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November 23, 2012 4:58 PM   Subscribe

Minutemen's Mike Watt interviewed about Double Nickels on the Dime.

This soundboard recording of the March 1, 1985 concert at The Stone in San Francisco reminds me of Robert Christgau's review of Ballot Result:
As someone who's never had much patience with the mystique of the ill-recorded moment, music overheard just before it slips into the historical void its creators figure it for, I'll make a partial exception for the Minutemen, because I miss them so much. I know most of the songs on this mostly live double in versions I prefer, but better than any studio distillation it underlines the crucial point: they lived. And given the modesty so intrinsic to their world-historical public ambitions, its muffled, take-a-flier intimacy speaks. Also, I like the covers.
posted by Egg Shen (36 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite

 
...rebellion thing was writing your own fuckin' songs and trying to come up with your own story, your own picture, your own book, whatever. So he can't drive 55, because that was the national speed limit? Okay, we'll drive 55, but we'll make crazy music. Not to put him down - I saw Montross, I never saw Van Halen but I saw Montross, talented man. He was kind of a target for us. No one got it! The title, Double Nickels On The Dime, we're going to go exactly the speed limit -

That's easily the best explanation of the best album title ever. Thanks for this link, Egg Shen.
posted by carsonb at 5:33 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Amazing album, made even more amazing by the fact that on one level it sounds like stuff my friends and I used to record in the basement in high school, but another level it's just so ... perfect, even in the parts where one of them messes up.

I think I first picked it up because of a Metafilter thread a few years ago, where people were posting their one desert island album picks. Someone mentioned that so checked it out, enjoyed it, but it wasn't til I got a vinyl copy last year that it really clicked. Without a doubt one of those albums that has to be listened to straight through to make sense.
posted by mannequito at 5:41 PM on November 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


One of my favorite albums by one of my favorite bands ever.

Ever wonder how punk went from "This Ain't No Picnic" to Blink 182 singing "I Wanna Fuck A Dog"?

It's like any time a new kind of music comes out that is really dangerous to the establishment, it gets co-opted and trivialized. See also: Rage Against The Machine with rap metal, which devolved into Fred Durst screaming homophobic slurs.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:10 PM on November 23, 2012


During the early 80's scene The Minutemen stood out as not only competent but imaginative and colorful musicians in contrast to the usual chord-banging poseurs.
posted by telstar at 6:34 PM on November 23, 2012


tried to order the vinyl some months ago, but just keep hearing out of stock.
posted by nadawi at 6:36 PM on November 23, 2012


This is great. Mike Watt is one of those incantatory rock'n'roll raconteur types you can give a mic to and he'll create a whole universe on the spot. David Thomas, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Richard Hell, Robyn Hitchcock, there aren't too many of 'em, but I'll read every word they spit out.
posted by mykescipark at 6:55 PM on November 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


OK MAYBE I WAS SINGING JESUS AND TEQUILA IN THE OFFICE JUST NOW



I can't deny it



I think one of the things that makes this album so great


I think I first picked it up because of a Metafilter thread a few years ago, where people were posting their one desert island album picks.


One of my most embarrassing moments on Metafilter was transposing the east and west coast when mentioning this album in response to a question about albums people might want to hear when being transported to the hospital via ambulance. Baka louche!
posted by louche mustachio at 7:38 PM on November 23, 2012


Did a Japan tour with Watt, and a couple other gigs with him, here and there, after that. A unique individual, for sure. He calls the bass the "thud stick". You know he plays with Iggy Pop's band, right? He told me once that when he first started with Iggy, Iggy took him aside, looked deep into his eyes and said "Mike, I want you to get in touch with your inner stupid." Heh heh!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:29 PM on November 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


Mike Watt is one of those incantatory rock'n'roll raconteur types . . . I'll read every word they spit out.

Man, really? Good god, his tour diaries/blog/mass emails/etc add up to an ongoing opus that you'd have to take on as a full time job to keep up with. That's dedication.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:31 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Other records come and go, but Double Nickels on the Dime has been on my top ten list ever since I first heard it in the 80s. Time to go listen again.
posted by dfan at 8:38 PM on November 23, 2012


L.A.'s so vulcanized most people don't know the other parts of the town. Nobody really knew about Pedro.

I would bet he meant 'balkanized,' but this is an interesting image...
posted by hap_hazard at 10:34 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


They should have exercised some "econo" on that black on orange page layout.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:40 PM on November 23, 2012


This is Bob Dylan to me.
posted by From Bklyn at 10:45 PM on November 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Minutemen, in my opinion, were way more radical and hard-hitting than Bob Dylan ever was.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:51 PM on November 23, 2012


The Minutemen, in my opinion, were way more radical and hard-hitting than Bob Dylan ever was.

They were a hundred zillion times better than Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Shaggs all put together. I don't think anyone could dispute that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:26 PM on November 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Minutemen's sound is flat-out incredible to me. The way that boon and watt weave all around each other, while still keeping to their respective ends of the frequency spectrum... george hurley's drumming... add to that lyrics that are political AND funny?

If you're reading this, and you haven't seen We Jam Econo, I want you to watch the first 15 minutes. If you're not interested after that, turn it off. But give it 15 minutes. I guarantee you'll be hooked.
posted by dubold at 12:44 AM on November 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Big fuckin' shit.
posted by ShutterBun at 12:49 AM on November 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


By the way, did anyone else have that big "Ah HA!" moment while looking at the album cover?

"Oooh, he's driving 55 miles per hour on the 10 freeway! I GET IT!"

