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The Minutemen

More than any other hardcore band, the Minutemen epitomized the free-thinking independent ideals that formed the core of punk/alternative music. Wildy eclectic and politically revolutionary, the Minutemen never stayed in one place too long; they moved from punk to free jazz to funk to folk at a blinding speed. And they toured and recorded at blinding speed; during the early '80s, they were constantly on the road, turning out records whenever they had a chance. Like their peers Black Flag, Hüsker Dü, R.E.M., Sonic Youth, and the Meat Puppets, the Minutemen built a large, dedicated cult following throughout the United States through their relentless touring. Like their fellow American indie bands, the trio was poised to break into the world of major labels in 1986, and they would have if it wasn't for the tragic death of guitarist/vocalist D. Boon in December of 1985. Even though bassist Mike Watt and drummer George Hurley carried on with fIREHOSE in the late '80s, the legacy of the Minutemen overshadowed the new band in the late '80s and early '90s, as the San Pedro trio influenced several generations of musicians.

D. Boon and Mike Watt began playing music when they were teenagers in the mid-'70s, covering '70s hard rock standards. After they graduated from high school in 1976, they heard their first punk rock records, which marked a significant change in their musical development. Once Boon and Watt heard punk, they began writing their own songs and decided to form their first full-fledged rock & roll band. In 1980, the pair assembled a quartet called the Reactionaries, which featured drummer Frank Tonche and a second guitarist. Within a few months, their second guitarist left and the band changed their name to the Minutemen, since most of their songs were not much longer than a minute in duration. They recorded one single with Tonche before he was replaced by George Hurley. After Hurley joined the band, the Minutemen recorded Paranoid Time, their first EP; the record was released on SST Records in 1981. From the start, the band was eclectic and political, but they didn't find their voice until their first full-length album, 1981's The Punch Line.

Following the release of The Punch Line, the Minutemen embarked on a punishing touring schedule, driving across America and playing any city where they could get a gig. They were recording frequently, too. All of their major records appeared on SST Records, but they also issued selected tracks and EPs for other independent labels, beginning with 1982's Bean-Spill EP, which appeared on Thermidor Records. The band's second full-length album, 1983's What Makes a Man Start Fires?, earned them considerable critical acclaim throughout the underground and alternative press. Later in 1983, they released their third album, Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat.

By the end of 1983, the Minutemen had become one of the most popular bands in the American underground, a status they only built upon during 1984. That year, they delivered the double album Double Nickels on the Dime. The length of the album was a response to Hüsker Dü's 1984 double album Zen Arcade, but the expanded length gave the group an opportunity to stretch out and showcase their increasing musical depth and vision. Double Nickels on the Dime was a considerable underground hit, earning substantial college radio play and critical praise; many critics named it one of the best albums of the year. Also in 1984, the band released a collection of outtakes and unreleased material called The Politics of Time on New Alliance Records.

Throughout 1985, the Minutemen churned out recordings, beginning with the Tour-Spiel EP on Reflex Records. It was followed by the cassette-only retrospective My First Bells, which was released on SST. After My First Bells, the group issued another EP, Project Mersh, which featured covers of "commercial" arena rock bands plus several long original "spiels." Around the same time, the group recorded the Minuteflag EP, a one-off collaboration with Black Flag. Finally, the Minutemen released the full-length follow-up to Double Nickels on the Dime, 3-Way Tie (For Last), toward the end of the year. Like its predecessor, 3-Way Tie (For Last) received overwhelming positive reviews, including notices in mainstream publications.

In December of 1985, D. Boon and his girlfriend were driving home from the house of one of her relatives when they were involved in a fatal automobile accident. For the first part of 1986, Mike Watt and George Hurley tried to decide whether they would continue playing music. During this time, the live Ballot Result was compiled and released. After a few months, both Watt and Hurley had decided to quit music when they were convinced to continue playing by a passionate Minutemen fan and guitarist called Ed Crawford. Watt, Hurley, and Crawford formed fIREHOSE in 1986 and later in the year, the new band released their debut album, Ragin', Full-On. fIREHOSE toured and recorded for the next seven years, signing with the major label Columbia in 1991. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Jesus, these guys were amazing...
When ever i wanted to turn on my stoners buddy's to punk. I play the Minutemen.
I met Mike Watt about 10 years ago after a show. He was a real DIKHEAD. Bummer....I used to be really into the Minutemen.
armsbyned
It's also pretty inaccurate to call them a hardcore band. Punk and hardcore are not the same thing. They had very few songs that could be called hardcore but they were more punk than half the hardcore bands out there who thought they were punk just because they played fast music.
armsbyned
umm, Pandora? Don't want to be that guy but the name of the band is Minutemen, not The Minutemen. Since they were one of the most important bands to establish what would become post-punk, it's a little bit perplexing that Pandora would get this wrong.

