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WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE STRAIGHT EDGE IN 2019?

Is the straight edge movement as militant as it was in the early days, or does it mean something else now?

Words: Aideen O’Flaherty

Over 35 years since the straight edge movement gained its name from Minor Threat’s 1981 single Straight Edge, the lifestyle still has many adherents who ‘claim edge’. As a movement that developed at hardcore shows throughout the ’80s and ’90s (where people would have black Xs daubed on their hands, as a way of repurposing the black Xs that were put on the hands of minors at shows so they wouldn’t get served), it is no longer an underground movement. And approaches towards what the movement represents, and the militancy that’s associated with it, are different in 2019.

Jeremy Bolm from Touché Amoré became edge at 14 in 1996, after watching an Ozzfest ‘96 VHS tape where an Earth Crisis performance prompted him to buy their Gomorrah’s Season Ends album, the liner notes for which contained information about straight edge. “It wasn’t until I started going to actual hardcore shows that I met anyone else that was straight edge,” says Jeremy, “and that’s when I felt that belonging, for once.”

In 2001, a 17-year-old Trevor Friedrich, who has been the drummer in the straight edge band Eighteen Visions since 2004, decided to become straight edge after drinking and doing drugs as a young teen. “What I was doing was no longer extreme, and I was falling right in line with brainless scum without any of the same values I had,” he says.

“It wasn’t until I went to a hardcore show and first saw Eighteen Visions that I discovered the straight edge community. That’s all it took – I discovered a whole new world, and finally felt not so alone in my way of thinking.”

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Mother, wife, small business owner. www.justbuttons.org

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