Ted Leonsis offers arena for Fugazi charity reunion; Ian MacKaye responds

Ted Leonsis — billionaire owner of the Washington Capitals, Wizards, Mystics, and Capital One Arena — often gets what he wants.

The sports and business mogul used Twitter this week to make an offer to the D.C. punk band Fugazi, which has been on hiatus since 2003:

Over the years, Leonsis has espoused his admiration for the band — guitarists and vocalists Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto, bassist Joe Lally and drummer Brendan Canty — and its label, Dischord Records.

Sprouting in 1987 after the disbanding of MacKaye’s hardcore punk band Minor Threat, Fugazi performed worldwide and produced six studio albums before deciding it was time to stop playing together for the foreseeable future.

Contacted by WTOP about the tweet by Leonsis, MacKaye said, “I honestly don’t think it’s newsworthy.”

“My impression was that it was meant more as a compliment than an actual offer, so there really wasn’t anything to consider other than the kind words. They were appreciated,” MacKaye said in an email.

A spokesperson for Leonsis’ Monumental Sports & Entertainment did not immediately respond to an interview request.

If Leonsis wanted to ask the band personally, he missed a chance Tuesday, as the four members got together to view an exhibition called Action. Reaction. Action: Visualizing Fugazi at the Lost Origins Gallery in Mount Pleasant.

Gallery owner Jason Hamacher said the four members spent about 90 minutes looking at the exhibition exploring the impact of the band, both as musicians and activists. The exhibition runs through Sunday.

The band was also spotted going to eat nearby at Elle.

This is not the first time Fugazi has been offered the chance to reunite.

“These guys do exactly what they want, when they want. Or should I say did,” said concert promoter Seth Hurwitz, co-owner of the 9:30 Club. “But, see, that’s exactly why they are who they are, and why so many people know and admire them, as bastions of absolute real.”

Hurwitz said he doubts money will change the band’s mind, citing the time in 1976 Lorne Michaels made a gag offer of $3,000 to The Beatles, to reunite on “Saturday Night Live.”

“This has about as much chance as that did. Although, having read that I said it won’t happen, perhaps my fellow contrarian Ian will want to prove me wrong,” Hurwitz said. “There is no ‘contrarian’ without ‘ian,’ after all.”

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up