Also jh_81071 your dad was a bad-a** drummer.
jh_81071
My dad was George hurley
Nice job, liked the drums and their own take on old CCR tune
the documentary said they used to think string tension on their guitars was a matter of preference. I like tight strings, I like loose strings, they would say.
What a strange band. I cannot sink my teeth into any part of them thus far... BUT THEY DO STAND OUT FROM THE PACK !!
Just about the furthest thing from a hardcore band...
So underrated! Great Band!
iwas a pre ster ya nuf was done be alive to astir ceartain
D Boon. Are van could be your life. I'm sorry but everything since Double Nickels that's ever happened has been a letdown. Maybe partying will help. Jam Econo. Remember how leftist D was. He was right abount Reagan/Busch Mario Blanco CIA pipeline to LAX. Freeway Ricky Ross the rise of crack the black wealth exodus from Compton and the Billions made on Crack and the devalued property from their own crack and media offensive. A guy wrote a boom about this but he is dead. Bob Dylan wrote propaganda
d boon's birthday is april fool's day. and that is easy to remember.
SICKNESS
i never gave a damn about the meter man, until i was the one watching the meters, man.
vbuckethead
Pedro....Pog o . . . C o r n d o g . . . . . . . . .
Sweeeeeeeeee e e t n e s s .
Here comes the line!!!
Scientist Rock!
bric-a-brac- a - f i r e c r a c k a !
sis-boom-bah !
minutemen! minutemen!
RAH! RAH! RAH!
Double Nickles is one of my most favorit-est 'albums' of all time and agreed, very unique quirky, mad sound. What was cool back in the day was absolutely nobody listened to the minutemen around me in Boston....ma d e it even better. Met Mike Watt about 10 yrs.ago - he turned out to be an a**.
sbholl84
I was not a fan of the Minutemen when I first heard them. I just couldn't get their sound. But now I do. Their impassioned lyrics, DIY ethic and completely unique take on punk really makes them a classic. It's sad that they had to end so soon, but I'm grateful for what they did.
What a claasic band with classic ideas,wow now that's something lacking today in the music world today!
Our Van Could Be Yer Wife.... Anyhow I had a civic named "the deerslayer" as I had taken out 2 deer with it. The deerslayer had Double Nickels stuck in it's cassette deck for 2 years. I was drivin' 12 hour runs back in forth from Oberlin to Vermont and I never even thought about tryin' to get the greatest album of all times unstuck. Livecono - US out of VT - The King Of Vermont. At the wholeness it's way to big.
captainpylan t h e s
Some of the best punk i've heard.
milosdad
I only recently got into them. My punk tastes were pretty narrow when I was a kid and preffered the Ramones, clash, Kennedys, Televison & Patti Smith. Love these guys now though. Really enjoy the their sense of humor and the varied song structures.
According to Pandora the only song they every released was Political Straightjack e t . It's the only one that every plays...
jpattillo2
Punk rock changed my life, too.
The minutemen are one of the most Influential cutting edge bands of the DIY movement.
One of the most inspirationa l bands in my opinion. There's a fine line between being unique and accepted but The Minutemen proved this wrong.
Bofus!
Iron fist philosophy.
this band is harsh and gutteral one syllable anglo-saxon.
This band is scientist rock.
very nice.
mmmmcheetos and tequila.
ih8mydomainb l a
cooool band man
three way tie is the best rock album ever made

and yes,i said rock,not punk...three way tie beats all other genres of rock and all other bands material,han d s down

double nickels,i wanna say its the best punk album ever,but its not a punk album...its so varied

by far the best band to have ever existed

RIP boon,i miss you more for having never been able to know you
bromide01
My mother is a record shop employee. So you better not talk about record shop employees.
carlsondul2
If I were stranded on a dessert island, I'd eat a lot of chocolate!
You find me a better punk record and I'll find you a record shop employee who isn't an a**hole.
poop on my mom
bromide01
Never a fan.
I second the desert-islan d sentiment -- because for me another trip through Double Nickels never fails to make me feel more myself -- my bravest, most alive and feeling true self. In other words, a centering, grounding kind a thing. (Sounds weirdly hippy-dippy, for which I apologize... . but that's the best way I can describe it.)
thetracys
Just a quick correction on the bio. They did not call themselves the minutemen because of the length of most of their songs. According to Mike Watt, it was a reference to the colonial minutemen and other things. If I were stranded on a desert island (with electricity and a cd player), double nickel would be the only cd I would want.
punk! husker du, butthole surfers, dead kennedys, ramones, dead boys, vibrators, mc5, new york dolls,... The minutemen are in thier own class - a talented trio who had style, sound, energy, and fun. thanx you guys - fifty years old and still doing the pogo!
Back when it was punk rock, not watered down wanna be green day chit.
they influenced great bands that I love like Sublime and Bargain Music, plus San Pedro is just a cool place to hang
udub_tsp
working men are pissed.
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