Ian MacKaye: ”I probably should have been a horn player. I always hear horns, melodic lines, and try them with guitar”

Ian MacKaye
Ian MacKaye performs with Fugazi at the Hollywood Palladium April 25, 1993 (Image credit: Lindsay Brice/Getty Images)

Punk pioneer Ian MacKaye’s proudest guitar moments say a lot about his philosophy and aesthetic for the instrument. 

Deep in the runtime of Instrument, the 1999 documentary about his legendary post-hardcore band Fugazi, MacKaye stands in front of his Marshall JCM 800 half-stack, conjuring caterwauling feedback from his alpine white Gibson SG during the breakdown of Promises, the closing song on 1989’s landmark 13 Songs [Dischord]. 

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Jim Beaugez

Jim Beaugez has written about music for Rolling Stone, Smithsonian, Guitar World, Guitar Player and many other publications. He created My Life in Five Riffs, a multimedia documentary series for Guitar Player that traces contemporary artists back to their sources of inspiration, and previously spent a decade in the musical instruments industry.