Don’t call The Evens a side project. “It’s a band,” insists Ian MacKaye, the musician behind some of the most iconic projects in American punk and hardcore music: Minor Threat, Fugazi and founding Dischord Records. After over three decades in the business, the reluctant legend’s passion for music hasn’t waned a bit. “Music is holy,” MacKaye says. Over the years MacKaye has championed a DIY ethos. “I’ve become a poster child,” he says, “but I just did my work.”
MacKaye’s current band, The Evens, is a two-piece with his wife, Amy Farina. In 2013 The Evens released their third record, The Odds. “Musically speaking [The Evens] comes from the same place as anything I’ve ever done,” MacKaye says. While The Evens are somewhat subdued when compared to the larynx-shredding assault of MacKaye’s former bands, the basic ingredients remain: simple and aggressive songs delivered with passionate, tightly-coiled intensity and riddled with populist social commentary. “Need a job,” MacKaye sings on the track “Wanted Criminals.” “People need something to do / They’re getting angry.”
Partially inspiring The Evens is a desire to bring live rock ‘n’ roll beyond the confines of bars and dive-y rock clubs, as well as frustration with the big business of booking shows at typical venues. “What other art form is forced into bars?” MacKaye asks. “Music is constantly shoved into specific venues. All of these things are thoroughly prescribed. I can pretty much assure you nobody is playing the bicycle shop next Tuesday,” MacKaye quips before concluding, “Sorry if I’m talking too much. I’m just an old fucking punk rocker.”
The Evens play 8 pm Monday, Sept. 30, at Paper Moon Studios; $7.