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Mardi, 01 Novembre 2011 17:30

Infinite Encore: Catch Epic Fugazi Concerts in Online Archive

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  • 12:30 pm  | 
  • Wired November 2011

Photo: Jim Saah

In its 15-year run as America’s most enthrallingly caustic band, Fugazi played nearly 1,150 live shows without set lists or StubHub. And with tickets usually priced at just $5, anyone could get in. At one 1990 gig in Chicago, a group of skinheads rushed the stage mid-song—only to have the band hand over their instruments and let the interlopers humiliate themselves. Fugazi’s been on “indefinite hiatus” since 2003, but fans still trade stories of such legendary moments. Now that raucous history—along with the group’s blistering sound—is roaring back into the present.

It turns out that the band recorded most of its shows over the years, resulting in hundreds of audiotapes, almost all of which languished unheard in singer-guitarist Ian MacKaye’s closet. (“After you’ve played for two hours,” he says, “the last thing you want to listen to in the van is yourself.”) This fall, Fugazi’s label, Dischord Records, launched an online archive that will eventually host more than 800 of the never-before-heard live recordings, each newly mastered and most available for the band’s traditional $5 fee. About 25 new shows are being added every month, along with flyers, photos, and MacKaye’s own tour ephemera.

For the singer, though, the archive is less a nostalgia trip than a multimedia history lesson on the ’80s and ’90s DIY punk movement. It has also allowed him to rediscover his own group: “There are moments when I listen and cringe,” he says. “But that’s how it goes, warts and all. Nothing is being suppressed.”


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