Teen Idles
Minor Disturbance
Dischord Records #1
December 1980

From Dance of Days:

It seemed like another typical roots-rock night at the Psychedelly. The main attraction, ’50s-style rocker Billy Hancock, would be on later. But now an extremely young-looking band was setting up onstage, having great difficulty with its equipment. Finally, the lead singer, a thin figure dressed in pink pajamas and a black leather jacket, strode up to the mic and gravely mumbled:

You broke my heart
’cause I couldn’t dance
You didn’t even want me around
But now I’m back lo let you know
I can really shake it down
Do you love me?

Then punk hell broke loose. Guitar, bass, and drums began clamoring at deafening levels in three different keys and in three shifting tempos. The vocalist gave up all pretense of singing and began screaming hoarsely and spinning around the stage like a top. By the time the Contours’ 1962 hit had been bludgeoned to death, the audience had split into two camps. The outnumbered group’s fans rushed forward to the foot of the stage. The rest of the audience pulled back in dumb horror.

The Teen ldles had arrived, reveling in their ability to simultaneously inspire and shock in the best punk tradition. The chaos described above was captured by Unicorn Times writer Monica Regan, who was present at the band’s first, and only, Psychedelly show in April 1980.

“The Teen ldles are a band of teenagers too young to be drafted, too musically amateurish to care about making bucks, and perhaps too exuberant and energetic for a DC rock scene dominated by pros” she wrote. “That night at the Psychedelly, the Teen Idles, fueled only by quarts of grape and orange soda they knocked back before the show, ripped furiously through their set. Later, in a scene repeated more than once in its brief career, the band was kindly invited never to play the
club again.”

This was routine for the Teen Idles, who enjoyed unnerving boring old rockers and club owners. “lt’s kind of nice being feared,” said drummer Jeff Nelson at the time. Of course, it does cut down on places to play.”

The Psychedelly show was the Idles’ eleventh, and already the band had been disinvited from further performances by three different clubs. Of the remaining shows, two had been in basements or garages and the rest at Madams Organ, the band’s early roost.

Test press / ?

Mastered at Nashville Record Productions
Pressed by United Record Pressing

Considering there were quite a few, possibly as many as 50, Minor Threat tests pressed with exact same labels some might venture to say there might have been just as many of these. However, Minor Threat tests were ordered in higher quantities in order to do all sorts of radio / review promotions. When pressing this record it is established that neither Ian nor Jeff were even thinking about any sort of promoting. No leaflets were made either. That coupled with the fact that this record almost never pops up for sale, contrary to the Minor Threat tests which pop up here and there every now and again, makes me thing that there were much fewer of them pressed. Possibly fewer than 10.

1st press / 1000

1st press covers were printed on a heavier stock glossy card, which were then hand assembled by the band and friends. The ink was uncoated which resulted in it easily getting scratched off the surface of the paper. Hence many of the covers today come with heavy ringwear and easily visible creases.

2nd press / 1000

2nd pressing’s covers were much thinner and matte. Inserts were also on a slightly different paper stock and printed with different ink which resulted in a different shade of ink when compared with the 1st press inserts.
On the back of the cover THANKS A LOT, JAN ($ – 2ND PRESSING) was added.

Few years ago I send an email to Jeff and Henry asking them to identify whoever they could in The Chancery photo on the back of the cover. They were both kind enough to do so. Jeff went a step further and got in touch with Nathan and Danny Ingram who added few extra names to the list.
Here’s the final list with only a handful of the names missing. If you happen to know who they are, please let me know.

1. Geordie Grindle
2. Jeff says it’s Jay Rubinowitz, Henry says it’s Jay Garfinkel, Danny says “It’s Jay”
4. Bill McKenzie
5. Jeff Nelson
6. Ian MacKaye
7. Kim Kane (Slickee Boys)
9. Eddie Janney (Untouchables, later Faith, Rites of Spring)
10. Henry Garfield
11. Brian Baker
12. Chris (SOA roadie)
16. Tom Clinton (later Youth Brigade)
17. Paul Nee
18. Wendell Blow (SOA)
19. Younger Nee (?)
20. Nathan Strejcek
21. Kevin Farrell
23. Jeff and Nathan say it’s Michael Hampton (later Faith, Embrace), Henry and Danny say it’s not
24. Bruce Morse (?)
25. Geoff Dawson (high school friend)
26. David Nee
27. Younger Nee (?)
28. Danny Ingram (Nathan’s best friend, later drummer of Youth Brigade)
30. John Hanson (singer of Zones, early DC garage punk band)

Here’s a part of the conversation about the cover photo for the 7″ between Ian and Susie taken from PUNK LOVE by Susie J Horgan

Ian: So this is an interesting juncture, because at the time we met I was playing bass in The Teen Idles. We had just decided to break up but wanted to release a record. There wasn’t a whole lot of interest in a young punk band
that was no longer together, and no labels were going to put this out, so we decided to start our own label. The music was important to us and we wanted to document it. We didn’t really have any guidance beyond some contact numbers, so we just cobbled the record together.

