In the time it takes you to read this sentence, The Minutemen could have recorded five new songs -- and that number would be even higher if the band hadn't broken up over a decade ago
*special introductory paragraph!
*Paranoid Time EP
*The Punch Line EP
*Joy EP
*Bean Spill EP
*What Makes A Man Start Fires?
*Post-Mersh, Vol. 1
*Buzz Or Howl Under The Influence Of Heat EP
*The Politics Of Time
*Double Nickels On The Dime
*Tour-Spiel EP
*Post-Mersh, Vol. 3
*Project: Mersh EP
*Post-Mersh, Vol. 2
*3-Way Tie (For Last)
*Ballot Result

Guitarist/singer/songwriter/obeseman D. Boon, good as all heck bassist/songwriter/occasional singer Mike Watt and drummer George Hurley: Them's The Minutemen! They were a part of that old L.A. punk rock scene of the early 80s, but they totally stood apart from the louder, faster gang with their unique, standalone, unlike anybody else approach and sound. Guitar? Nearly distortion-free. Bass? Extremely note-heavy and VERY creative. Voice? Tuneless lower class urban wooden shack living stout beer drinking shout. Songs? Short, usually fast but not violently so, and very often AMAXING. An amaxingly good band. With lots of amaxing songs. If you're looking for some amaxing music, look no further away from your own TV set than the amaxing power trio Thee Minutemen (Featuring Billy Childish).

Paranoid Time EP - SST 1980.
Rating = 9

If you're looking for an amaxing EP, fkjlae;w

Hey! My neighbor just busted in the window and kicked my ass out of disrespect for my hilarious ongoing "amaxing" series of humorous typographical comedy! But as I was saying before we were so rudely interrupted by that Animals reunion album, this first Minutemen EP features seven tiny high-speed punk rock anthems with more fast-action bass notes than you suck a stick at! No disrespect for the late D. Boon, who died in an auto accident at an early age, but bassist Mike Watt was fucking incredible (still is). Still makes me wonder if all the other punk bassists in town felt like a bunch of nimrods next to him. He just tore up the place - such power, speed and smarts, all wrapped up in these compact full-of-changes little songs.

Lyrically I'd say we're looking political here, though none of the songs feature a whole lot of words (they're REALLY short songs, hence the name "Minutemen," see) - classic poems like "Fascist," "Joe McCarthy's Ghost" and "Sickles And Hammers" cry out against an unfair America. Except "Sickles And Hammers," which is an instrumental. Perhaps you know the Sebadoh cover?

If I didn't know that they were from California, I would guess that this EP was created by a bunch of woodsman who played punk rock to let off steam after a hard day of chopping logs. It's so loose, wiry, insane and GRUFFLY shouted at you. But since I know they were from California, I instead picture them as a bunch of scruffy out-of-shape flannel-wearing guys who live next door to Cheech & Chong. It's a completely unique and exciting sound, unlike any other punk band I've ever heard. Definitely try to find a copy now! (or buy Post-Mersh, Vol. 3, which features the whole EP plus 39 additional songs!)

Reader Comments

malester@cpuinc.net (Glenn Lester)
I was waiting forever for Prindle to review this here band. The first EP has three amazing songs (the same three that Mark mentioned in his review!) and four really good ones. The singing is iffy, but it would improve on subsequent releases. Sounds kinda like funkdafied Wire. 7.

Melodically and rhythmically more challenging and imaginative than any punk rock had ever been before, "Paranoid Time" is a good EP. So good, in fact, that I like it. Inasmuch as I'm writing like a 'Tard, I'd like to point out that "Validation" is right up there next to "Gates of Delirium" and "No, All!" as one of the best songs of all time. Thppppp...

(Brain degenerates into a "Flowers for Algernon"-like state)

Add your thoughts?

The Punch Line EP - SST 1981.
Rating = 8

Tappity tappity tappity! I love to type! Tappity tappity tappity! My fingers hit the keys and my happiness reaches my knees! Tappity tappity tappity! I'd give this EP a very low 8. The Minutemen have added other influences into their sound already - this is less punk, more funk and jagged, angular rock. The songs are still tiny, of course (18 songs in 16 minutes), but even as small as they are, some of them come across as strikingly directionless (see "Issued" and "Warfare" for a couple of examples), with no memorable bass, guitar or vocal parts to slap a hammy onto.

Okay, so let's stress this: these guys don't have beautiful voices. So if you're just trying to get into the Minutemen, you're probably going to be looking for either cool guitar parts or cool bass parts. But D. Boon on the guitar generally just scratches around at minor chords, tossing in a few chimey notes here and there. So now you're left with cool bass lines (unless you're a drum fiend - this guy tears up a blue streak on the drums). Mike Watt is a mindbogglingly intriguing bassist, but he doesn't pull out the stops on every single song on here. So some of them, left to their own devices, are just kind of... ehh. Dull. PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT I REALIZE THAT THERE IS MORE TO THE MINUTEMEN THAN JUST BASS LINES. I do. But I'm talking here to people who've never heard the Minutemen and I want them to listen to how great the bass lines are. After that, it's easy to learn to love the gruff shouts and scrankledy-dankle guitarwork.

