Aural Fixation: Minutemen

Whenever I talk about The Beatles, particularly about Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, I often mention how it seemed as though the band were enjoying a musical inside joke that we the audience could never hope to understand. Their ideas were so ‘out there,’ and yet they were totally straight-faced about it. As listeners, we could only go along enjoying the big picture, no matter how blurry it was. The case was a similar one with the Minutemen.

The original DIY band, the Minutemen lived in their own, three-person population world. D. Boon‘s lyrics and unusual dialectic gave their songs a voice that seemed both alien and familiar. These were three guys simply “jamming econo” in basements, garages, and wherever else they could set up their gear. Promoting their own shows and releasing album after 15-minute album on SST, the trio called no man ‘Mister.’

The guys’ career-defining album, the 45-song (or 44, depending on which edition you have) double album Double Nickels On The Dime, showed off their influences much in the same way London Calling did for The Clash. Of course, being an ‘underground’ band gave the Minutemen more room to experiment, and some of their best songs were their least-punkish ones.

Boon was killed in a car accident in 1985 at the age of 27. Bassist Mike Watt and drummer George Hurley formed the band fIREHOSE, and have gone on to work with many other artists and bands.

Watch: “History Lesson – Part II” from the fascinating documentary “We Jam Econo” (2005)

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~ by E. on June 9, 2009.

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