People who follow straight edge have, in the past, been characterised as being militant in their beliefs, and as having no leeway towards those who don’t follow the lifestyle or who’ve broken edge. Nathan and Jeremy are open to the possibility that they might drink alcohol at some point in their lives, and it seems that those who follow the lifestyle are more accepting nowadays.
“If I’m going to be completely honest, I don’t care about straight edge at 36-years-old. It’s just that thing about it being second-nature,” says Jeremy. “I say this often to friends about it, that I’m only still straight edge because I’m fuckin’ lazy. I don’t have the time or energy to discover something new.
“I’ll probably hit that moment in my life where I can just have a glass of wine with dinner and just be very calm about it, but the thing is, I haven’t had the urge to do it. It’s gotten me this far, and I don’t really care, it just doesn’t affect me.”
Nathan has a similar approach to being straight edge in 2020, where he feels that there may a point where he will drink again, but he primarily sees his decision to be edge as being a political statement. “I’ve always had an attitude of, well, maybe I will start drinking,” he says, “but that won’t change what’s fundamentally a political perspective on binge drinking, and the damage that drinking culture does, and how it connects with all these other social problems. It’s very much connected to my politics, so when I claim it, it’s a political statement rather than being a purity statement.”
He adds, “I don’t mind that (Youth Of Today vocalist) Ray Cappo has a glass of wine with his Italian meal, it doesn’t let me down. Maybe one day I will [have a glass of wine], but it hasn’t happened yet. I keep waiting for it to happen, but it doesn’t.”
For others, being straight edge is a still a definitive and unwavering lifelong commitment. Trevor feels strongly about people who break edge, and his commitment to the movement is as fiercely held now as it was when he was a teenager. “So many have fallen, and it becomes more apparent that it was just a trend for so many people to follow,” he says.
“It really sucks when I find out that some of my straight edge heroes growing up are just actual fucking losers. But that type of thing only makes me hate that world even more, and I become even more proud that I’m stronger than ever in the choices I make. I love being extreme in living life against the grain, and I feel that I always will have that mentality. I know for a fact that I will live the straight edge lifestyle until the day I die.”