Lyrically, more political stuff. But shrunk down into just barely connected words and phrases, as if they cut out all the unimportant words in the process of shrinking 3-minute songs to 50-second songs. Example: "Objects material possessive unreal circles and games contradicting lies why see yourself I know it's your ego". That was an entire song.

So that's what I think! Also let me add that it's necessary to listen really closely to each individual song or they all end up sounding exactly the same. `Tis the nature of an indie three-piece that chooses to end songs just as they've begun!

One other thing: How's about a Stinky?

Yeah I don't know why I wrote that either. It's still really early in the morning and I just woke up.

Okay it's almost 2 in the afternoon. But I still just woke up. Important public figures such as myself keep different hours than all you normal people.

Okay it's Saturday. Why are you going out of your way to make me feel so pathetic?

Reader Comments

kookadams@hotmail.com (Josh Adams)
You said that that album is 'less punk', but I beg to differ. There's no band that was more punk than the Minutemen. In the words of D. Boon "punk is whatever we made it to be"; although many bands of that time and even some bands today played way more aggressive, irritating music there's no band that contributed more to what was hardcore that the legendary Minutemen. Every album except some of the songs on the last two from '85 (Project: Mersh, Three Way Tie) was fucking amazing. I saw Mike Watt and George Hurley at the All Tomorow Parties festival in Long Beach and I don't think there's anything more classic punk than that.

Add your thoughts?

Joy EP - SST 1987.
Rating = 8

If there's a shorter "EP" in the world, I don't want to know about it. This is three songs in three minutes, recorded in 1981 (not sure why it didn't come out until '87). More of what you'd expect (and good!) - the notable track here is "More Joy," which appears to be the most fully developed song they've yet recorded. It has like four different parts! And it's still only 1:07 long!

When I say "1:07" in this context, I'm referring to the song being one minute and seven seconds long. If I were referring to my penis as "1:07," I would of course mean one mile and seven yards long.

And I suppose my penis might also have like four different parts, but I can't see the entire thing.

Reader Comments

"joy" did come out in 1981, but on new alliance, the minutemen's own label. the sst version is a reissue.

I'd love to see the look on the guy's face who bought this EP, put it in the CD player, hit play, went to take a leak, and came back to find silence. I remember I turned it into a game - I'd see if I could finish taking a piss in less time than it takes to listen to "Song For El Salvador" (0:30) from "The Punch Line". Try it! It's fun! Who's ever successfully done that?

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh NO ONE! (No One) I SAID NO ONE! (No One) I'M TALKIN BOUT NO ONE!

Add your thoughts?

Bean Spill EP - Thermidor 1982.
Rating = 9

Stylistic diversity! Goes from a walking-bass jazz tune to high-speed punk rock to forboding midtempo rock to almost poppish alt-rock to jagged, edgy Minutement irkitude and back to high-speed punk rock - all within the span of five songs and six minutes! This bodes well for the future. These Minutemen are no one-trick pony, regardless of D. Boon's unpleasantly scratchy, high-pitched guitar tone. A great EP - best since their debut. Exciting, rhythmic and builds to an explosive climax! Bean Spill? More like PEEN Spill, if you ask me!

Reader Comments

wschatz@hotmail.com (sydenham lowriders group)
i am very surprised you didnt even mention the label art.

(for those who haven't got TV : a Raymond Pettibon drawing of a naked man with a hard-on. The centre hole of the record is located right over where his bunghole would be)

This album also happens to feature the greatest lyrics ever written by any band ever. Futurism Restated goes:
The wheel is an extension of the foot.
The wheel is an extension of the foot.
Take off!

Add your thoughts?

What Makes A Man Start Fires? - SST 1982.
Rating = 8

In this outrageous outing, the Minutemen prove that they are just as capable of screwing around with slower tempos and traditional chord/note structures as they are at annihilating punkish principles. With D. attempting actual "singing" on some tracks, as well as contributing more tuneful guitarwork (though still with the scratchy tone - don't worry, Steve Albini fans!), Mike Watt isn't forced to play 58 bajillion notes a second to keep the songs of interest to fans of music. However, the songs themselves are just as odd as always - just in a less openly bizarre way. One off-kilter melody will suddenly jerk into another in a different key and tempo, then there will be some ridiculous break, a new melody will begin and then WHAM! Song over. Similar to what they've always done, but so trickily close to "normal" jazz/funk/rock music (especially in the oft-sterile, lifeless production in tracks like "Sell Or Be Sold") that you just want to play it for all the Steely Dan and Dire Straits fans in the world and see how irritated they get by the band's constant refusal to offer a payoff or catharsis of any sort. Song starts, you start groovin, song changes, song ends - ARGH!