In terms of designing the cover we had this idea of having a kid on the cover. There was a lot of emphasis on being young, which is pretty evident given that the band was called The Teen Idles and the record was called “Minor Disturbance.” One of the reasons we were centered on the age stuff was because we were young, but also we felt rather dismissed by older punk rockers, and older people in general. They seemed biased against us because of our age, so we capitalized on it. We said, Yeah, we’re kids!, and it was nothing to be ashamed about. This became a bit of a political issue for us in terms of music existing in a bar culture in which kids were not allowed. This is insane, of course, because music is often the essence of a teenager’s life. The idea that this music would be presented only in venues that they couldn’t enter due to their age seemed criminal. So we put a lot of work into trying to get kids into shows, or as bands, to never play shows that weren’t for all ages. Using an idea that we came across at the Mabuhay Gardens club in San Francisco, we told the clubs to draw Xs on our hands to designate underage patrons. We told them to ban anyone who was caught drinking that had an X on their hand. Even those of us who were old enough to drink would take the designation as a sign of solidarity and in a way it became part of our punk identity at that time.

So the idea we had for the cover of the record was to have a kid with an X on his hand. We tried to take the photos ourselves, but they were all really crappy snapshots and it became clear to us that it wasn’t going to work as a cover. Around this time you brought a camera to work. I just assumed that you were a professional photographer since you had a real camera and were taking pictures. So I asked if you would help us take the cover shot, and you said, “Sure, let’s do it.” So Alec, Eddie, and I went up to your apartment building and took these photos. when we got the photos back we were incredibly pleased because the picture we ended up using for the cover was exactly what we wanted. It was only years later that I found out where you were with your photography at that point.

Susie: They were basically the first pictures I ever took. I had brought my brand—new camera into work that day, and didn’t even really understand how to set the thing. Those Haagen-Dazs photos are overexposed; I think I had learned maybe one step further before we did the cover session. You guys were so new to me and the camera was so new to me, yet I
felt something. So I loosened up and took some pictures, but they were basically the first.

Ian: This is a piece of information that I didn’t really understand until almost twenty years later. I had always been under the impression
that you were someone who had taken pictures for years, and that we were quite lucky to have connected with someone who had so much experience. But this is the beauty of creation: things just lining up. It seems to me now that goofing around with the camera at the ice-cream store and taking the pictures for the cover really led us to become close friends. It’s like the camera served as a calling card, a device to make the connection between human beings. At the same time, it seemed like the camera always stayed between you and the rest of us. It wasn’t as though you were hanging out at the pizza joint with the rest of us.
What were you looking for in the camera when you were taking pictures of us?

Susie: I wasn’t looking for anything; it was just an organic, visceral reaction, and that’s how I still take pictures. I don’t study it, it’s just how I see things.

Ian: The Teen Idles cover photo, which I imagine was your first ever published photo, was deliberately posed, but the next photo of yours that we used, this time for the first Minor Threat record, definitely was not. It was a picture of my brother, again, but this time he was asleep on some steps at a show. The Teen Idles photo was something that we set up and was an image that we were trying to get, but this one was something we saw when you showed us the contacts. It was such a powerful shot that we had to use it for the cover. Both of these pictures became somewhat iconic in our curious world of punk. It’s strange now to think that yo were just a kid taking pictures in Washington D.C.

Susie: I’ve had experiences where people have dropped to their knees when they find out that I took those photos.

Ian: It is interesting to think about the power of those images. The music of that time was really visceral and clearly has resonated with some people, and the continued work of musicians in this city, along with the fact that Dischord has continued to release records and just the stubbornness of the underground music scene, all lead to an understanding of why there is a recognizable history or legacy. However, one element that I think is really worth noting is the role of photographs in all of this. Around 1988 a book called Banned in D.C. was released. This was a
photo document of the D.C. punk scene from 1980 to 1985, and a number of those images were yours. It created a storyboard in a way, evidence that people could study. These pictures of yours have gone on and on, even during the time you had stopped taking photos. And they were there when you came back to the camera, or when the camera came back to you, and ultimately they kind of led you to this book.
It’s crazy to think that you were only taking pictures here for six months, because by June of ’81 you were gone. You left town and disappeared. You weren’t engaging in the music scene here — you weren’t evolving with it, you weren’t in touch with us — but you had this cache of images. That’s where you left it. A glancing view.

Susie: A moment in time. I photographed the birth and then I left.

Page from the mentioned above Banned in DC with The Chancery photo used for the back cover of the 7″:

Also sketches of the alternative logos and mock ups of the cover art with some unused ideas, as well as a photo of Jeff’s jacket which he is wearing in the Chancery shot, taken from Radio Silence by N. Nedorostek and A. Pappalardo