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The Minutemen

I know I make fun of 1980's music a lot (it's fun, and SOOO much of it DID in fact suck), so it always
amazes me when I drag out another great band from that decade.......in this case the Minutemen. A trio from San Pedro California, The Minutemen were singer/guitarist D Boon, singer bassist Mike Watt, and drummer George Hurley......I assume the name of the band came from the extreme brevity of their songs, sometimes making the Ramones seem like Rush.

In 1980 the trio released an EP, which I think is a fairly hard one to locate, "Paranoid Time", seven quicky tunes highlighted by "Fascist" and "Joe McCarthy's Ghost", ....following closely was "Joy", which featured only THREE tracks ("Joy", "Black Sheep" and "More Joy") and I think is also something of a hard one to track down.

The first full length was "The Punch Line", although a full length record, the longest of the 18 tracks here clocks in at 1:18, most of them are shorter than a minute. "Search", "Ruins", and "Warfare" standout as experimental punky blasts.

Next was another EP,("Bean Spill") couldn't find my copy but found one easy enough on the Bay, wouldn't want to be without "If Reagan Played Disco", now would we? The next EP, "Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat", was made with some assistance from some members of Black Flag, notably Rollins providing the title for the instrumental "Dreams are Free Motherfucker!"......"Cut" is a good one as well, and the band actually cracks the THREE minute mark on "Little Man With a Gun in His Hand". All these EP's are worth your while imo.

So, finally in 1983 came "What Makes a Man Start Fires?", it's a pretty fair (4 star say I) album, again the machine gun approach used on the earlier discs works well, in particular on "Sell or Be Sold" and "Life Is a Rehearsal".....the first REALLY essential album they had in them.

It wouldn't take them long to come up with the next one though....one of the 5-star classics of the decade, "Double Nickles on the Dime" ....it is overkill at its finest, FORTY THREE tracks, and most of these are DAMN great songs: "This Ain't No Picnic", "Jesus and Tequila", "Do You Want New Wave (Or Do You Want the Truth?)", fuck it, it's ALL great, if you only want one here you go, but you'll be selling yourself short.

"The Politics of Time" was next, it's something of a mess, with some interesting but VERY poorly recorded
live tracks, I have always thought the version here of "Fanatics" was just unlistenable, but while doing some psuedo research on the band, I discovered this story via Wikipedia.......check this out:

Part of the sleeve note on the back cover facetiously asks listeners to "note the quality of the recording" on the live version of "Fanatics" (from The Punch Line). While the recording is an almost undiscernible mess, the cut is apparently included for its historical importance as according to Henry Rollins in his book Get In The Van, on this night at the end of the song, D. Boon had jumped into the audience with his guitar on, hollering the title word of the song while "knock[ing] those skinheads [in the audience] over like bowling pins"

Huh, never knew that......anyway "Politics" also contains some studio material for a Minutemen album that never was to be. I don't call this anything like as essential as the previous pair, but fans will love this one too.

"Three Way Tie (For Last)" is another step backwards, I think, even given the over the top oddball covers of CCR's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" and BOC's "The Red and the Black"....some of the short length blitzes remain, but several were by now cracking the 2-3 minute mark......not a personal favorite of mine honestly, I do know people who like it.

After the release of "Three Way Tie", Boon was tragically killed in a van accident, effectively ending the Minutemen, although there would be some post-humous material......most notably was "Ballot Result", an interesting concept....a ballot was included with "Three Way Tie" and fans were allowed to vote for the stuff that would appear on this one......good choices, pretty much, too, a combination of live stuff (MUCH better than those on "Politics") and previously released tunes, it's a fitting memorial for Boon, I think, although not originally intended as such.

Another release was the EP "Project Mersh", ("Mersh" being the band's term for "commercial"), I don't care for it much at all, it contains a six (!) minute track as well as (wait for it) a cover of Steppenwolf's "Hey Lawdy Mama"......not a huge favorite of mine.

And that about does it for MY Minutemen stash, there are some other comps out there, to my knowledge they break no new ground, I think there's a "greatest hits" thing, kind of an odd release for a band of this nature, and I think there are some CD roundups of the several EP's.......no matter.

This was a band that had a great and unique run........along with Husker Du, The Replacements, U2, and a bunch of others, firmly entrenched as one of the best bands in 1980's rock n roll.

By the way most if not all of these are FLAC files, as you know by now, the format in which I have them is the format in which you get them......you can get a FLAC-MP3 converter for free on line if you really hate FLAC as much as many do.

