Sunday, May 12, 2013

Fugazi Frontman Speaks at Library of Congress

Ian MacKaye, co-founder and frontman of legendary punk bands Fugazi and Minor Threat, spoke at the Library of Congress last week. On Tuesday, May 7, MacKaye stood in the Montpelier Room of the library's James Madison Memorial Building to talk about digital archiving - particularly as it pertains to the Fugazi Live Series.

Ian MacKaye, in the office of Dischord Records, based in Washington, D.C.
Image via

In 2004, MacKaye started the Fugazi Live Series. The series is a branch of Dischord Records, the independent record label that MacKaye co-founded in 1980. The goal of the series is to make the 800-plus recordings of Fugazi's live shows available in digital archive form to fans of the band. That's fifteen years of concerts that would be accessible on the Internet. Each concert can be downloaded for just $5.

Digitizing more than 1,300 hours of tape for the Fugazi Live Series is quite an undertaking for MacKaye and his staff at Dischord Records. He talked about the project Tuesday evening at the Library of Congress. "This is an insane project," he said. "It involves the digitization of all of the cassettes. Then, those files are mastered and edited, so they're individual songs. It's a crazy job. And honestly, the amount of money we put into it - not counting the hours - it's not making any money. But somewhere down the road, some kid very much like me will be interested in what was happening during this time."

In addition to converting hours of concert recordings from analog to digital format, MacKaye and the people at Dischord Records are scanning live photos, flyers, and posters of Fugazi for the online archive. They are also accepting submissions for the Fugazi Live Series from fans. Fans who have high-quality live recordings, photos, flyers, and posters of the band and wish to submit them to the site should email the staff of Dischord Records at for more information. Note that they "can not keep track of unsolicited material, so please do not send original prints or digital files" or "audio files, CDs, or cassettes without first getting the go-ahead. Thanks!"

"This has been such an incredible project," he said, "because I've been sitting on these tapes for so long, and I think, 'Finally, here, everybody else can have it.'"

Ian MacKaye's appearance on Tuesday was sponsored by the Library of Congress' National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program. The event was free and open to the public.

For more on MacKaye's talk at the Library of Congress, go HERE and HERE.

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