Stuff We Sell

Teen Idles

(Summer 1979 - Winter 1980)

Nathan Strejcek - vocals
Geordie Grindle - guitar
Ian MacKaye - bass
Jeff Nelson - drums
Teen Idles

This was the band that started Dischord Records. Punk Rock slipped in the back doors of Washington D.C.'s Woodrow Wilson High School in the late 1970s and four of the students, Ian MacKaye, Jeff Nelson, Geordie Grindle and Mark Sullivan formed a band called The Slinkees in the spring of 1979.

The Slinkees played only one show before the singer, Mark Sullivan, went off to college. The band then asked Nathan Strejcek to take over the vocals. It was this line-up that became The Teen Idles. The band became friends with another local band called the Bad Brains, who may well have been the greatest band in the world in 1980. The Bad Brains didn't take "No" for an answer, and this was pure inspiration to the younger D.C. punks.
Some of the members of The Teen Idles, and many of their fans, were under 18 and unable to see bands that played at many of the local bars. This led them to search out alternative spaces to play as well as confront the clubs that enforced age-limits. These confrontations along with the energy of the shows got the band, to their delight, kicked out of a number of clubs. That summer, The Teen Idles and their roadies (Mark who was home from college, and Henry Garfield, "the fifth Idle," later to become Henry Rollins) took a Greyhound bus to California for two shows. It was at the Mabuhay Gardens club in San Francisco that they first came across the "X" on the hands of underage concert-goers and the band brought this idea back to D.C. to use as a tactic to get clubs to let kids into the shows.

When the band broke up, the members used the band's savings ($600) to document their music by releasing an eight-song 7". This was the first Dischord release.

Photo: Lucian Perkins