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The Minutemen

The Minutemen were a punk rock band from San Pedro, California comprised of singer/guitarist D. Boon, bassist Mike Watt and drummer George Hurley[?]. They recorded in the late 1970s and early 1980s until the untimely death of D. Boon in December 1985. Influenced heavily by Wire and The Urinals, nearly all of their early songs were less than a minute long.

They originally called themselves The Reactionaries, and continued their penchant for ironic right-wing names when D. Boon picked the name Minutemen partly because of the fabled Revolutionary War militia, and partly because it had also been used by a right-wing reactionary group of the Sixties.

Greg Ginn of Black Flag and SST Records produced their first 45" EP, Paranoid Time, which solidified their eclectic style. At first, they completely avoided guitar solos, choruses, and fade-outs. Later, they were known for hybridizing punk rock with forms of jazz, funk, acid rock, and R&B in novel ways, perhaps best exemplified on 1984's double-album, Double Nickels on the Dime, which included over 50 songs. They experimented continuously with musical dynamics, rhythm, noise, and those traditional song elements that they had initially avoided. They also played covers of "classic rock" like Creedence Clearwater Revival and Blue Oyster Cult without irony, diverging dramatically from hardcore punk orthodoxy of the 1980s.

D. Boon and Mike Watt tended to write lyrics in the form of poetic rants often embued with progressive political messages or self-referential "spiels" about San Pedro. On Double Nickels, they co-wrote some songs with others, notably Henry Rollins, Chuck Dukowski, and Joe Baiza[?]. Surviving members Mike Watt (bass) and George Hurley (drums) played in Firehose and have done solo projects since.

Discography (all on SST Records except where noted)



Music videos

  • "This Ain't No Picnic" (from Double Nickels on the Dime, 1984)

Further Reading

  • Joe Carducci, Rock and the Pop Narcotic (Los Angeles: 2.13.61, 1993).
  • Michael Azerrad, Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes From the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 (USA: Little Brown, 2001).

External Link

  • Mike Watt's Hoot Page (http://www.hootpage.com/) (contains a lot of Minutemen information as well as Watt's other projects)

See Minutemen for information on U.S. Revolutionary War militia members.

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