In the past few months a bizarre cross section of bands that I have interviewed or read about have been quoting Minor Threat as an influence. Far more than, let’s say, the Strokes or other media pets.

“>The Vaccines, dubstep mixers, Wu Lyf, several huge metal bands, endless punk and hardcore bands all see the Washington DC based hardcore, straight edge band as a key formative influence on them.

There is something about the group’s stripped down powerful punk and clear headed idealism, great songs and searing honesty that strikes a nerve decades after they were recording. Maybe it was the band’s stance, that anti commercial, no sell out stance that makes them a beacon surrounded by clumsy sell outs.

Maybe it was their thoughtfulness and their powerful music that has never dated. Maybe it’s their purity of purpose in a business almost as tainted as politics or print media that cuts through.


Minor Threat sound even more exciting after all these years. Their small catalogue of songs make points that still make sense in succinct and powerful ways. Front person Ian Mackaye took a stance and never wavered. He has been painted as humourless by people who just don’t get it- when he is a regular guy, good fun in real life but without the fear.

He mistakenly invented straight edge. Had an untainted vision and fronted a brilliant band, the ”˜Beatles of hardcore’ as they are sometimes called.

Looking at the old youtube clips of their gigs you see pure unbridled joy and an amazing avalanche of energy.

It’s no wonder young bands constantly refer to Minor Threat. The music is pure and their conviction is inspirational and their energy is undimmed.

Few bands have had their impact.


  1. I would say that there’s this vague ideal of artistic purity and “esprit de la jeunesse” that bands who cite Minor Threat as an “influence” latch onto and wish they could see in themselves. But I rarely ever truly see it and I NEVER hear their influence musically. So, I have must disagree with your premise.

  2. I think hardcore as a genre is becoming increasingly more influential given Pitchfork’s single-handedly engineered wave of nostalgia for 80s/90s underground music from the US.

    To pick them out above Black Flag, Husker Du or The Replacements is probably more a case of personal opinion rather than overwhelming preference amongst modern bands.

    What people admire about all the above bands is their sheer conviction to the music. Maybe Minor Threat took this further than most with their supposedly straight edge ethos. As you alluded to, that wasn’t really an intentional thing or something that the whole band abided by.

    If anything, the straight edge philosophy stands above Minor Threat’s music to the extent I get the impression people like the idea of the band more than the band themselves.

    Still this was a nice blog and it makes a solid point aided by what must be the best year for hardcore in ages. Both the Fucked Up and IceAge records are fabulous.

  3. One new band mentions some old band and then others check them out and do the same. Back in ’77 it was almost a crime NOT to have loved the Dolls, the Velvets or The Stooges.
    Thankfully, with Minor Threat, these young ‘uns have made a splendid choice: attitude, ethos, ethics and music. (“What happened to you? You’re not the same!”). All great. Next week they’ll be name-checking The Minutemen. Or Circle Jerks. Or Conflict. Maybe even The Membranes. All together now: “Hey! When the sun goes down, I’m in a seaside town…”


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