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New documentary film on the Minutemen

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Not the revolutionary war Minutemen, it's about the early-1980s band from San Pedro. They started out hardcore punk but later developed a unique sound. The singer D. Boon died in a car accident in 1985. Bass player Mike Watt still plays frequently with his great new band.

Schedule and more here:


I love the Minutemen! I bought Double Nickels on the Dime and Black Flag's Damage when I was in high school for 2 reasons, to consciously divert myself from the musical path my friends were all taking (Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Phil Collins) and to piss off my parents. Damage did the trick of pissing off my parents, but I really fell in love with the Minutemen, they led me down the rabbit hole and I never looked back. They were the first band that captured for me the anger I felt about the state of the world. I saw the last tour before D Boon died, and sadly, I had no appreciation for what I had seen until about 10 years later. I think of them when we drive to Palm Springs and pass San Pedro. I just watched the trailer on the link and got all teary. I think I'll go home and listen to double nickels!


Another great thing about the band is that they had the guts to forge their own sound and broke away from the short and fast hardcore song formula (which I think is how they got their name because their songs originally were all about a minute long). Listening to their last album "3-Way Tie For Last" (which has some brilliant songs among some so-so ones) it seems like they were on the verge of making it big right when D. Boon died.

And their message seems to be still very relevant today, for example songs like "Political Nightmare" and "Just Another Soldier".

Yeah, it sounds like it's a great documentary. Might be a little tricky finding a screening, but I understand there's going to be a DVD that packs in almost twice the number of songs shown (all in full - no clips) on the film version.

Mike Watt's hootpage is always inspiring reading, particularly the tour diaries that date back many years. What happened to Watt after the Minutemen stopped is a fascinating story in itself. Worthy of another doc!


Trader Woody

I did see firehose a bunch of times in the late 80's and early 90's. They were always great, pretty manic! Mike Watt seemed to channel his anger over D. Boone's death into the music, and at the sound guy at the club.

Recently I've been listening to older Sonic Youth, and I love the song that is Mike Watt leaving a message for Thurston Moore, re: the bag of dope Thurston apparently lost in their van. It reminds me of the days of my youth, when you could just walk right up to guys in bands and start talking about music! The minutemen always seemed like regular guys to me.

Yeah, the Minutemen were one of the best. D. Boon's untimely death hit me like a hammer. Double Nickel still gets played around here (along with Mike Watt's Contenplating The Engine Room). Thanks for the post Jab.

[ Edited by: Shipwreckjoey on 2005-06-07 17:19 ]


I just couldn't get into Firehose. That Ed guy gave me the creeps.
I remember seeing the Minutemen play at McCabes Guitar shop not too long after D. Boone had died.
I can't remember who stood in and played for D. Boone, his guitar stood on stage propped up against his amp all night, so alone.
Ray Manzarek opened for them.
It was a incredibly sad and somber night, everyones hearts were broken and still beeding.
About a year ago Mike and George reunited playing Minutemen songs, songs they hadn't played in almost 20 years.
We went and saw them in Pedro, there on stage stood a much older (and thinner) Mike Watt his thunderstick and George with his drums. It was an amazing show.
When they'd get to where D. Boone would have had a solo in the song, the stage would fall silent, no one played a thing, not a note.
The funny thing is, I could hear every single note in my head just as if D. Boone was playing on that stage, where he should have been. But he wasn't, and my heart was still broken...

[ Edited by: DawnTiki on 2005-06-08 07:47 ]

The Minutemen are one of my all time faves. I had a writer ask me what would be the five albums I'd want to have if stranded on a desert island and without hesitation I mentioned "Double Nickels on the Dime." Thanks, The Jab for posting this. I hope to make one of the screenings at Yerba Buena (before my soul collapses into a big guilt wad).

-Weird Unc

So, has anyone gone to see this? It's wrapping up at YBCA in SF this Thursday, and I'm going to try to drag myself to it!
But the reality is, I may be too pregnant to relive my punk rock glory days, and will have to see how I feel. Hopefully it will be out on DVD? If anyone has seen it, and highly recommends seeing it with a great sound system, please let me know, and I'll make the effort!

Mrs. Pineapple


Mrs. P, I'm going tomorrow night at 7:00.

We're going to attempt to see it Thursday, depending on how tired I am that day...

otherwise, it's netflix, baby!

nice link :)

I hope its more accurate of the scene back then than 'The Decline of Western Civilization' was.


I saw it last night. The movie was:

Insightful - The Minutemen were a mysterious band, and the movie really does a good job at revealing what they were all about through numerous interviews with the band and friends.

Inspirational - They formed a band with no musical knowledge (Mike Watt revealed that he thought a bass had the same strings as a guitar but just one fewer) and managed to develop a unique sound, and they didn't care about getting famous or rich - they are the ultimate example of DIY.

Exciting - There was lots of live footage of the band in all different size shows, from the Cathay de Grande to Irvine Meadows, and in all cases entire songs were shown uncut (many of their songs are short so they could pack a lot of tunes in the movie).

On 2005-07-26 18:45, Tiki_Bong wrote:
I hope its more accurate of the scene back then than 'The Decline of Western Civilization' was.

The movie is nothing like the Decline as that movie attempted to cover the hardcore scene while We Jam Econo only profiles one band - a band that were considered by many to be outside the scene because they didn't sound and dress punk (under a narrow definition of punk). Looking back they were more like the original punks (from the Seeds to the Stooges to the Sex Pistols) than many other bands because they invented a new sound instead of merely copying, which is so rare these days.

