Minutemen Acoustic Blowout
December 22, 2017 6:57 PM   Subscribe

D. Boon died 32 years ago today. Please enjoy this 1985 Public Access TV acoustic set from The Minutemen.

D. Boon was the lead singer and guitarist of this seminal band which arose from the Southern California Hardcore scene yet had a completely distinctive sound that had not been heard before and has not been replicated since. He was killed in a car crash at the age of 27.
posted by Slarty Bartfast (18 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
 
also ... We Jam Econo - the Story of the Minutemen
posted by philip-random at 7:14 PM on December 22, 2017 [5 favorites]


We Jam Econo is an awesome introduction to the Minutemen but it is so hard for me to watch. It is so painfully obvious what a hole Boon’s death left in Mike Watt’s life. Watt, by rights a seriously accomplished bass player, was destined to ride a wave to fame and stardom with Boon, to change rock and roll, and now he’s an almost no-one driving an old beat up van and living in a studio apartment. Yeah, there was firehose and a few notable collaborations, but Watt and Boone might have been the next Jimi Hendrix and he’s now a little footnote.

I’m trying to think of another performer of similar talent who died before reaching some of their full potential or realizing some of the fame they deserved — Nick Drake? Nina Simone? — it’s just heartbreaking to hear the stories of those left behind by Boon’s untimely death. They’ll never again touch that transcendent genius they almost achieved.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:49 PM on December 22, 2017 [5 favorites]


Great stuff! Thanks for posting this.
posted by old_growler at 8:22 PM on December 22, 2017


Bradley Nowell of Sublime went out with similar timing, and as much not-to-be-fulfilled talent.
posted by Fupped Duck at 8:38 PM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


now he’s an almost no-one driving an old beat up van and living in a studio apartment.

I take strong issue with this characterization. Watt remains a full time musician who continually tours the world (including Japan, where we toured together a few years back!) and enjoys playing music immensely. He has an enormous number of friends and admirers around the world, as well, which in my book hardly qualifies him for status as an "almost no-one".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:40 PM on December 22, 2017 [34 favorites]


I suspect that, had Minutemen become the stars that they could have been, Watt would probably still drive the beat up van. Nicer apartment, probably, though still somewhere in San Pedro.
posted by curiousgene at 8:41 PM on December 22, 2017 [7 favorites]


More Minutemen in an unusual setting: the June 1984 “Joy at Sea” concert, on a boat in San Pedro harbor. Some Meat Puppets footage also!

Curiousgene is right on: Mike Watt would still humbly tour in an old van, meeting friends wherever he goes, always returning to San Pedro. The man has an immense well of generosity, with his time and his spiels. I feel moments of sadness that Minutemen never became a musical phenomenon in the way that, say, Radiohead became one, yet I’ve never thought they were “just a band”. They showed us that “punk rock is whatever we want it to be”, in d.boon’s phrase.
posted by lasagnaboy at 9:02 PM on December 22, 2017 [5 favorites]


Thanks so much for posting this!
posted by holborne at 9:32 PM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


but Watt and Boone might have been the next Jimi Hendrix and he’s now a little footnote.

agree with some of the subsequent comments, but there's truth here. The world lost something huge when D Boone died and perhaps no one felt that more than Mike Watt. I'm not saying they would have gone on to be bigger than Nirvana (or whatever), but holy shit, they were a strong band, working from a seemingly limitless spring of inspiration. So much more than just punk or hardcore or anything really -- just some of the best music the 1980s had to offer period. Right up there with Prince, Sonic Youth and I honestly can't think of any other American artists of the time.
posted by philip-random at 9:43 PM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


but Watt and Boone might have been the next Jimi Hendrix and he’s now a little footnote.

If 3 Way Tie for Last was in any way a predictor, there was little chance of that.
posted by machaus at 9:46 PM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


I can't see D. "riding a wave to fame and stardom." Not who he was. I'd put him in the same category as Ian MacKaye in that regard -- someone with way too much principle to cash in on it. And I say that with all due respect for the folks who did.
posted by mikeand1 at 9:54 PM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


Thanks very much for this; the Minutemen (along with the Mekons and a few other bands) got me through the Reagan years, and just hearing the opening chords of "Corona" made me happy in a way I haven't been in a while. D. Boon's death devastated me in a way no rock death had since Lennon's and none has done since; as others above have said, it felt like something utterly new and full of infinite possibility was crushed just as it was getting started. But at least we had them when they were needed.
posted by languagehat at 5:55 AM on December 23, 2017 [8 favorites]


Now they're covering the Meat Puppets' "Lost"! This makes me so happy...
posted by languagehat at 6:01 AM on December 23, 2017 [3 favorites]


Watt, by rights a seriously accomplished bass player, was destined to ride a wave to fame and stardom with Boon, to change rock and roll, and now he’s an almost no-one driving an old beat up van and living in a studio apartment.

Watt is loved and revered among the now-aging 80s/90s punks that I grew up with, people make a point of going to see him and buying his music, and I'm confident if he ever needs help, he could could GoFundMe a pile of cash quickly from the many people he has influenced. If D. Boon was still with us, it would be the same deal.

I honestly can't see either of them having become gigantic arena rock stars, but I think Mike knows he's achieved something better, and a lot closer to the econo/anti-star/DIY ideal they were aiming for. Even when he's playing with The Stooges, he carries himself with the same humility, frugality and relentless work ethic as he did in The Minutemen. As he's said, "it's a sailor's life", hard, but not without a lot of beauty.

I think about the "econo" ideal and the Minutemen ideal all the time, still, 30 years after I first encountered them, and I know I'm not alone. Especially as most of the folks I know from that era are facing a future that is uncertain and often pretty goddamn frightening, Mike and D. remain inspirations. I can't think of a single big rock star that even comes close in terms of their positive impact on me.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:57 AM on December 23, 2017 [12 favorites]


Watt seems like a lifer - most people over 30 are not gonna do a van tour. That’s because they are miserable!
posted by thelonius at 9:17 AM on December 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


"Contemplating the Engine Room" is a brilliant record.
posted by davebush at 7:10 PM on December 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


this is relevant to my interests. There are lots of things I admire my sister for but raising her kids to know love and appreciate the minutemen is the one I might be trying hardest to emulate.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:42 AM on December 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


I once saw Mike Watt break a bass string during one of the opening songs, and replace out while he kept playing. He used his teeth for some of it. This was well after the minutemen, so I guess firehose?
Good stuff. Thanks for the link.
posted by lkc at 11:48 AM on December 26, 2017


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