Having said that to you, I should add that the songs are at least SLIGHTLY longer on this outing, probably just due to the slower tempos (there are a FEW punkers on here, like "Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs," but most of them aren't of that ilk). "The Anchor" even reaches the 2:30 mark!

By the way, it occurred to me while listening to this album that the Minutemen were probably a huge influence on Nomeansno. Same next-door-neighbor-yelling vocals, busy drums, emphasis on bass lines and high-pitched, ear-piercing guitars. Not to mention that both bands are three-pieces and if you mix up the letters in "Minutemen" and replace a bunch of them, you get "Nomeansno."

Reader Comments

How is there no comment for this album? Oh well I think this album is great. I just love the all there stuff, all so creative and original. But mainly I just thought that this album is too great not to have a comment on it.

Jeffery Hoelscher
OK, Timothy (or Carroll, whatever your name is), here's another comment.

This is my favorite Minutemen record. I know it's supposed to be Double... but it isn't. It's only for personal reasons: friend's apartment; staring at cramped lyrics and funny d. boon drawings; etc. It's also because of the cover. I like sparsity and the brown/red is a nice color. And it's also a beautiful record. No clunkers unlike the three times as long doublenickelsonthedime. For instance, "You Need the Glory" isn't really necessary. Not bad, just not great. Though the long one on 2x5cents ("Little Man...") is better than "The Anchor" but that's only because it's super great whereas "The Anchor" is only really great. But then it's not on the CD so...

Add your thoughts?

Post-Mersh, Vol. 1 - SST 1987.
Rating = 8

If you want The Minutemen's entire studio output, don't be upset by all these EPs and such! All you have to do is buy all three Post-Mersh compilations + Double Nickels and 3-Way Tie. And you're in like (Larry) Flynt! This particular Post-Mersh collection features The Punch Line and What Makes A Man Start Fires?

And it's AWFUL! The worst CD of all time!

Add your thoughts?

Buzz Or Howl Under The Influence Of Heat EP - SST 1983.
Rating = 8

Eight songs and a snajblap! The Minutemen continue to put forth their finest ale in what we have come to entitle "funk/jazz/punk/rock" - a genre normally inhabited by humorless outlaws such as Saccharine Trust and Gone. I don't know much about those two bands, but I'd like to go on record as assuming that they are "humorless outlaws," in violent opposition to the "humorous inlaws" that are the Minutemen. This particular CD gives us some more herky-jerky funkass rhythms of pain, some bass lines to marry your daughter to ("The Product!"), some solid, real-life musical expression ("Little Man With A Gun In His Hand" could almost be a big hit on alternative FM radio!), a hilarious drug tale or two ("I Felt Like A Gringo") and a couple of experiments that don't quite ring good to my seminal ears of musicianship appreciation. One is a "free jazz" track and another is some sort of pointless joke about toes. I will not offer you their titles as they will reveal themselves to you soon enough, as Armageddon creeps upon us.

The Minutemen do not need to apologize for anything. They made great music - ORIGINAL music. And they were about as diverse as they could be without changing their guitar and bass tones a single tiny bit. This EP even includes some trumpet, recorder and female vocals! This was a masterpiece of shittinly cuba goodingness!!!

Reader Comments

fowler1968@yahoo.com (Trent)
We all went down to our first punk show from suburban Houston aruond the age of 16. I remember it as a tour for Buzz or Howl but this was 85 and the dates don't match. Anyway, the fact that I still have the flyer from the show backs me up.

Houston. Mid-eighties. MTV is still big shit. Scorpions, and Ratt. That's what was on the radio. All we could do was listen to oldies AM. It was so bad, one of the guys in the hood started to borrow money to bring in acts like Black Flag, Channel 3, and a bunch of others that came in a blur from the spring of 85 to the end of the summer or so. He actually went on to some notoriety, managing the Buttholes and Chili Peppers, unfortunately ending in some rather public lawsuits I believe. Ah, well. The lad twas always good for bumming a cigarette.

After hearing What Makes A Man Start Fires once, I went down with the rest of the guys to the nefarious dowtown strip that is lower Westheimer. The club the Minutemen were at was an old converted stripper bar dubbed The International Club. I think for around 5 bucks we jammed in to that bastard so tight there was no room to pogo, let alone move. Mind you, this is Houston in April and those cheap bastards with no AC roasted our sorry asses. It was so hot by the end of the show that sweat was rolling from the inside of the windows.

Right in line with that kind of intensity, the Minutemen were solid, in your face, and completely with in reach; mentally, physically, what ever. Four to five feet away. Music from the folks for the folks. A show that was undeniably played honestly and heartfelt, and with a bit of boot in it.

I've heard similar experiences that other people have had. Recently, Henry Rollins talking about seeing his first Ramones gig and relating afterwards that EVERYONE that went to that show went on to play in bands.