Go see it! Even if you missed out on the band in the 80s I think you'll like the movie. It's playing one more night tonight in SF and tonight in Portland for one night, then it plays around the country. It will play again in LA on 9/30-10/6.


Thanks Jab, I don't know if we're going to make it to SF tonight. I'm really hoping the dvd will come out, and I can see it. I'll look for it though. I've been listening to double nickels in the car the last week, and it's pretty cool how smart these guys were. I have in my head, right this second, the Minutemen version of Steely Dan's 'Dr. Wu'. I'm not even sure if I can appropriately gauge the irony of them covering this song. But who cares!


I hope it comes out on DVD because I'lll buy a copy.

One of my favorite parts in the movie was this "unplugged" set where they were filmed playing seated close together on a stage with D. Boon on electric guitar, Mike Watt on acoustic guitar, and George Hurley on bongos! When they played "I Felt Like a Gringo" it was brilliant!

Back in the day, my band (Mind Over Four) opened up for the Minutemen at a joint called the Anticlub on Melrose in Hollyhood. As a drummer I was blown away by George Hurley's ability and creativeness and proceeded to steal several of his chops for use on subsequent MO4 albums. Can't wait to see the movie!

[ Edited by: tikitortured 2005-08-09 17:52 ]

On 2005-08-09 17:51, tikitortured wrote:
Back in the day, my band (Mind Over Four) opened up for the Minutemen at a joint called the Anticlub on Melrose in Hollyhood. As a drummer I was blown away by George Hurley's ability and creativeness and proceeded to steal several of his chops for use on subsequent MO4 albums. Can't wait to see the movie!

[ Edited by: tikitortured 2005-08-09 17:52 ]

Was I at that show? I can't remember anymore. I know I saw you guys somewhere, & I would hang out at the Anti-Club back then, & I loved the Minutemen, so that might've been it.

Yeah, you were probably there. Everyone who was anyone was there...and you are someone, so the answer is yes, you were there.

I got his e-mail from Mike Watt's newsletter, thought I'd share it with people who are interested:

from: mike watt
Date: Apr 26, 2006 8:12 AM
Subject: upcoming "we jam econo" double-dvd minutemen documentary

upcoming "we jam econo" double-dvd minutemen documentary


(pre-order info at the above link)

the dvd is almost ready! here are the details:

release date: june 27th, 2006

two-disc dvd set with over 5 hours of interviews, live performances
and archival footage!

disc 1:

  • feature "we jam econo" - the story of the minutemen (90min)
  • original music videos for: "this ain't no picnic," "ack ack ack
    ack" and "king of the hill"
  • 19 deleted scenes and interviews
  • uncut bard college interview (56min)
  • english subtitles for the hearing impaired

disc 2:

62 live songs from three full performances:

  • the starwood los angeles, ca - november 18th, 1980 (includes
    multi-angle feature)

  • 9:30 club washington, d.c. - 1984

  • acoustic blowout (cable access show) - hollywood, ca - 1985

  • 16-page booklet with full color photos, flyers, filmmaker notes and
    liner notes by david rees, creator of get your war on.

format: ntsc
encoding: all regions (0)

this package is almost three and half times longer than the "we jam
econo" feature now showing in theatres

myspace "we jam econo" place:

--> please forward this to everywhere you see fit!

While looking for more info on the Minutemen DVD I found several long lost EPs recorded by the Minutemen back in '79 (as The Reactionaries) & '80 (The "Georgeless" EP, recorded with original Drummer Frank Tonche), plus various other recordings of the Minutemen and related side projects. All have Mike's OK to be downloaded.


Good Minutemen/firehose memories:
#1 playing a live radio show at Ucsd right before firehose played at the triton pub and George and Mike looked into the studio and gave me the thumbs up while we were playing
#2 Recording an album at Radio Tokyo with Ethan James and seeing our master tapes on top of firehose's Ragin Full On master
#3 borrowing a stack of firehose stickers from Radio Tokyo before SST made them available
#4 Opening for firehose at the Music machine fundraiser for kxlu and seeing Mike watt's piece of shit van and thinking how cool it was that I had a better car and I was only 18 and far less famous.
#5 Going to Splat's house and seeing the original paintings by D. Boon for Project Mersh and Three way tie. Splat was a childhood friend of D's and had all kinds of D Boon art stuff lying around. He also had a ton of bootlegs.
#6 Having Ethan James sign my copy of Buzz or Howl under the influence of heat on vinyl
#7 Wearing my Roar of the masses could be farts tshirt when I was the best man at my friends wedding. The shirt lasted longer than the marriage.
#8 Listening to my crazy friend Tom talk about the CIA killing D boon because of the whole USA Out of central america thing. He told me in 86 that Jello Biafra was next.
#9 first time I heard King of the Hill
#10 Working at a record store and opening the box from SST and seeing Double Nickels on the Dime on CD for the first time
I love the Minutemen...

It made it to cable

Sundance Channel: We Jam Econo

Dec 11 & 22

I rented We Jam Econo on DVD from netflix, it was good!

Thanks KB the 33rd!

Gavin posted on Thu, Dec 1, 2011 7:56 AM

It's also available on Instant Netflix.
First time I saw them they opened for Black Flag at the Starwood.

From We Got Power Films FaceBook post
"Sad news to report, We Jam Econo filmmaker Keith Schieron has passed away. Condolences to his family and friends."

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