Nardwuar vs Ian MacKaye of Fugazi  
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Was Rollins the hardest dancer in DC?
I don't think there's any sort of meter for that sort of thing. I couldn't tell you.

Or one of the wilder ones? Because you mentioned one of those guys at "Saturday Night Live." Who are some of the ones that were some of the more adventuresome dancers, Ian?
We all had our own styles. The thing about DC kids is that we actually danced. There was this whole thing that kinda came up later on which was called, whatever it was called. But we never did...The slam dancing thing was kind of a media invention. We actually had like somewhat of a choreography in our dancing, we felt like. We were also tough, though. It was an era where there was a lot of fighting going on. That was part of that era. When punk was new, it caused a lot of friction and I think that a lot of kids who were involved with it fell prey to the more aggressive elements to society. So kids fought back. And then that language became a little bit too deeply engrained in the community and then the violence itself became a problem and that needed to be eradicated.

Have you been in the slam pit at all?
In my life?

Yeah, recently.

I thought in Brazil, you jumped in the giant circle pit.
Ahh. That was 1994. That was actually at the Belo Horizonte Festival in Brazil. It was a giant, free festival. It was the first independent festival that they'd ever done. It was in a parking lot of a train station. There were about 4,000 people there. The stage was about twenty-six feet high. It was a totally absurd situation. But between the bands, over the PA they would play bands like Sepultura. They love grindcore, metal kind of stuff and when they would play these bands, they'd play these insane - five or six hundred people circle - would develop. And Guy and I were watching this. We were incredulous. This seemed impossible that this many people were dancing. It was a huge, huge circle pit thing and Guy said, "I'll give you a buck if you go for that." I just did the whole, one circulation. It was incredible, actually. I was laughing so hard. It was totally enjoyable. Those kids were not slamming, per se. There were no punches being thrown. Just dancing in a giant circle.

Fugazi Amp!

At Haagen Dazs, working there with Henry Rollins, did you guys once put out rat poisoning as a topping?
That is true. But we obviously didn't serve it. We just thought it was funny because it was pink and colorful. And nobody ever asked for it. I don't think we would have put it out for too long, but I think the idea was that it looked so humorous among the jimmies, the sprinkles, the coconut, the raisins, then you have this pink confection.

Did you and Henry also give a rat a mohawk?
Henry. That was his rat, Spike.

Did he give it a mohawk?
I didn't. Actually, it wasn't a mohawk. It was a stripe. It wasn't a haircut. It was a hair dye. He put a black stripe down his back.

And what's this about it being in the freezer and melting on Jello Biafra, Ian?
Well, when the rat died - the rat was gotten, Henry worked at NIH, which was the National Institute of Health, and his job at the time when he was a teenager was he had to deal with, basically, gassing rats, which were experiment rats so they would just do these experiments with four hundred rats and he would take the rats in a garbage bag and then gas them and kill them all so he decided to liberate one of the rats, which was Spike, but whatever test they were doing on this rat ended up developing some very bizarre tumor and then the rat died. And Henry, instead of getting rid of the rat or burying the rat or whatever, he actually made a little milk carton coffin for it and put it into the freezer. The part of him melting onto Biafra, I don't know. You'll have to ask Biafra about that.

When Henry Rollins quit Black Flag, did his hair end up on the wall of the Dischord office?
No. You're getting different stories mixed up.

Please correct me, Ian.
On the wall in the office was a mirror that Henry had smashed with his head and we had pieces of this mirror with blood all over it and it was on a piece of cardboard that said, "Mirror that Henry schlonged his head on, plus blood." There was a bag of hair that belonged to me, but I got rid of it because it was disgusting after awhile.

Has Henry every offered you, Ian, to get you into show biz or get you any acting parts or anything like that?


Because I've seen Minor Threat pop up there a tiny bit there in "SLC Punk." There's a little bit of Minor Threat in that movie.
Yeah. Henry had nothing to do with that, though.

How about yourself, though? Have you ever listened to the Jim Rome sports show?
No. I know what it is. They play our music.

Yeah. I thought that was pretty cool. Jim Rome.
Jim Rome.

Jim Rome, the sportscaster.
The Washington Redskins football team, last year, apparently, during the third down they would play "Waiting Room" in the stadium. I didn't hear it myself, I was told that by many people, though.

So that's what's probably influenced Limp Bizkit then, eh?
Perhaps. I don't know what to make of this Limp Bizkit thing. [There is a rumour floating that Limp Bizkit is going to cover Fugazi's "Waiting Room"] I don't know what to make of that.

Ian, what do you think of that Poison Idea record, where it's "[makes throat slitting sound] Ian MacKaye"?
I don't think that's what it's called. I think it's just called "Ian MacKaye" and the cover is a big, spread asshole. I think you're getting two different records mixed up again. But, what do I think about it? Um, huh. It hurts my feelings, but I don't really care.