I really suck at guitar. Just don't have the focus, I guess, so I'm not going to kid you that I rock the Holiday Inn five nights a week, but that Minutemen show had a definite effect on the 10 or so guys that went. More subversive... what ever little catch phrase you want to give to taking a little more alert outlook on life, but that was a mighty moment. The power of rock and roll and all that goofy shit. What Makes A Man Start Fires, Buzz or Howl, and Double Nickels. That is the core of what this band did best. Intelligent, passionate, goofy, sincere.

Add your thoughts?

The Politics Of Time - New Alliance 1984.
Rating = 5

Not good! Starts off with some neato studio tracks, but then devolves into a bunch of hideously recorded live material. Sub-bootleg quality garbage. You can hardly even hear what they're playing. I'm not sure what their intentions were in releasing this bunch of unlistenable shit, but let this be a lesson to all of you young rock musicians out there - don't release a bunch of hideously taped masturbatory cock douche fucking ass popsicle.

Or I'll FUCK ya!

Reader Comments

Colin T.
who cares about sound quality... what are you - a pussy? listen to these boys play! that's energy! makes me wanna be there like a good live record should. gotta believe!

Add your thoughts?

* Double Nickels On The Dime - SST 1984. *
Rating = 10

A double-album featuring more great songs than most bands write in their entire career. There are 43 tracks on here and, at least in my opinion, a good 33 of them are so fucking great, I can't even smell straight when I think about them. The others have their moments too! Enough of them, in fact, that this album constantly makes rock critics' "Best Albums Of The 80s" lists.

So what does it sound like? Well, it's definitely the most accessible record that The Minutemen had done up until this point. Most of the songs sound like they darn near BELONG on your favorite classic rock station! Only difference is that they're a little bit faster, a little bit shorter and a little bit less vocally tuneful than your Bad Companies and Eddie Monies. To be more specific, a lot of this album sounds like funk rock - like a more stripped-down and less macho Red Hot Chili Peppers type sound. But so HOOKY! And as the album continues on its merry way, you discover that it's NOT solely a hooky funk rock record; it's got acoustic artistry, gorgeous popcraft, angry straight-up rockers, jazzy bassual expressions and even some almost dubby-type ganja stuff. Plus, D. Boon must have been taking guitar lessons or something, because his instrument is responsible for a great deal of the interestingness on the album. He also plays a shitload of solos, but I'm going to let that pass for the moment.

What else can I tell you. The production is spectacular for an indie release (hell, it would be spectacular for a MAJOR LABEL release from 1983!), with all three instruments (four if you consider a voice to be an instrument, as some do) taking the foreground with power, drive and tons of talent (except for the voice if you consider the voice to be an instrument, as dogs doo). There's also a shimload of great song titles, including "Do You Want New Wave Or Do You Want The Truth?," "Shit From An Old Notebook," "Political Song For Michael Jackson To Sing," "Maybe Partying Will Help," "God Bows To Math," "The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts," "There Ain't Shit On T.V. Tonight" and "The World According To Nouns."

I'm taken. You should be too. No, it's not a PERFECT record from start to finish, but with 43 songs, it hardly has to be! Just skip that stupidass "#1 Hit Song" and a couple of D.'s uglier attempts at hitting actual singing notes and man, you'll be living the good life. 74 minutes of listener-friendly funk rock!

And that's my review of Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation. Thanks for tuning in!

And that's my review of Husker Du's Zen Arcade. Thanks for stopping by!

Reader Comments

Very good album. Awesome stuff on here, like "History Lesson Part II", "Corona" (Theme song to the MTV show "Jackass" surprizingly), the beautiful awesome acoustic finger pickin' instrumental "Cohesion", "Glory Of Man", definatly the best place to start with the Minutemen to get into them. Full of all different kinds of shit within 43 tracks (more for your buck as well). 10/10.

malester@cpuinc.net (Glenn Lester)
Shiiiiiiiiiit!!! One of the best albums of all time. Consistently amazing songs, funny-yet-sometimes-serious lyrics ("If we heard mortar shells/we'd cuss more in our songs/and cut down on the guitar solos" (followed by a badass guitar solo)), and the just mentioned badass guitar solos. D. Boon could say so much in such a short time. Damn, almost every song is great, but particular favorites 'o mine are "Shit From An Old Notebook," "Viet Nam," "My Heart And The Real World," "The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts," "Spillage," "No Exchange," "Theatre Is The Life Of You." God, what a great album. 10.

10 all the way!! This band was amazing. And that song "Corona" makes me wanna cry.

Double nickels on the dime is indeed a very good album. But personally feel it is lacking something. And also as talented as the minutemen are I think they were just trying to stuff as much songs on to an album and third of all I don't like funk-rock. I like funk and I like rock but something inside me Prohibits me from liking funk-rock. Still this album is ay times sublime and a good 2 thirds of the songs are very well written.


