Ian MacKaye turned 50 today, marking 31 years since he was a Guilty of Being White 19-year-old.
MacKaye grew up in Washington, D.C., where bands like Bad Brains and Black Flag were based. D.C. was an oasis of hardcore punk in the late ’70s/early ’80s, considering many of the influential bands, like the Minutemen, formed on the West Coast. He was childhood friends with Henry Rollins, who eventually joined Black Flag and turned 51 years old in February.
Although MacKaye coined the term “straight edge” in the Minor Threat song its named for, don’t blame him for the XXX tattoos or Google filling in “is stupid” after typing “straight edge”; he never intended to start such a movement. Listen to his explanation in this clip from the documentary, EDGE:
He is known most for his work in Minor Threat and Fugazi, but don’t forget about The Teen Idles. Listen to this Spotify playlist to hear his progression.