Fugazi is the best band in the world. Just ask Eddie Vedder. For nearly 20 years, they were an inspirational force for wastrels and wanderlings of the American punk underground.
Dischord Records, co-owned by Fugazi and Minor Threat frontman Ian MacKaye, after the band’s sixth album, 2001’s The Argument, and its subsequent tour, Fugazi went on indefinite hiatus in 2003. Every so often there are rumors of a reunion (and even an April Fool’s Day joke), but the band has never played live again. In 2011, they offered an 800-show live archive spanning from 1988 to 2003 and containing over 1,500 hours of music, uploaded to Dischord’s site.
When Brooklyn-based experimental theater group Object Collection announced It’s All True, a so-called “opera-in-suspension” based on that archive, fans, music sites, an even the band were flummoxed. “I was really left-footed by it–I couldn’t read the tonality at all,” Picciotto said recently, via email. “It seemed kind of arch at first, though I was hugely relieved that it wasn’t some kind of hagiographic take on the whole thing.” It’s All True premiered in Norway in 2016, was staged in London last year, and now makes its U.S. premiere at New York’s venerated experimental theater home, La Mama, where it runs from February 8th through the 25th.
It’s All True is a new opera created by the New York-based ensemble Object Collection that is “based on the complete live archives of iconic underground band Fugazi.” The 100-minute performance, created with the band’s approval and endorsement, samples the sounds of “random feedback, aimless drum noodling, pre-show activist speeches, audience hecklers, and the police breaking up gigs” found in the countless hours of archival Fugazi live recordings in existence. “All of us were both blown away and disoriented by the work,” said Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto. “We feel moved by Object Collection’s engagement with our archive material and salute everyone involved for their hard work and patience and for wrestling with such integrity with our sounds and words.”
While It’s All True doesn’t feature any actual Fugazi music, the opera has been recorded in its entirety and is set to be released October 6 via Slip. Live performances of the opera are ongoing as well—future shows include dates at Cafe Oto in London and La Mama in New York City. Check out a trailer for it below; hear the song “What’s the Problem” above.