So much of this album is absolutely amazing, that, even though it's hard to wade through it all without repeated (many repeated) listenings it still deserves at least a 10. Oh my god, this songs are absolutely fan-fucking-tastic. "Cohesion"? Best instrumental ever. "Political Song For Michael Jackson To Sing"? Absolutely hysterical. "This Ain't No Picnic"? Pissed as fuck.

Man. This album is just amazing. No two ways about it. It is, for me, perfect Saturday morning music. Which is why I am listening to it now, and realizing that I needed to comment on it. Essential. Crucial, even.

peten85@earthlink.net (Peter M. Neidhardt)
Some information here...the CD version of Double Nickels has only 43 songs. The original vinyl has 45 including "Mr. Robot's Holy Orders" and a cover of VH's "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love." Both are essential to appreciate this release fully.

GPETERS@vdab.be (Guy Peters)
no Peter,

those two songs that appear on the vinyl release are NOT essential to appreciate the release fully....as with all rock classics (unless you're talkin' about some dumb-ass concept record), taking away one song doesn't make the record worse.....it's still a great record and lots of songs to enjoy....if you're a completist or a minutemenhead, you should check out the vinyl release...but deleting two songs from this one (even if they were, say, 'this ain't no picnic', 'jesus and tequila' or 'anxious mofo')....it doesn't make much difference

Colin T.
this sounds like the minutemen, not the red hot chili peppers.

this really isnt about the album (which kicks), but am the only person who thinks these guys sound a lot like early talking heads/television influence?

dnotd vinyl release. been a spell since i've listened to it, but whoever it was was mistaken- mr. robots holy orders and ain't talkin bout love both appear on the cd version of dnotd, the vinyl has a version of "little man with a gun in his hand" and something else. I don't remember what.

This is the only Minutemen record I've heard all the way through. Actually, it's pretty much the only Minutemen record I've been able to find. Their earlier material is kinda scarce nowadays.

Still, it's a good thing that I found "Double Nickels on the Dime" when I did because it's one of the best records that I've had the pleasure of hearing. The Minutemen were certainly a great band. This isn't so much a punk record (in the generic sense), as it is a straight-up rock and roll record, albiet one where the longest song is about two and a half minutes. In fact, that's the beauty of the record. Even if the song sucks (and very few of them do), it's only about a minute or so long and very little album space is wasted.

Anyway, this very much is a post-punk rock and roll record. Think "London Calling" except less produced and a billion times better. It's great because the Minutemen manage to branch out into styles and genres other than punk WITHOUT SUCKING. Unlike a certain British punk band I won't mention. On DNOTD, you can find funk, punk, hard rock, psychedelic numbers, pop, rockabilly, jazz, and even a few disco-esque numbers. All created with just a guitar, a bass, and a set of drums! It's quite an achievement.

Of course, it wouldn't be much of an achievement if the songs weren't good. No worrys, though, because this record has good songs in spades. "Jesus and Tequilla", "Anxious Mofo", "Theatre has become the life of you", "#1 Hit Song" (gotta disagree with Prindle there), "This Ain't No Picnic", "Toadies", "Cohesion"...need I go on?

Of especially note is "Corona", which is the JACKASS theme (and a damn fine song regardless), and "History Lesson Part 2", where the phrase "Our Band Could Be Your Life" was coined. It's also a mighty fine ballad. I get sorta weepy whenever I hear it, just knowing that the Minutemen didn't even have two years left in their existence after they recorded the song. R.I.P.

Much has been made of the late D.Boon's singing ability (or lack thereof), but he makes up for it by being extremely passionate and charismatic....his voice just has this great emotional vibe that you just can't get with technically ability. He suits the music perfectly more often than not is what I say. Anyway, I prefer D's "horrible singing" to the majority of those "emo" singers that everyone is busting a nut over now.

In short, a great record from a great band. I'm not sure I can call this their best because I haven't heard the rest, except in bits and pieces. Still, I can't fathom any of their other stuff being as good as this. Buy it. NOW!

Oh and it gets a 10 out of 10. Obviously.

Does anybody know where "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" and "Mr. Robot's Holy Orders" were included in the original double LP's song order? 'Cause it sure as hell ain't on the CD. (Damn early CD engineers. Couldn't increase capacity beyond 74 measly minutes until 1992.)

briggsh@pacbell.net (Timothy Herrman)
This record makes me wanna strut down the street like I'm a secret agent. This record makes me wanna honor the veterans of this country. This record makes me wanna kick an old lady in the balls. This record makes me wanna dance with the woman I love. This record makes me wanna throw a molotov cocktail at a cop car. This record makes me wanna climb an allegorical mountain. This record makes me wanna cry because it's so beautiful. This record makes me wanna fuck your sister. This record makes me wanna give a homeless person a ... nickel. This record makes me grateful to be alive.

