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Minor Threat was the straight edge, hardcore punk band from Washington, D.C. Led by vocalist Ian MacKaye, the band was staunchly independent and fiercely sober. Through their songs, the group rejected drugs and alcohol, espoused anti-establishment politics, and led a call for self-awareness. Every song was fast and sharp, with song a minute or shorter. Over a three year period, Minor Threat released two EPs, one album, and several singles, all of which were popular in the American punk rock underground. Their records and concerts helped spawn straight-edge, an American punk rock lifestyle based on the group’s intense, clean-living ideology. Following the disbandment of Minor Threat, MacKaye formed Fugazi, a popular hardcore post punk band.
MacKaye formed the Teen Idles while he was attending Wilson High School in Washington, D.C., and after he graduated in 1980, he founded the Dischord record label with the intent of putting out his group’s records through the label. The Teen Idles broke up and MacKaye had formed Minor Threat with former Idles drummer Jeff Nelson, former Government Issue bassist Brian Baker, and guitarist Lyle Preslar. By the end of the year, Minor Threat had released the singles “Minor Threat” and “Straight Edge,” and had played many concerts along the East Coast. Throughout 1981, they followed this same pattern, playing a lot of concerts and releasing 7″ singles.