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Remember when you paid $5 to see that life-changing, all-ages show where Guy Picciotto hung upside down from a basketball hoop? Or when Ian MacKaye stretched out the insanity of “23 Beats Off” for just a few minutes more? It’s time to relive all those memories, folks…
In news that should make Phish jealous, The New York Times reported yesterday the long-brewing Fugazi live archive will finally on launch on Dec. 1. The site boasts a complete list of all 1,100-plus shows the band played, along with audio for 130 of them. That number should steadily climb as Dischord Records continues to upload the 800-plus board tapes the band compiled over the years. Each show is available for a suggested $5, but in the true spirit of the Internet, the site also offers a pay-what-you-want system, with a minimum cost of $1. For the serious fanatic, there’s a $500 all-access membership that will get you a download of every future addition to the site.
Dischord employees are still scanning and uploading a seemingly endless supply of posters and photos to post alongside each show, providing an impressively exhaustive document of the band’s career. The site is soliciting material from fans as well, in hopes of eventually closing all the gaps in content. The band provides ratings of audio quality of the shows, and an integrated commenting system should help fans guide each other toward the best recordings and offer them a chance to document their own recollections.
It’s possible all of this has to do with MacKaye’s need for more closet space—-he’s a well-known archivist of things related to his bands and his label. Nevertheless, the site is sure to stand as one of the largest digital repositories of a single band’s music. I’ll have more thoughts on this in a feature in Thursday’s paper.