PARANOID TIME-01 Validation/02 The Maze/03 Definitions/04 Sickles and Hammers/05 Fascist/06 Joe McCarthy's Ghost/07 Paranoid Chant

JOY-01 Joy/02 Black Sheep/03 More Joy

BEAN SPILL-01 Split Red/02 If Reagan Played Disco/03 Case Closed/04 Afternoons/05 Futurism Restated

BUZZ OR HOWL UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF HEAT-01 Self-Referenced/02 Cut/03 Dream Told By Moto/04 Dreams are Free, Motherfucker!/05 The Toe Jam/06 I Felt Like a Gringo/07 The Product/08 Little Man With a Gun in His Hand

THE PUNCH LINE-01 Search/02 Tension/03 Games/04 Boiling/05 Disguises/06 The Struggle/07 Monuments/08 Ruins/09 Issued/10 The Punch Line/11 Song For El Salvador/12 History Lesson/13 Fanatics/14 No Parade/15 Straight Jacket/16 Gravity/17 Warfare/18 Static

WHAT MAKES A MAN START FIRES-01 Bob Dylan Wrote Propoganda Songs/02 One Chapter in the Book/03 Fake Contest/04 Beacon Sighted Through the Fog/05 Mutiny In Jonestown/06 East Wind/Faith/07 Pure Joy/08 99/09 The Anchor/10 Sell or Be Sold/11 The Only Minority/12 Split Red/13 Colors/14 Plight/15 The Tin Roof/16 Life as a Rehearsal/17 This Road/18 Polarity 

DOUBLE NICKLES ON THE DIME-D's Car Jam/Anxious Mo-Fo/02 Theatre is the Life of You/03 Viet Nam/04 Cohesion/05 It's Expected I'm Gone/06 #1 Hit Song/07 Two Beads at the End/08 Do You Want New Wave or Do You Want the Truth/09 Don't Look Now/10 Shit From an Old Notebook/11 Nature Without Man/12 One Reporter's Opinion/13 Political Song For Michael Jackson To Sing/14 Maybe Partying Will Help/15 Toadies/16 Retreat/17 The Big Foist/18 God Bow's To Math/19 Corona/20 The Glory of Man/21 Take 5, D/22 My Heart and the Real World/23 History Lesson part II/24 You Need the Glory/25 The Roar of the Masses Could Be Farts/26 West Germany/27 The Politics of Time/28 Themselves/29 Please Don't be Gentle With Me/30 Nothing Indeed/31 No Exchange/32 There Ain't Shit on TV Tonight/33 This Ain't No Picnic/34 Spillage/35 Untitled Song For Latin America/36 Jesus and Tequila/37 June 16th/38 Storm In My House/39 Martin's Story/40 Dr. Wu/41 The World According to Nouns/42 Love Dance/43 Three Car Jam

THE POLITICS OF TIME-01 Base King/02 Working Men are Pissed/03 I Shook Hands/04 Below the Belt/05 Shit You Hear at Parties/06 The Big Lounge Scene/07 Maternal Rite (Tracks 1-7 Live 11/81 Fullerton CA)/08 Tune For Wind God (Live 4/83 in the Mojave Desert (!)/09 Party With Me Punker/10 The Process/11 Toy Jam (Tracks 10/11 recorded live KPFK in Studio City) 12 Tony Gets Wasted in Pedro (1979 pre-Minutemen tune (The Reactionaries)/13 Swing to the Right/14 Raza Si!/15 Times/16 Badges (15/16 demos by Mike Watt alone)/17 Fodder/18 Futurism Restated/19 Hollering/20 Suburban Dialectic/21 Contained/22 On Trial/23 Spraycan Wars (tracks 17-23 live 12/80 Studio City California)/24 My Part (live Copenhagen 2/28/83)/25 Fanatics (live 3/83 Brixton)/26 Ack Ack Ack (live 3/83 Ahrus Denmark)/27 The Big Blast For Youth (live 9/83 Wilmington CA)

THREE WAY TIE FOR LAST-01 Price of paradise/02 Lost/03 The Big Stick/04 Political Nightmare/05 Courage/06 Have You Ever Seen the Rain/07 The Red and the Black/08 Spoken Word Piece/09 No One/10 Stories/11 What Is It?/12 Ack Ack Ack/13 Just Another Soldier/14 Situations at Hand/15 Hittin the Bong/16 Bermuda

BALLOT RESULT-01 A Little Man With a Gun In His Hand/02 Political Song For Michael Jackson to Sing/03 I Feel Like a Gringo/04 Jesus and Tequila/05 Courage/06 King of the Hill/07 Bermuda/08 Mr Robot's Holy Orders/09 No One (remix)/10 Ack Ack Ack/11 History Lesson Part II/12 This Ain't No Picnic/13 The Cheerleaders/14 Time/15 Cut/16 Split Red/17 Shit You Hear at parties/18 Hell/19 Tour-Spiel/20 Take Our Test/21 The Punch Line/22 Search/23 Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs/24 Badges/25 Tension/26 If Reagan Played Disco/27 No! No! No! To Draft And War/Joe McCarthy's Ghost

PROJECT MERSH-01 The Cheerleaders/02 king of the Hill/03 Hey Lawdy Mama/04 Take Our Test/05 Tour-Spiel/06 More Spiel

Lemme know yer thoughts, I find them to be one of the more underapreciated bands of the 1980's, unique, humorous, rocking, profound, and experimental, all at once!

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