Just three instruments, and no effects, but a sound so distinctive that you can tell within seconds whether or not you’re listening to a Minutemen song, which is all the more impressive because none of their songs sound alike. Add to it a distinct social and political conciousness and a the jovial spirit of the band, and you’ve got an unbeatable combination.
I encountered them during a late-night YouTube crawl, when I was lucky enough to stumble upon “History Lesson Part II”, which was my entry into the world of the American ‘80’s punk scene. This band’s ability to record out prodigious amounts of quality music and tour incessantly on a shoestring budget, without the backing of a moneyed corporation, is astounding. Outspoken with their Do It Yourself (DIY) ideology and belief in the power of the punk philosophy (“there should be a band on every block”), the words and actions of the Minutemen can make true believers out of anyone with an open mind. They must get through around 30 songs in a 1 hour live set. Their war stories (or tour spiels, if you prefer) are hilarious.
The best band of the 80’s, in my opinion and one of the all time greats. The documentary We Jam Econo is a very good introduction.
Learning about D. Boon’s early death was truly heartbreaking, especially given the talent and promise of the band. If only …
- Interview from 1985 - interview of the band. Gives a good sense of the band’s philosophy
- Mike Watt talks about Double Nickels on The Dime - definitive guide to the epic album. Discusses many things I’d never have guessed, like the album’s Ulysses connection.