I've seen many a great bands live from the Partridge Family to Black Flag, but I ain't never seen one as invigorating and life affirming as these three altruistic gents. They played like 60 songs!!FUCK!

armlesspete@hotmail.com (Robin Kempson)
only album i've heard by em...heard random songs here and there too..this band rules the 7 seas....country punk to compliment the likes of the meat puppets....they're nearly as good as my spelling. but they made too many albums..now im confused and feel sick.

sleeve@efn.org (Steve Bouton)
In response to the question above,

"Mr. Robot's Holy Orders" is track #26 on the 2LP, in between "The Roar Of The Masses" and "West Germany". "Ain't Talkin' Bout Love" is track #41, between "Martin's Story" and "Doctor Wu". I would argue that they ARE essential to the album experience, since the two cover versions in a row really fit. Plus, "Mr Robot" kicks. Holy shit, that version on "Ballot Result" is incredible. Plus, that's the way it was originally intended, which to me trumps all future artist revisions. Like those great original Mothers Of Invention LPs that Zappa ruined upon reissue (altho I heard it was because the masters had actually decayed).

And yes, this is one of the best US punk records ever made. 10/10.

My favourite 'punk' album of all time mainly because it isn't at all limited by the normal rules of the genre. It experiments with different genres (mainly jazz and funk). It is also my favourite of the big 3 groundbreaking alternative double albums of the 1980s (Daydream Nation 9, Zen Arcade 8, this 10). Oh maybe there are other double albums like the really long Fall ones (don't know if they count), but out of those 3 I like this one best, because it is consistently brilliant the whole way through. It is also very accessible whilst experimenting with styles (big plus in my book). No record since has ever been like it. It should be much more widely acknowledged. D's solo work is awesome (and I despise guitar solos normally). His style is completely original and perfectly complements the melody of the songs.

All in all, there are too many highlights to mention but this undoubtedly gets a 10.

One important discographical note that hasn't been mentioned yet. When this was first released on CD in the 80s, it was presented in a "re-mix" that featured a more echoey sound, some different guitar solos, and extended versions of the "Car Jams" that begin and end each side of the original vinyl (WHY??). So how was it? A COLOSSAL disappointment. For those of us who worshipped the original vinyl (and perhaps even prematurely traded it in upon purchase of the CD version), it felt akin to losing an old friend. Kinda like when We're Only In it For the Money by the Mothers was first introduced to the CD format. Luckily, SST realized their mistake (was it their fault in the first place? Who knows? Who cares?) and re-released DNOTD in it's original mix (though still missing tracks - I really wish Mr. Robot's Holy Orders hadn't been confined to obscurity in the digital age), with a sticker on the CD assuring the buying public that it did not contain the "shitty remix" of the prior version. Thank the lord!

johnnyalpha01@yahoo.co.uk (Dan)
This review inspired me to go and buy this masterpiece. And fucking hell it's great. I can't believe hardly anyone mentions the rollocking funque attaque of 'Viet Nam'! AMAXING! They definitely weren't 'MINUTE' men though!! GEDDIT???!!

toadies has the same bassline as that pil song annalisa

No one's mentioned this, so I thought I would, in case anyone cares -
The name of the album is an old 80s So Cal expression of slight disdain for the Reagan-era "55 Saves Lives" thing. Remember when EVERY freeway in the country, including those in Montana, where it was arguably even LESS safe, were illegally required to post 55 MPH speed limits or lose federal funding? Double Nickel is 55 MPH. The Dime is Interstate 10, which cuts through LA (to the east, it cuts through the entire country, actually) before terminating in (I believe) Santa Monica.
I'd actually heard this expression before I heard of the album. I don't remember how long before, but the circles I ran in at the time may not have been the same as these boys, but they were certainly concentric. They may have invented it. I dunno.
They were good with the catch phrase. A lot of people outside of So Cal may not know this. "We Jam Econo" is my favorite, and is often ripped off.
Another thing that no one's mentioned (though it may be redundant at this point) is that their versions of "Dr. Wu" and "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" were done in SO MUCH their own way that they had to be pointed out to me as covers before I knew them, though I knew the originals well.
Hell's balls, man, "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" was so wildly un-stadium-rock-like but in your face (GREAT guitar part - just flippin' brilliant) that Eddie and Diamond Dave would have LOVED it (though at the time I imagined they would have hated it).
That was a lot more than I thought I had to say.
Sorry. I'll stop now.

The title is actually a poke at Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive 55."

Watt says about it, "You're such a rebellious guy, you'll break the speed limit, but what about your tunes, buddy? We were making fun of him. The title means 55 miles an hour on the button, like we were Johnny Conservative." (Michael Azzerad, "Our Band Could Be Your Life")

Oh, the album? Probably one of the two or three greatest indie releases ever, bar none. And "Toadies" is utter gucking fenius. Aw yeah, "number seven! on the chump list! playin' stooge! eatin' shit! toadies! toadies!"

