Minutemen Biography

The Minutemen were a band from San Pedro, California, formed in 1980 by childhood friends Dennes "D." Boon (vocals, guitar) and Mike Watt (bass, vocals) following the break-up of their previous band, The Reactionaries. Although technically considered a punk rock band, the group frequently added elements of funk and jazz into their songs and would also incorporate classic rock covers into their records and live sets, most notably covering Steely Dan, Van Halen, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Blue Öyster Cult (the latter two were huge influences on a young Boon and Watt). The band was known for the brevity of their songs, freeing them from solos, choruses, breakdowns, and fade-outs. Also, D. Boon was known for his very trebly guitar tone, believing in a "democratic" sound, in which all instruments would sound distinct and be equally represented.

Boon and Watt had wanted to include Reactionaries drummer George Hurley when the Minutemen formed, but he had immediately joined another band following the Reactionaries demise, so instead they recruited a local welder named Frank Tonche to play drums. The Minutemen played their first show with Black Flag and the two bands would develop a close relationship. Tonche quit after the group's second show, disliking the punk audiences that the band played for, and Hurley opted to join the band (a collection of recordings with Tonche, called "Georgeless", was released on 7" vinyl in 1993). While D. Boon would sing the majority of the songs, all 3 members contributed to the songwriting. The band was extremely prolific, issuing 4 LPs and 6 EPs in 5 years, and also appearing a numerous compilations. Their 1984 double LP, "Double Nickels On The Dimes", is their most critically well-received release. Most of their work was issued via Black Flag's SST Records and the band's own label, New Alliance Records.

The Minutemen came to end on December 22, 1985, when D. Boon, at age 27, was killed in automobile accident in Arizona. The following year, a collection of live recordings called "Ballot Result" was released by SST. Following Boon's death, Watt sold New Alliance to SST Records. In 1987, a Minutemen fan named Ed Crawford encouraged Watt and Hurley to form a new band with him. The band, fIREHOSE, existed until 1994. Since then, Watt and Hurely have played with various bands and sessions and Watt has also released several solo albums. In 2005, Watt and Hurley reunited again in an improve rock group called Unknown Instructors.

A documentary on the band, called "We Jam Econo (The Story Of The Minutemen)", was released in 2005 and featured interviews with Watt and Hurley, along with a number of friends and contemporaries, including Chuck Dukowski, Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye, John Doe (2), Kira Roessler, and many others.

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