There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
In 1980, punk rock was simmering in D.C. A harDCore band called the Teen Idles had saved enough money from playing shows to put out a record. With the help of a friend, Skip Groff, this group of unruly teens released Dischord No. 1, a self-titled single. Unfortunately, the band broke up before the record came out. In the meantime though, punk had boiled over, and bands were popping up all over town.
Teen Idles drummer Jeff Nelson and bassist Ian MacKaye then took over the reins of Dischord. The label became what Nelson referred to as a “momentary device” to put out records by their friends’ bands. The Teen Idles’ single was followed by 7-inches by SOA, Government Issue, Iron Cross, and Minor Threat. The label was growing up fast.
This month Dischord marks an obligatory milestone with its 100th release. Other indies mark such events with oversize, tail-wagging compilations. But that’s not Dischord’s style.
Dischord No. 100 is a single by the band that kick-started it all. The Teen Idles’ record includes six songs and is aptly titled The Anniversary 7″. Two songs are unreleased, while four are demos of previously released songs.
Dischord shows no sign of slowing. No. 101 and No. 102 have already been released; No. 103, a CD compilation of all the material by Fire Party, and No. 104, the newest by Trusty, are coming out this month. In 1980, Nelson, MacKaye, and the Teen Idles weren’t too young to rock. In 1996, they’re proving that they’re hardly too old.Mark Murrmann