Doesn't get better.

I'd just like to say that the riff from "The Glory of Man" is lifted from "Surrender" by Cheap Trick. Note for note.

This album is exhaustively long, they really should have kept it to a single album instead of trying to take away Hüsker Dü's glory (I think Zen Arcade might be marginally better than Double Nickels). I'm surprised nobody has mentioned how much these guys sound like Primus, and on this album in particular. The drum style is tight, the bass is incredible and all over the place, and the guitar solos are brilliant and innovative. Funk/punk/hard rock trios from the bay area in the 80's. Primus thrashes more while these guys have this fresh alternative sound that still stands up today. "Maybe Partying Will Help", "Toadies" (isn't there a band with that name?), "History Lesson Part II" and "Jesus and Tequila" are my personal favorites. Many of the tracks on here would sound like they were done by some current alternative act, sort of. Current bands don't rule this much. Anyway, I thought Primus invented a genre (they still are their own genre) but these guys surely paved the way for them and all other funk-styled hard rock groups since. I definitely recommend this album as it is a landmark release in rock music.

als66@case.edu (Adam Spektor)
Mr. Prindle, concerning your review/comments of Double Nickels on the Dime:

Interesting comment about the "Glory of Man" riff... it's got the same pitches and all, but it's not quite note-for-note ripped off of "Surrender", as "The Glory of Man" has far more notes than "Surrender" does.

Anyway, nothing can be said that hasn't already been said about this album. 10/10. One of the best albums of rock history.

I listened to Double Nickels on the Dime again. I give it an 8. My initial suspicion has gained wind: they were trying to keep up with the Huskers. Mostly, they succeeded, I think--but only mostly. The thing 'bout Zen Arcade, is that the length serves the concept--not the other way around. DNOTD's just tryin' ta be LONG. That, and I think it gets jazzier the further it goes along. Blorf.

(Dnotd--a prostitute from Tashkgywqtxc:.,)

Also, the Minutemen are GENIUSES at the rhythm and riff part, but they seriously have a long long way to go in the vocal melody dept. Actually, the problem with the vocals ISN'T because the guy CAN'T sing, but because he DOESN'T sing anything worth remembering! Maybe "Themselves" and "Little Man with a Gun in His Hand," but that's IT. Everything else is either shouting or two-note boringness, in my opinion. Hell, Bob Mould was hardly better in the vox department, and I didn't notice it on ZA.

Za--a prosthetic model from Laos. Wear it and go straight to Buddha!

Now, speaking of jazz. I just heard an awesome album you will HATE, Mark! Still, it proves that "concept albums" were not invented by the Beatles or any other band of their ilk--or, for that matter, decade.

Tips to enjoying Frank Sinatra's 1954 classic In the Wee Small Hours--his first LP, and probably the first concept LP of all times: Concentrate on his voice. Ignore the lounge jazz dicking around and the Disney orchestra. The decade may have been cheesy, but the man was the MAN with the VOICE. He also had a fedora hat. I think you see where I'm going with this.

That's right: He also had a cigarette.,p>

Jeffery Hoelscher
Minutemen covered songs by first putting them on a bunsen burner. I won't say bad things about Steely Dan or Van Halen but I won't say good things about them either. However, "Dr. Wu" and "Ain't Talkin'.." kick painful butt on this record. And I love d. boon's voice.

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Tour-Spiel EP - LSR 1984.
Rating = 6

What do you get when you draw a chalk circle on the ground and make Richard Dawson stand naked inside of it?


That's also what the Minutemen are doing on this release. It's four live cover tunes - Van Halen's "Ain't Talkin' `Bout Love" (brief and funny), Blue Oyster Cult's "The Red And The Black" (fast and killer), CCR's "Green River" (well played but crappily sung) and The Meat Puppets' "Lost" (slothful and miserable). Must be a joke release of some sorp.

Reader Comments

I like the Richard Dawson joke! You could have pushed your luck by including a bonus pun on "Round Tuit", but it's nice to see you have some restraint. Cause that wouldn't have made much sense anyway.

This Tour Spiel EP, I think, is the Minutemen's weakest release by far. Not that it needs or intends to be anything great - basically just a 45 with 4 live cover versions, not meant to be a major release at all. Sound quality's pretty poor, and the versions played just drag. Imagine that! Making a 2 minute song get boring! Especially "Lost", which doesn't even have the benefit of the neat guitar hook used in the "3-Way Tie" version. The Minutemen were one of the greatest bands ever (and my favorite punk band of ALL TIME, yes you heard it here), but this release kinda stinks. Neat cover photo of D, Mike and George's stench, though. Lookin' sweaty there, guys! Those photos must have been taken from a different show.

