TS: Are you thinking about releasing a MINOR THREAT video?
IAN: [laughter] Well, there's a live video of us that I think is pretty good, and Jeff has wanted to release it for a long, long time. It's been ready for release for quite a while, but Jeff has been working on artwork, and he's trying to make a nice booklet to go in it with pictures and lyrics. He's been really, really busy with school, and it's just taking him a really long time to get it done. We were hoping to get it done by Christmas this year, but as you can see, it didn't happen. Hopefully, it will be out in the early spring, which kind of sucks because, definitely, we've been planning for it to be out for the last six months. We just haven't been able to get it out yet.
TS: Do you ever find yourself wanting to drop it all and get a "normal" job?
IAN: Of course! But only because that's not what I'm doing. If I was doing that, I'd thing, "Gee, I'd love to have the label back." Have you thought, "Gee, what if I didn't go to school in Baltimore?" Of course I'll think about it. I always think about everything, I'm always wondering about, like, "What if I decided not to sing in the band and just play guitar?" or whatever, I always think about "what ifs." I think I'll have plenty of opportunity not to have Dischord in the future. I know Dischord will not be a forever thing. But having it has been totally great.
[Mark Sullivan of KINGFACE stops in to say goodbye before he leaves for dinner at his grandmother's house.]
MARK SULLIVAN: I know that this is Ian's interview, but for the record, I'd like to say that Christmas is a little pain in the ass. It's nice that everyone gets to come home and be together and the family thing is OK, but this gift thing…
IAN: Consumer borgeois bullshit.
MARK: Because I have to think of something for my grandmother to get me, otherwise, she'll be sad.
[laughter, non-stop, as Mark departs]
IAN: Anyway, having Dischord has totally been great, and to meet as many people as I have met, and to be as involved with many great people and as many good movements and good things that are happening. And it's given me… Shit, man. Look at me. What have I done? I've never gone to school. But I've learned a million things. School isn't the only place you can learn things. I never thought I'd go to school, so it kind of works itself out. Certainly, I'm a failure in some senses, I guess to people who attach some sort of importance to wealth and success. To them, I'm a failure. But I don't give a fuck. I'm happy. To me, there are two ways you can look at life. You can say, "Jeez! I need to have more money to live. I'm poor! I'm poor!" and be bummed. Or you can be at the same level and say, "I don't need all of this luxury stuff, and I'll just cut corners and be happy." I don't spend that much money. I live cheaply. The ways that I can do that are not going out and buying things, being a good consumer, not worrying about fashion, not purchasing new clothes all of the time or paying a lot of money for a leather jacket or something like that. You can avoid it by what you eat. You know, first off, I don't ever go to a fast-food place. It's obviously a rip-off. And to top that, being a vegetarian, you're in a situation where you spend even less money. I spend no money. Food is cheap, and the simpler that you make your life, the less expensive it is. It's no problem. You get more enjoyment out of smaller things. It works itself out. But if you need to live a grandiose life, if you need to have a VCR, a CD player, if you have to go out to have a good time… I mean, alcohol costs a hell of a lot of money. Like [Jello] Biafra [of the DEAD KENNEDYS] once said, "People always question why I have so many records. It's because I didn't spend all of my money on drugs." It's a fair point. And since I don't spend my money on anything, I'm fine. It'll be OK for a while. It's a simpler approach to life. It's not one that's too popular in the 80s though. People are very possession-oriented now. They tend to be very success-bound. It's so important to be rich, but it will do you no good, if people hate you.
TS: I guess this could bring us back to the whole "selling-out" thing. A lot of bands have changed their sounds and their message to make them more mainstream. Do you think that they're compromising their ideals?
IAN: I don't know if they're compromising their ideals. Maybe that's just what they want to do. I mean, everyone compromises their principles. Anytime you're in a band with more than one person you have to compromise your principles to some degree. You can't do things exactly as you want to do it. As soon as you want to play a club, for instance, you compromise your principles to some degree. Look at me. I find the alcohol industry to be a really horrible, horrible thing, and yet I find myself playing at functions where alcohol is not only served, but is sometimes the basis for the venue! The club itself is centered on the sale of alcohol. So, in my own little way, I guess I'm promoting it. That's a drag. That's a compromise, but I weigh it against the fact that I don't play shows that aren't all ages, no matter what. But when I speak out, hopefully it makes people think. And maybe by reaching these people we can move it out of that arena and into one where you don't have to have the alcohol present at all times. That's an example of a compromise. It's a compromise that I understand and accept. And as long as all humans are admitted to the place, I'll play it. It's got to be a cheap door price too, to make it accessible to the kids.
TS: What do your parents think about the path you've chosen?
IAN: They think it's great.
TS: Are they supportive?
IAN: Sure. As a matter of fact, I spent the evening with them last night. I see them all the time. That's one of the advantages of getting your mail at your mom's house. They're very supportive. They dig it.