|Chris Hansen -- Founder of No Sleep Records|
No matter how you view straight edge or straight edge bands, it's an undeniable part of punk culture. The idea of opting out of a life with alcohol, drugs, and promiscuous sex has raised a lot of questions, and draws a long-standing line in the sand for many in the punk community. The straight edge movement effectively took over hardcore punk starting in the 1980's with Ian MacKaye and Minor Threat. The term straight edge has been redefined countless times by many different hardcore scenes. Today, many of the founders of the straight edge movement are disillusioned by the term, having seen straight edge music and the philosophy of the scene stretched to it's limits. However, straight edge culture still means something to a lot of people. Even with fewer and fewer bands repping the lifestyle--"Don't drink, don't smoke, don't fuck!"--many people are still claiming edge and practicing a life without those vices.
One Huntington Beach record label, No Sleep Records, often hands out informational pamphlets in mail orders and the owner Chris Hansen is a straight edge vegan. Although the label isn't an exclusively straightedge label, they often sell merch and stickers with the "X" logo.
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Chris Hansen: I think straight edge for me is definitely a way of life. It's a good reason why I'm still here. A lot of my friends are glad that I don't drink; I would probably be a violent alcoholic. Growing up seeing some of my family not handle their alcohol well had a huge impact on me. They don't go crazy, but [I realized at a] pretty young [age] I don't want to drink and I that want to have a clear mind. I want to be me. I don't want to have to drink to have fun. I have friends that aren't straight edge, not everyone here at No Sleep is straight edge. People can do whatever they want as long as they're not hurting themselves. I sell straight edge merch, I support the straight edge and vegan as well, but I don't preach it to anyone.
Here is Chris's list of his favorite straight edge bands:More »