Thursday, September 6, 2012

Song of the Week: Minor Threat - Betray

Damn! Did you blink? I mean back in '83. Back then, did you blink? Then you may have missed what happened back then. Washington, DC's Minor Threat put out their one and only album. And it was a real gem. Sure, they had an EP that preceded it and one brilliant single that followed, but that was it. They disbanded. Gone. Where the Fugazi they went, I don't know. 

I was working at a record store called Barney's Records in Davis, California. Just a wee teen, a sophomore in High School, I was. Each employee was asked by management (read: Dave Webb) to create a top 5 albums of the year list. Minor Threat's lone output, Out Of Step, topped my list of Best Albums that year. It bested REM's Murmur and even the Violent Femmes' self titled debut. I'm not sure I would rank them like I did back then, but, you know, hindsight and all. Back to Out Of Step. The rawness, the power, the ability to go 1000 miles an hour and still retain a melody, the sincerity and earnestness of the lyrics and the musical performances hit me hard. It still does. And it scares the heck out of my kids as we drive down the streets blaring this album at ungodly volumes. 

The opening salvo on that album is today's SoTW. The song is Betray and it tells the story of a friendship gone wrong. Two close friends who went their separate ways. The gossip of the day was that the song was aimed at Henry Rollins who left Washington, DC, left his job at an ice cream store (at which he worked with Minor Threat frontman, Ian Mackaye) and headed off to be frontman of California's Black Flag. (By the way, I believe that is Mr. Henry Rollins skanking with the band in the picture below.) I don't really know if Betray was aimed at Rollins or not. Regardless of who the muse was, Betray beautifully demonstrates Minor Threat's musical ability. A punk song with a real chorus and even a time/tempo change at 2:01. Sit back and enjoy the run. 

For you 60's garage fans, seek out Minor Threat's covers of The Standells' Sometime Good Guys Don't Wear White and their excellent, excellent, excellent version of The Monkees' Stepping Stone

Thee End!


  1. It was a haagen dasz on M street in Georgetown. Your take on the song is not too far off, btw. I should know, I was there. :)

  2. Is this you?

  3. It is. Do you have it?

  4. I don't. It's on the wish list now.