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Rites of Spring

Emerging in 1984 and fully flowering during D.C.'s “Revolution Summer” of 1985, Rites of Spring charted new directions for the city's punk scene. Bridging two eras of DC punk—hardcore and what some would call “emo-core”—Rites of Spring was made up of guitarist Edward Janney (formerly of the Untouchables, the Faith), bassist Mike Fellows (ex-Government Issue), drummer Brendan Canty (ex-Deadline, Insurrection) and vocalist/guitarist Guy Picciotto (ex-Insurrection). Rites of Spring re-energized a DC punk scene that was flagging under the weight of violent shows, rampant drug use, and creative stagnation. Rites of Spring took the energy and ferocity of hardcore, but integrated a far more melodic songwriting sense. Picciotto’s lyrics—rich with meaning, vulnerability, and sincerity—immediately redefined what punk lyrics were capable of expressing. The band split in 1986, with members going on to One Last Wish, Happy Go Licky and, most notably, Fugazi.

Drawn from the Sharon Cheslow Punk Flyers collection and the D.C. Punk and Indie Fanzine collection at Special Collections in Performing Arts at the University of Maryland.

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