"Like many people, I can't stand what the media tries to pass off as punk rock nowadays. The scene with the tattoos, whiny vocals with faux-British accents (yes Billie Joe Armstrong - I'm referring to you- you can stop hiding behind the tour bus), the refried two-chord riffs, the hypocritical anti-corporate stances, and the cheap looking Hot Topic clothes would be comical if it weren't so annoying. While punk rock really isn't my cup of tea, I respect the pioneers like The Clash, Husker Du, and The Damned. And then there were The Minutemen who took not only punk rock, but all of rock music to a whole new level.
San Pedro, California's Minutemen were fronted by a chubby, sloppy, and very average looking singer/guitarist named D. Boon (1958-1985). Boon was not the most refined singer in the world, yet his confident, assertive vocals made it easy to overlook his imperfections. He had an interesting guitar approach because he would completely turn down the bass and mid-range frequencies on his amplifiers and only use treble. He lacked the precision and speed of an Yngwie Malmsteen or a Joe Satriani, but his playing was much more fun to listen to. Boon's childhood pal Mike Watt handled bass with such skill that he sounded far more like Jaco Pastorius than Sid Vicious. Rounding out the trio was drummer George Hurley, a man who could do astonishing things with a small drumkit. The Minutemen were fortunate to have not one, not two, but three very gifted musicians within its ranks.
1984's _Double Nickels on the Dime_ clocks in at a whopping 74 minutes with 43 tracks. It defied the convention of both mainstream music and punk rock with it's attitude and experimentation. Just about everything is on here you can imagine: jazz, country, folk, blues, funk, Egyptian-style rock, spoken word poetry, psychedelia, and covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Don't Look Now" and Steely Dan's "Dr. Wu". On earlier pressings was a cover of Van Halen's "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love". Unlike many punk bands who do ironic covers of bands they feel contempt for, The Minutemen loved the groups they covered.
There is very little that I can say about _DNotD_ that has not been said already. But in closing I will say that _DNotD_ is one of those albums that has something for ALL rock fans. Punk fans will love it for its attitude and social commentary. Progressive rockers may love it for its musicianship and experimentation. Classic rockers will appreciate the Minutemen's respect for the past, and the pure nostalgic value. I'm not going to cry about what would have happened had Boon survived. Instead, I only wish to extend my gratitude for there being _DNotD_. Thanks guys."
Best album of the 80's.
Donnie L. Tucker | usa | 06/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though overlooked, this is the masterpiece of the 80's. I must agree albums like London Calling, The Queen Is Dead, Up On The Sun, I Can't Stop It & Zen Arcade are classic albums, none of them have the spirit of this album. 45 songs (43 on the cd) all delivered in the space of a regular cd (or double lp) and absolutely no gristle, it's all meat here.To me, this is the true definition of "punk." Much like London Calling, it might not be 3 power chords at blazing speed, and screamed vocals, it's something more important. Intelligent music with intelligent lyrics. Punk isn't so much a sound, it's more an attitude/feeling.I love the way the music here doesn't fit into any certain genre. Is it funk? Is it hadcore? Is it jazz? Is it blues? Is it folk? Is it country? It's all of that and more, usually in the same song.The only thing I didn't like, was the band's cover of the classic Van Halen song "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" & their original "Mr. Robot's Holy Orders" were left off of the cd (to fascilitate a single cd, I'd imagine), but if you can't find the vinyl, then the cd is the next best thing. Either way you go, you will not be disappointed.And to kidpunkrock182, thanks man. I really needed that. Best laugh I've had in ages! :D"
daibhidh | Chicago, IL USA | 02/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While I hate that this CD is missing 2 songs, the 43 tunes (74.17 minutes) remaining are definitely worth it. This is easily one of the best albums out there, and a really useful demonstration of the breadth and depth of the punk movement, at least in the US. The core of the album is in the trademark stripped-down sound of the Minutemen, and their lingering jazz and funk influences.It is a seamless, smart, and spellbinding masterpiece. There is so much variety on this CD that I don't think it's possible to get tired of it. I particularly like "Cohesion" (although would have liked it deeper in the playlist), "Maybe Partying Will Help," and "No Exchange" (which just builds so nicely). But in truth, I love all of the songs, so many of which manage to be softly scathing, which requires far more finesse than simply screeching.For people who think punk was (is) about leather jackets, chains, mohawks, and stomping up and down, I would suggest you avoid this album, but not because this album doesn't rock -- because it definitely rocks -- but it does it in a truly punk way, which is to defy definition itself. And it does it masterfully and intelligently. Makes me sad that d. boon died so young (27, of course), given what he was capable of. This CD is well worth your time."
