At this point, the idea of a Fugazi reunion exists only in the realm of fake news and April Fool’s jokes (though, to be fair, Ian MacKaye says the legendary DC post-hardcore band never really broke up). So, this may be the next best thing.
Next month, Brooklyn-based theater company Object Collection will stage “It’s All True,” an experimental production based on hundreds of hours of live Fugazi recordings. Needless to say, this won’t be to Fugazi what “American Idiot” was to Green Day. The “opera-in-suspension” dramatizes just the group’s between-song filler, complete with half-spoken, half-sung stage banter and noodling recreated by a live band. Even Fugazi’s minds were blown when they watched a video of an initial rehearsal, according to band member Guy Picciotto.
“To take our interstitial, between song non-music and notate it with exacting detail was one aspect that utterly stupefied us and appealed to our sense of perversity,” Picciotto wrote of Travis Just’s arrangements. “We were impressed not just by the sheer cussedness of the work involved in scoring all that haphazardness but also because a lot of that seemingly aimless doodling is to our ears almost as much of a unique fingerprint as the songs themselves.”
That aimless doodling is no doubt faithfully recreated by Dither, a local guitar quartet known for its exacting covers of challenging composers like John Zorn and Steve Reich.
Picciotto’s statement goes on to address Kara Feely’s adaptation of Fugazi’s stage banter: “As for the text – a stitched quilt composed of our off-the-cuff stage raps (many of which utterly defy my memory and some which are as freshly present in my brain as yesterday) – to hear it delivered by these actors in a novel form of almost distanced hysteria at first really confused me.” But Picciotto eventually came to appreciate the project’s “distillation of weird social history and politics.”
Apparently the piece was born from a joke, and there was a mixed reaction to its 2016 world premiere in Norway, with the Guardian’s reviewer calling it a “thrilling ordeal.” Play the excerpt above and you’ll see what he means.