Minor Threat

Minor Threat were a Washington DC-based Hardcore Punk band who were short-lived but influential, and notable both for their disciplined, DIY approach and their embrace of a no drugs/no alcohol ethic.

Formed by high school friends Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson, the band emerged in 1980, amidst a wave of Hardcore Punk bands that included fellow pioneers Bad Brains (also from DC) and Black Flag. Minor Threat's rage-driven music was often set to furiously fast tempos, with many songs clocking in not far past the one-minute mark. Beyond the group's anti-establishment lyrical content, they championed a clean-living ethos that put them at the lead of the so-called “straight edge” punk movement, which drew its name from Minor Threat’s song by that name. Part of the straight-edge ethos was self-determination, a path that the band followed on the business side, promoting their own shows and issuing their records on their own Dischord label, which also put out records by other DC acts.

Minor Threat issued a handful of singles, a pair of EPs and a single full-length album, Out of Step, before splitting in 1982, when guitarist Lyle Preslar left for college. He returned before the year was out and the band gave it another go, but infighting soon caused them to disband again, this time for good. Lead singer MacKaye went on to front the successful indie band Fugazi.