the worcester show and thought about how weirdly uplifting all that energetic rage. I want to read something about that, written by you. If you can manage to access that seemingly dead part of your self.
Thats the dilemma—to write anything about short music always feels a little absurd, but it seems insane when youre writing about music so skull-stunningly primal. It feels like a betrayal. Which is pretty much how co-frontman and guitarist (and one-man seizure-machine) guy picciotto responded in a letter, some twenty years ago, when I wrote to fugazi a series of questions about how they conceived the connection between their music and politics: Thanks for your letter—its. As for answering your questions, to be honest with you, it would be too much like taking a midterm exam about my life—an unappetizing concept. Its not that the questions arent valid, its just that we work out issues like the relation between music and politics actively rather than theoretically— what we do and think is articulated on stage, on record, and in the way we handle ourselves, not. I hope you understand where Im coming from and that I mean no disrespect—we definitely appreciate listeners like you— all our best—guy/fugazi, ive kept this as a talisman, to remind myself that artists dont need to constantly explain what that they are doing or what. The practice is the thing.
The Ideology Is Not The movement Slate Star Codex
Fugazi - photo by jem Cohen. A few months ago, i received an email from Mark gunn, an old friend and roommate whom I hear from only rarely now, yet one of those people whose life you cant imagine your life without. His message began: Its available. Fugazi had been slowly releasing audio of their entire concert archive—some 800 shows—and theyd reached that legendary show at Worcester, 1991. Then: Im scared to listen. And then: It lives in my memory short as the greatest concert i ever saw (and will ever see, because i will never go to a concert again). It cant live up, can it? Then he asked me to write a cycle of poems about.