POSTSCRIPT, THE ON AND ON...
It didn’t occur to me that this further note would have to be added to the Dischord history, but our work continues and the redesign of our website has prompted this extended postscript. As it happens, plenty has transpired in the last seven years and the label continues with the mission.
Shortly after finishing up the original history in 1999, there was another bloom of creativity in the DC music underground and Dischord released records by Faraquet, The Capitol City Dusters, Q and Not U, El Guapo, and Black Eyes. The idea of documenting a musical community generally manifested itself in the release of records by bands that featured members of previous Dischord bands (for instance, Faraquet and The Capitol City Dusters had members who had been in Smart Went Crazy and Severin respectively), but for the first time we encountered DC bands that were made up of people who had grown up listening to our records.
One aspect of our ‘mission statement’ that I had taken some solace in over the years was the idea that the Dischord’s attachment to a specific community would create a de-facto ‘term limit’. What I mean by this is that since communities are living things, they also eventually die, and I figured that the DC music scene that we were connected to would eventually close up shop, and then the label would as well. It was never our intention to run a record label for a quarter of a century (December 2005 marked our 25th anniversary). As the musicians from the early bands grew older and stopped playing in bands, it seemed certain that the day would come when we were finished, however we did not take into account the fact that DC-area kids would grow up listening to our music and form bands. Surely they should considered ‘community’, and so we continue.
Q and Not U, El Guapo, and Black Eyes all came to Dischord in this light. For a few years in the beginning of this century there was a thriving musical conversation brewing in town and it was extremely exciting to see these bands push and pull sounds into new areas.
Fugazi released The Argument in 2001 and did some limited touring in 2002. By the end of the year it became clear that circumstances in the lives of the members had made it increasingly difficult for the band to operate, and so it was decided that the band would go on an indefinite hiatus. The decision would have a serious impact on the label given that Fugazi was by far the biggest active band on Dischord.
2002 also saw the departure of two of Dischord’s senior figures, Amy Pickering and Cynthia Connolly, each of whom had worked with the label for twenty-some years. For an operation that has stayed foundationally constant for so long, this was a challenging time, but the music continued to be made and so did the records.
New bands appeared ( Beauty Pill, French Toast, The Evens, and Antelope) and the crop of 2000 made follow-up records. We finally managed to get the 20 Years of Dischord Boxset finished up (almost two years late) and released in October. The boxset features one song from every band that released records on the label to underscore our gratitude to all of these bands and people for entrusting us with their music. Another objective for the boxset was to mark the passing of two decades in hopes of pointing out that it was possible for businesses to operate in unorthodox and idealistic ways and still function and thrive. Over the years a number of people have told us that the way we manage our business is unrealistic and unsustainable, so the boxset begs the question: Are we real yet?
In 2004 my mother, Ginger MacKaye, died. She had been receiving and separating out the Dischord mail from the MacKaye mail since the beginning of the label as well as greeting the steady stream of visitors who made their way to the Beecher Street address in search of Dischord House. She was an ardent supporter of the label and her ‘open door’ policy was central to the inclusiveness that we have attempted over the years, despite the chatter that claims otherwise.