Shopping For Records: Fugazi's First Demo

It was announced months ago that Dischord Recors would be releasing Fugazi's First Demo, the earliest recordings of tracks that would later comprise the band's eponymous debut EP, the 3 Songs EP and Repeater.  Though never officially released, most of these tracks were recorded onto cassette and distributed at shows.  First Demo will include "Turn Off Your Guns," which had been left off the original cassette.

(Cover photo by Andy Perseponko)

Dischord has been issuing a lot of demo releases over the last few years, having issued S.O.A.'s First Demo 12/29/80 earlier this year, Rites Of Spring's Six Song Demo in 2012, Faith's Subject To Change plus First Demo and Void's Sessions 1981-83 which were both released in 2011 and Complete Session, Nov '81 by Artificial PeaceMinor Threat's First Demo Tape was released in 2003.  With this kind of legacy, there's obviously a wealth of unreleased material to delve into and put out there.  For me, I think I'm most excited to see the name "Fugazi" applied to a new release, even if it is old material.

First Demo will be released November 18th.  All info comes courtesy of Rarely Unable.  


In early January 1988 and after only ten shows, Fugazi decided to go into Inner Ear Studio to see what their music sounded like on tape. Despite the fact that Ian, Joe, and Brendan had been playing together for nearly a year, it was still early days for the band. Guy had only been a full member of Fugazi for a few months and only sang lead on one song ("Break-In."). It would be nearly another year before he would start playing guitar with the band.

At that time, the studio was still located in the basement of engineer Don Zientara's family house. It was a familiar space as almost all of the members of Fugazi had recorded there with their previous bands (Teen Idles, Minor Threat, Deadline, Insurrection, Rites of Spring, Skewbald, Embrace, and One Last Wish). Joey Picuri (aka Joey P), who would later become one of Fugazi's longtime sound engineers, joined the band for the initial tracking. The sessions only lasted a couple of days, but tour dates and indecision about the tape would delay the final mix for another two months. Though the band was at first pleased with the results, it soon became clear that this tape would remain a demo as new songs were being written and the older songs were evolving and changing shape while the band was out on tour. It was decided that the session would be passed out free as cassette copies, with the band actively encouraging people to share the recording. In the spring, Fugazi went out on its first U.S. tour and a few weeks after returning from the road they went back to Inner Ear to record what would become their debut Dischord release, the self-titled 7-song 12" EP.

The only song from the demo session that was formally released was "In Defense of Humans", which appeared on the
State of the Union compilation in 1989. Now, some 26 years later, Dischord is releasing the entire first demo including the one song ("Turn Off Your Guns") that wasn't included on the original cassette.

This release also coincides with the completion of the initial round of uploads to the Fugazi Live Series website. Launched in 2011, the site lists and details all of Fugazi's 1000+ performances and makes available close to 900 concert recordings that were documented by the band and by the public, as well as countless flyers, ticket stubs, posters, and photographs. After two years of work, all of the recordings in the band's archive are finally posted.

Read an interview with Fugazi conducted shortly after the recording session by Andy Perseponko of Desperate State here.

1) Waiting Room
2) Merchandise
3) Furniture
4) Song #1
5) The Word
6) Bad Mouth
7) Break-In
8) Turn Off Your Guns
9) And the Same
10) In Defense of Humans
11) Joe #1 

Letters From A Tapehead


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