“The Believer” Music Issue: Can We Please Ask Ian MacKaye Some New Questions Already?

Michaelangelo Matos / July 14, 2008

mackaye.jpgI’ve read two Q&A’s in The Believer’s 2008 Music Issue (there are three). One was illuminating, one less so. One of the issue’s two Andy Beta pieces is a ripping Q&A with Sun City Girl/Sublime Frequencies co-founder Alan Bishop (there’s more on Beta’s blog as well). While I’m not fond of the “schema” format in which Beta jokingly lays out his unsuccessful attempts to find Molam music in Laos, the Bishop interview crackles: lots of clearheaded talk about the motivations behind Sublime Frequencies: Bishop is punk as fuck, right, whatever, but he’s also someone who thinks through ethical questions even if you disagree with his answers. If only the other Q&A I read had the same kind of thrust.

You have to work hard not to get a decent interview from Ian McKaye, but the one in this issue is surprisingly and disappointingly one-note: all about Dischord’s ethics, just like every other Q&A with Ian McKaye you’ll likely read this year and decade and century. I don’t blame Alex V. Cook for asking the questions he did, but I wish there had been more dimension–maybe some of that got cut out from the manuscript. Still, will someone interview this guy about music, please? Songwriting? All that fallback shit you trot out when the new album sucks but you need a few hundred words to fill the space? I bet he’s got a huge record collection. I bet he knows shit about doo-wop that would blow your mind. I bet he can name all of Miles Davis’s bands from the ’50s to the ’70s. I bet he’s read more about rock history than most of us have. I bet he’s a pretty interesting thinker about subjects you wouldn’t expect. Somebody should really find out–and if someone has, please link it in the comments.

The Believer: July/August 2008 [The Believer]