Went to watch a documentary about The Minutemen, We Jam Econo, with Roger tonight. Archived gig footage interleaved with interviews — Watt driving his old white van around San Pedro plus dozens of conversations with musicians from in and around the early 80s SoCal punk scene.
The movie reminds you how awkward it is to use the word “punk” to describe The Minutemen — they get lumped in due to their energy and their label and their place in time, but really shared very little with typical punk bands — no mohawks, no punk uniform (check D. Boon’s ridiculous shoes for proof), little in the way of punk attitude. The Minutemen were never crass. They were more complex than that – political without being blunt, musically complex without making “music for musicians” (not that I think art music is bad, just saying The Minutemen weren’t about that). Artful without being arty. Humble, totally honest, real people making music that sounded like nothing that’s come before or since.
The interviews are great – a virtual who’s who of the SST scene, “including John Doe, Thurston Moore, Colin Newman, Ian MacKaye, Jello Biafra, Richards Hell and Meltzer, and a big chunk of Black Flag’s large revolving cast: Greg Ginn, Henry Rollins, Keith Morris, Kira Roessler, and Dez Cadena” (from Pathetic Caverns).
Not enough time spent on Double Nickels, easily the greatest album ever made in the history of humanity (don’t challenge me on that, even though I mean it). But compensated for it with some jaw-dropping acoustic footage (who knew?) — including Hurley on bongos.
Run, don’t walk.