When Minor Threat folded most people would have thought ‘well that’s the end of that then’. Most great bands do not reincarnate in a better guise – then again, Fugazi aren’t most bands.
With a low price point and low-key vibe the band did things their own way and deserve all the credit they thankfully do actually get. Distributed by Dischord these records never found their way into Woolworths due to the way the music industry worked pre-Internet.
The first four Fugazi releases are essential records. I was lucky to catch the band from the off and they are responsible for some of the best live performances I have ever seen.
In November, 1988, the band released their 1st E.P. simply called ‘Fugazi’. Needing no bedding in period Fugazi were great from the off.
Waiting Room is often cited as the bands finest song. I disagree and can never see past ‘Blueprint’ as the bands best ever song. Bass heavy and almost ‘dubby’ the song attracted ‘Ruts’ comparisons that I have never totally understood. It is a mighty fine song.
Bulldog Front with its softer approach builds and serves to show the dynamics Fugazi had even at a very early stage. The contrast between Guy Picciotto and Ian MacKaye sees the song charge with real organic power.
Bad Mouth builds and builds before holding off and building with yet more power. Lyrically the “there’s no movement” line did not reflect the most chaotically brilliant live shows that accompanied the E.P.’s release. A stormer of a song.
Burning is a slow burner. Fugazi would build tension at gigs with charging music – the like of which I have heard few other bands ever muster.
Give Me The Cure was the showstopper at Fugazi gigs pre ‘Blueprint’ – it is almost as good – and one of the greatest post hardcore songs ever recorded. The rattle and charge continually racks up and up. The vocal duties split and the song explodes the pent-up tension the E.P. so far has provided. It’s a stone cold classic. Listen to it loud. It has not aged one jot.
Suggestion tackles a brave subject well. Post hardcore, near reggae the song tackles rape, fear and freedom. That is a heady mix but Fugazi were in a unique position to pull this off (which they do) and make you think at the same time. The song makes you feel shameful without preaching. Closely examining attitudes towards women in achieve as its sombre last notes play out. In an era when ‘macho-rock’ was on the rise this was a very welcome and well delivered antidote.
Glue Man closes the Fugazi E.P. with ghosty echoes of the sounds and themes the E.P has touched upon. Vocals are there, they become indecipherable and feedback takes over.
The E.P. saw the start of a band that really could have been all conquering. Despite the ‘Indie Label’ they have sold very well and, although these days I seldom listen to them, when I do I am reminded of just what a great band they were every single time and kick myself for not listening to them more…