Last night, the Brooks Museum hosted punk rock pioneer Ian MacKaye for a spirited Q & A session co-sponsored by the Memphis Music Foundation.
The nearly sold-out event saw MacKaye, founder of the vastly influential underground bands Minor Threat and Fugazi, as well as the fiercely independent Dischord Records label, answer audience questions for nearly two solid hours on a myriad of topics; from songwriting method, to collaborating with Ministry's Al Jourgensen, the straight-edge movement, veganism, and other points in-between, with lots of crowd-pleasing rock & roll anecdotes tossed in along the way.
MacKaye was most animated when speaking generally about the power of and passion behind music itself. Here are a few of his more salient talking points:
"The music has never stopped coming out of me. To explain my process would be a gift to me, because then I could go write a great song. The effortlessness of it makes it a strong form of a communication."
"To me, music is sacred. It's a form of communication that pre-dates language, a point of gathering that brings people together. I hope that everyone has that kind of a relationship with something."
"Skateboarding helped re-define the world to me in terms of what was possible. It was good practice for punk rock in that regard. When punk came along, I thought, 'now this I can do!' It was truly free and liberating."
"Music kicked my ass - I only intended to return the favor."
"The most important bands are the ones playing now. Bands from the past have influence, of course, but today's bands actually have the power to affect real change."