Ian MacKaye turned 50 today

Ian and Carmine Mackaye

I was lucky enough to interview him a few times, including one that appears in the Punk Planet book. There’s an exchange in that interview that, as I get older, I think about often:

I was cleaning my room once and I was listening to Led Zeppelin. Robert Plant was going on and on about all of these seemingly adult kind of things and I realized he was eighteen when he did that record—I was probably twenty-nine years old at the time—and I just thought, “Oh my god, I’m twenty-nine years old and I never became an adult.” Here’s Robert Plant and he’s eighteen and he’s singing about having his own apartment and running around town. To me, he seemed so adult. I called my dad and I said, “Dad, I’m kinda freaking out over here. I’m twenty-nine years old and I’m starting to realize that I’m a man, but I never made that transition.” And he said, “Well, I’ll tell you two things. First off, I see you as a man, as an adult man. You’re not a kid. And the second thing is that I can’t see myself as a man.” He was sixty at the time and he hadn’t come to terms with it either. It was nice and terrible at the same time to realize that that transition is a difficult one.

Happy Birthday, Ian.

The above photo of Ian and his son, Carmine, is (cc) Nick Helderman