(or was it just me?)
posted by ShutterBun at 12:54 AM on November 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is Bob Dylan to me.

Erm... Y'all realize this was a lyrical quote, right? And not just an opinion?
posted by ShutterBun at 12:56 AM on November 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Viet Nam is still the best song to listen to when offroading or driving at unsafe speeds on unsafe logging roads. Fact.
posted by mannequito at 1:43 AM on November 24, 2012


They were a hundred zillion times better than Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Shaggs all put together.

Well, maybe not the Shaggs.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:50 AM on November 24, 2012


I should have put quotes?

I never really got the Bob Dylan love until I heard this line and then I was like, "Oh, people feel about him like I feel about this."

And "We Jam Econo" is one of those movies, I've always had crazy love/admiration for the Minutemen, and after I saw this movie I thought, this would be a deal-breaker for me, someone who didn't like this, I'm not sure could live with that.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:09 AM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


If there is a lyric written better than "I live sweat, but I dream light years" it is probably another Minutemen lyric I just haven't noticed yet.

Thanks for posting this.
posted by ndfine at 5:43 AM on November 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


tried to order the vinyl some months ago, but just keep hearing out of stock.

Copies of Zen Arcade are thin on the ground these days too - I'd love to think it's because deluxe reissues of both are in the pipeline. .
posted by anagrama at 6:02 AM on November 24, 2012


Love this album (and Watt -- supremely nice guy) -- always thought of it as the Trout Mask of the punk era.

I must look like a dork.
posted by AJaffe at 6:28 AM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Very cool interview - thanks for the link. This was interesting:

(at that point...) "What Makes A Man Start fires was our only real album, but that's a weird album - that's the only one where I wrote all the music. Not too representative. Although, you know, a quarter of the words were Georgie's, a quarter of the words were D. Boon's, I wrote like half the words. All the tunes were coming from me. That was a weird time for D. Boon"
posted by jetsetsc at 7:38 AM on November 24, 2012


Ha, I still remember that Christgau review of Ballot Result (I actually sent in a ballot!). I think if was Christgau who turned me on to the Minutemen in the first place; at any ate, once I heard them I went out and bought all their albums and went to see them whenever they came to Maxwell's. The death of D. Boon hit me as hard as Lennon's, and Double Nickels on the Dime will always be on my all-time top-ten list. Thanks for the post (who knows if I'll ever read the whole interview, but what I've read so far is great).
posted by languagehat at 9:26 AM on November 24, 2012


Soft spot in my heart. Thanks for this.
posted by xarnop at 10:04 AM on November 24, 2012


I just listened to that recording, it was great. And then the announcer rubs salt in my jealousy wounds by saying

Okay we'll be back after a real short break with Hüsker Dü.
posted by mnfn at 11:00 AM on November 24, 2012


> I would bet he meant 'balkanized,' but this is an interesting image...

My thought too, but I would suspect he sometimes might not object to Los Angeles being characterized as being hardened, dark and sulfurous.
posted by ardgedee at 11:18 AM on November 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


i think at some point i realized that the minutemen were actually a jazz trio. the best that ever was. thanks for this post, they were, are and ever will be my favorite band.
posted by joeblough at 11:59 AM on November 24, 2012


We had a fund raiser for a friend who was dying of cancer a couple years back. Dave Melrose. He used to work at the old Espresso Bar in Pasadena, Ca with some of us. A friend of a friend was able to contact Mike Watt and/or Kira Roessler of Dos, the two bass duo they are. They'd played at the old eBar when it was still open, maybe.

Anyhow, somebody got a hold of them and they came up to Pasadena to play a set on a stage set up in the back of an antique dealers, free, to help raise some money for Dave. You know, boost the profile of the event on the flyers and facebook posts.

Great set. Classy guy. Kira is awesome, too.

Dave pulled in almost 25k that day, enough to pay for a trip to Thailand and the "experimental cancer treatment" he was betting on and some of his living expenses for a year or so after.
posted by notyou at 4:44 PM on November 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I do love this album, but if I want a quick hit of what makes the Minutemen who they were/are, that's when I grab Buzz Or Howl Under The Influence Of Heat. Otherwise, I'll spend the time trying to figure out what can be romantic to Mike Watt.
posted by stannate at 9:43 PM on November 24, 2012


Copies of Zen Arcade are thin on the ground these days too - I'd love to think it's because deluxe reissues of both are in the pipeline.

Sadly, that's just not something SST has ever done ... unless they're planning on buying off Greg Ginn for the rights à la the Meat Puppets. I'd love to be pleasantly surprised, though.
posted by mykescipark at 2:30 AM on November 25, 2012


Experiences, like the speil. So it seemed like Joyce - my take on it was, obviously this man, woman, whoever the writer was, was allowed access to resources, Aristotle and Aquinas, there were all these references - I re - read it again a couple of years ago. Last year I went to Bloomsday, the hundredth anniversary, June 16th, heavy day, it's a heavy book coverage. It seemed to me then, and still does now, that he was trying to write about everything. And in a way the Minutemen were trying to do the same. Never sat down and agreed to do this or anything, but it seems like we're trying to write about everything. The whole world, the history, the future, what can be, could be, would be, what might have been. So, we're overreaching, and this is the thing we get out of it - basically, the things about one fuckin' day!
posted by ovvl at 10:11 AM on November 25, 2012


Solidly in my all time top ten list. So many memories...
posted by schyler523 at 5:56 PM on November 25, 2012


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