Had you known those guys or done any gigs with them?
I don't know them, but their point of view - and a lot of people who assail my name or image or whatever - their point of view is that "There are people that consider him a god, so we're just trying to show he's just a human." But my position is that you don't throw rocks at human beings. So if you're going to be cruel to me, then you're making me into something that's apparently larger than life. If they're going to be ugly about my name or ugly about me, then all they're doing is reinforcing the idea that I'm not a human being, that I am some weird god. I'm comfortable with myself being a human being. I don't know why they have to waste their time writing about me. But that's twelve years ago, or eleven years ago. Let's get topical here.

Well, how about your pockets? Do you carry five dollar bills in your pockets in case you have to kick somebody out and give them their money back?
No, I don't. But if I need to escort somebody out of the room and give them their money back, I'm sure I can borrow the money from somebody in the room, but I wouldn't carry it in my pocket. I have done so in the past, but we don't have that many problems any more. We don't really have to ask many people to leave. You'd be surprised, though, if you just give one person's money back, how much enjoyable an evening can be. Because usually it's just one or two people that are causing most of the problems.

Have you ever planted anybody in the audience, just for a joke, and pretended to kick them out, just for fun?

Ian MacKaye of Fugazi, how about stuff that's been chucked at you? What kind of stuff's been chucked at you when you guys have been up on stage?
It's been quite a while. Recently, actually, on our last tour, we had three nights in a row where people threw beer on stage. Huge, full glasses of beer. Generally speaking, people don't usually throw that much stuff. I guess we have a t-shirt now and then. Last night [in Victoria, BC], someone threw a spiked wrist band and - oh - an Indian necklace. It wasn't chucked at us. It was just dropped on the floor and tossed up on stage. And, oh, in Kelowna, BC, people were in the front row with their fingers in their ears so we gave them some ear plugs and about a song or two later, some ear plugs came on stage.

Fugazi amp!

Did Allison of Bratmobile inadvertently chuck a tampon at you guys?
You'll have to ask Allison about that.

Do you remember the story at all or perhaps what I'm alluding to?
Oh yeah, but you'll still have to ask Allison about that.

Well, what's your take on that story, Ian?
My take is that you'll have to ask Allison about that.

How about your take on this story: Calvin Johnson, glass ashtray.
I didn't throw it.

What happened there? It's kind of dangerous if you open for Fugazi, isn't it?

Wasn't it for Beat Happening that night? Calvin got a glass ashtray in his forehead or something like that?
It was 1991. Is it dangerous to open for Fugazi now? No, it's not. In 1991, we were playing Los Angeles. It was a different time and people there were very aggressive and when they were playing, someone threw an ashtray. It was not glass, however, but it was hard enough to split his nose open, but he didn't miss a beat because he immediately said, and you may actually get the reference, "Somebody broke my nose. Dump the whole balcony," which is a reference. Do you know the reference?

[head shake]
Oh, I'm so disappointed in you, Nardwuar.

Help me Ian, help me. Teach me, Ian.
It's a Germs live album where Darby says, "Somebody broke my nose. Dump the whole balcony." So, in other words, somebody broke his nose and he immediately quotes Darby, who is, of course a quintessential LA punk rock guy. I think that was Beat Happening's first punk rock experience. They'd played smaller shows, but I don't think they'd ever been in front of something like that. The crowds have been - they've gone through quite a cycle. I've been involved with music for twenty-one years now, so I've seen this scene go through all sorts of weird conniptions and that particular era was weird. When we first started playing, the music we played was so bizarre. That's what I find so funny, people talking about our old record being so classic, but when we first started playing "Waiting Room," at that time, contextually, with the music that was being played, people thought, "What is this weird, reggae crap?" They hated that song. They hated that song. So that goes to show that there's always room for growth and change and if you don't take advantage of that, you're just going to keep beating on the same drum.

Ian, how about some crazy stuff from doing your own gigs and doing your own stuff, like a stage collapsing on you in Phoenix and helicopters overhead? Do you remember that? Didn't you go through the stage?
Yeah, I fell through the stage. It was a water-logged stage. I was jumping up and down and it went up to my knees and actually managed to cut my shins fairly severely, but meanwhile the police helicopter going around with a spotlight on us and skinhead kids rioting out in the street there.

Ian, do you still have your bass from The Teen Idles?

When the Teen Idles flew out to LA to do a gig, did you play with The Mentors?
We took a Greyhound bus out to LA. We didn't fly.

Sorry, I correct myself.
I'm so disappointed with you. We played at the Hong Kong Café with Vox Pop, who ended up being 45 Grave, The Mentors, and a band called Puke, Spit, and Guts. We borrowed Vox Pop's bass amp. We borrowed Paul Cutler's bass. We actually took this Greyhound bus out there carrying a guitar, a bass, and a pair of drum sticks. We just assumed we'd be able to borrow equipment. We did, actually, end up borrowing equipment, but they were not pleased about it and we were paid for that gig.

Fifteen dollars.
That's absolutely right.

And eleven dollars in San Francisco.
That's correct. At the Mabuhay Gardens. You know who we played with? We played with The Wrong Brothers there. That's new wave. The Wrong Brothers, instead of The Wright Brothers, you see?

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