Ian MacKaye: If You Want To Rebel Against Society, Don’t Dull The Blade

by Zack Zarrillo - Aug 23, 2014


Ian MacKaye is forever punk, which is why he has really interesting insight on society. Read what he said about rebelling in a recent interview below after the jump.

On the fetishization of self-destruction in the 1970s and 1980s:

Margosis: The entire idea of rebellion at the time—this is late ’70s early ’80s—rebellion involving rock ‘n’ roll almost always involved some kind of self-destructive behavior. Drugs, alcohol, sex as conquest. And nobody had ever—and this was true whether you were rebelling against your parents and listening to Skynyrd or Boston or Journey or something like that or rebelling against your peers and listening to punk rock—nobody ever really came out with a really clear message that I ever heard before that said, “Hey, there’s another way to do this.”

MacKaye: None of us got high really, we didn’t drink. I just never did. It was something I was not interested in. … It just seemed so boring to me at the time. I also grew up thinking that at 18, you had to drink. Like it wasn’t a choice. You just have to.

I thought you couldn’t drink soda, and you had to drink beer from that point on. I just didn’t understand why anybody would want to hurry up to that point. Because as far as I could tell, you had to drink for the rest of your life, and miserably. Because I saw so many adults who were just such a mess as a kid. And I remember just thinking, “I don’t wanna be a part of that at all. Period.”

You’re absolutely right, in the late ’70s, it wasn’t limited to music, by the way. [When it came to] rebellion… the only option made readily available was self-destruction. So in schools or any arena, the kids who were the rebellious ones were the ones who were hurting themselves. And that just seemed counterproductive to me. If you wanted to rebel against society, don’t dull the blade

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