The only album you really need!
George Frobig | Glens Falls NY USA | 06/15/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought the LP in 1985 and fell in love; already had PROJECT MERSH, but it barely prepared me for DOUBLE NICKELS ON THE DIME. I agree with the politics--not everybody does. You'd have to be tone deaf, though, not to hear the pure superiority of these 3 guys. Mike Watt alone just makes me want to pound my head on the floor in amazement. He and George are even ahead of Foxton and Buckler in the early-80s rhythm section sweepstakes, and if you know those names you know what I mean. But D. was the front man and he put it over the top, with guitar, vocals, and lyrics. They covered every base except maybe the old fashioned love song. The only downside here is the limitation to the CD version. The LP is still in print, still sounds flawless, and has all the songs. The pictures are bigger too! The price of a good second-hand turntable is justified to get the whole package, so make amazon.com stock the LP, and get it. My personal CDs are copies of that same old 17 year old LP, and I'm luckier than you are. I still remember the feeling I had when I heard about D. and I still can't believe this was supposed to be an answer to Husker Du's double album, and the Minutemen didn't even need a 14 minute instrumental to pad it out. Better than EXILE ON MAIN ST., better than THE BLANTON-WEBSTER BAND, better than THE SUN SESSIONS, better than PIANO QUINTET IN F MINOR OPUS 34. It's better than ROCKET TO RUSSIA!! If you don't understand, you lose."
San Pedro's Minutemen "jam econo."
Shotgun Method | NY... No, not *that* NY | 01/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The American post-punk/indie scene of the 1980's sure produced some great bands. Most of the bands took the minimalist, expressive, to-the-point ethos of punk and ran in different directions with it. (Early) REM's trade was in obscure vocals and folky, jangly music. Husker Du took hardcore punk and added catchy melodies and quirky lyricism to it. The Meat Puppets had their own odd brand of messy bluegrass-punk, while The Replacements crafted funny, poignant and sloppy garage rock that appealed to adolescent America. Finally, there are The Minutemen, who were way beyond simple genre classification. It's easier to describe this San Pedro trio in terms of what they were than what they were not. The Minutemen experimented with punk, funk, jazz improv, folk/country and God knows what else. Their songs, while fully formed, are models of brevity being no more than 1-2 minutes long. Mike Watt's lyrics were strange bits of beat poetry that spoke out on pop culture, commercialism, politics, and war, among other things (yet without being heavy-handed at all). Sometimes the Minutemen were wonderfully anachronistic--who else would write Vietnam protest songs in '84, or cover CCR when it was way un-hip to do so? In short, these guys were totally different from any band before or since. The closest band I can think of that might be similar is Wire during their Pink Flag era, but only in the minimalist philosophy, and that band's sound would end up going in a very different direction. So, the Minutemen basically defy comparison. Double Nickels On The Dime is one of punk's few double albums, a monument to intelligence and overflowing creativity. It is a platter of 43 (!) songs brimming with thought-provoking lyrics and great music that constantly shifts and jumps around, leaving the listener with little idea of what to expect. Some listeners would argue that Double Nickels On The Dime is uneven in places, and I agree, but in my opinion this adds to its charm. Guitarist D. Boon's (R.I.P.) unrefined yet expressive voice and stattaco leads and George Hurley's drums are accomplished, but the real show is bassist Mike Watt, who is one of my favorite bass players of all time. He just makes the instrument sound ALIVE--it pops, throbs, and dances under the music. No wonder why Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers emulates and admires him so.
Under all this, it's even more remarkable that the Minutemen were just average guys doing what they loved. "Our band could be your life," sings D. Boon on History Lesson Part 2, and there's no doubting his authenticity. The band's assertiveness and positive thinking makes all the whining of modern radio rawk seem even more contrived. I'd like to go on, but my words really can't do Double Nickels On The Dime justice. Just get it, listen to it, and think. Then you will understand why this opus ranks up there with Blonde On Blonde, The White Album, Exile On Main Street and Quadrophenia. Note: The CD version lacks Mr. Robot's Holy Orders and the Van Halen cover Ain't Talkin' Bout Love (to make a single CD). You can get both of these on the double vinyl, which is still in print and sounds great. But that won't work in the car, so now you have an excuse to buy TWO copies of this glorious album. Go for it."