BANDWIDTH.FM: Any dead-serious subculture becomes ripe for satire at some point, and if the success of The Hard Times is any indication, hardcore punk was long overdue for derision. And the punks themselves, it seems, craved it more than they realized. In a little more than a year, the website — with its insider jokes about scene clichés, browbeating frontmen, mosh pit faux pas, austere lifestyles and so on — has become a hit, racking up pageviews and earning guffaws from people who instantly find humor in headlines like “Ted Nugent Begrudgingly Inducted Into Straight Edge Hall of Fame” or “Henry Rollins Driving App Tells You How Hard It Would Have Been to Get There in the ’80s.”
Gags like those, of course, would be impossible without the nearly four-decade legacy of D.C.’s hardcore scene. A dive into The Hard Times’ archives reveals that the site, based in California’s Bay Area, owes a debt to ideas and trends that can be traced to the Washington region. Founder and editor-in-chief Matt Saincome freely acknowledges that debt. One of his first pieces for the site was “Ian MacKaye Prepares For Another Long Day of Documentary Interviews,” which skewers the Dischord Records co-founder’s status as a punk figurehead and an accomplished conversationalist. It was an early sign that the Fugazi and Minor Threat frontman — and progenitor of straight-edge culture — was hardly off-limits.
“The truth is, I’m a really, really big Ian MacKaye fan, and the reason why I wrote that story is because I was seeking out and watching so many punk documentaries… and Ian MacKaye was popping up in all of them,” Saincome says. “I love Ian MacKaye interviews. My Ian MacKaye interview was a highlight of my life. He sent me postcards afterward — I still have them on my wall. But I do think it’s funny how often he pops up [in documentaries].” MORE
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