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Post-Mersh, Vol. 3 - SST 1987.
Rating = 7

What a bargain! This whopping disc features Paranoid Time, Joy, Bean Spill, The Politics Of Time and Tour Spiel! That's 46 songs! What a bargain! If Only The Politics Of Time and Tour Spiel weren't so much lousier than the others!

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Project: Mersh EP - SST 1985.
Rating = 6

What do you get when you take a crap in the middle of your apartment?


And that's what this release is. Oh, don't get me mistakenly - all the songs are long and maybe it was an attemptible to make normal music for normal people, but half of the songs CUCK SOCKS! That leaves "King Of The Hill," "Take Our Test" and "Tour-Spiel." Those are good. But the cover of "Hey Lawdy Mama" would make John Kay punch `em in the earballs, even at his advanced age, and "More Spiel" is just bullshit! Oh wait, that reminds me of a joke -

What do you get when a bull takes a shit in the middle of your apartment?


Reader Comments

This is another Minutemen catchphrase that many people probably don't realize they invented - "Mersh" for "commercial," as in "No commercial potential." This was their (tongue-in-cheek?) go at a commercial-potential album. I agree with Mr. Prindle - Project:Crap in your apartment.

What do you get at the end of the semester when you enroll in a language class on the distant planet TAKAR?

Close your books, Pencils out, TAKAR TEST!

Must be Friday. I'm gettin' giddy n'at.
I thought the Project Mersh EP was pretty damn good, myself. My first taste of the Minutemen was seeing them live in '85 - opening for REM on their "Fables" tour (REM was a favorite of mine then, I didn't know the Minutemen from Shinola). While the concert didn't leave much of an impression on me, I picked up the current "Mersh" album cheap somewhere just to see how they sounded on vinyl. I thought 3 of the 6 songs were great, 1 was OK, and the other 2 were kinda dull. A few weeks later I got "Double Nickels," and I was hooked. But I've always admired the boys' willingness to experiment with new song forms, and on "Mersh", they're just trying to write some verse/chorus songs for the first time. And for the most part, they're good! The ensemble sound (and smell, truth be told) is fantastic, and the songs aren't the greatest pooplogs in the stool, but they're far from the smelliest.

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Post-Mersh, Vol. 2 - SST 1987.
Rating = 7

What a lack of bargain! This contains Buzz Or Howl Under The Influence Of Heat and Project Mersh. That's 14 songs! What a lack of bargain! Good thing Buzz Or Howl is so good, I can't believe it okay? My HONEYMOON night, ok? I will probably only have 3 or 4 more of these in my whole entire lifetime!

They should totally put out an album of me quoting music videos and stuff. They could call it OK Computer by Mark Prindle.

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3-Way Tie (For Last) - SST 1985.
Rating = 6

And with a disappointing final full-length LP, the Minutemen fade off into the distance. D. Boon perished in a van accident and the other guys founded Firehose.

But before all that happened, they recorded this album! It's disappointing! A full EIGHT of the sixteen songs are over two minutes long (MINUTEmen, My Eye!) and, proving that Project: Mersh was NOT a joke, they are midtempo and just filled to Busty Women with predictable classic rock-style melodies. Furthering the stinky potential, D. sings everything instead of talking (missing lots of notes in the process), and they do a bunch of dumb cover tunes, including a few they had already done on previous releases.

The only non-classic-rock influence on here appears to be Spanish music, which adds nothing to their style except another pre-established sound that traditional Spanish artists like Paul Simon and Linda Ronstadt perform much more effectively. There are definitely some great songs on here, but most of it is pretty mediocre. Passable, sure, but The Minutemen were always capable of more than just passable, weren't they? Like "Wait (I Never Had A Chance To Love You)" and "Rise Again, Little Fighter"?

Reader Comments

malester@cpuinc.net (Glenn Lester)
So, I don't have all the M-Men albums, but I think this one is a 9. A good time, happy, feel-good record. I like the covers okay, but the originals are fantastic. "Courage," "The Big Stick," "Stories," "What Is It?," "Situations At Hand." All are great. Both D. and Watt seem to be kind of preoccupied with politics, American jingoism, and Vietnam. Don't trust Prindle on this one; it's great.

the minutemen are the best band EVER so fuck you all

what would the world be like now if dboon were still with us

sleeve@efn.org (Steve Bouton)
Where's "Ballot Result"? Don't tell me those losers at SST let it go out of print! It's a great record and should be on here....

nerd.orange@mail.inet.hr (Cakani Narantxa)
this record is even worse than electric larryland.... ...no, i've changed my mind - it's not THAT bad! but it's pretty close. 3/10 ...wait, i've changed my mind again - electric larryland has a great cover (and a booklet), this one is butt ugly and NOT funny. 2/10

J.Mcelhatton@theglobaldraw.com (Julian McElhatton)
Hi Mark,

Have you noticed that on the back sleeve, George Hurley looks the spitting image of Damned bassist Captain Sensible, D Boon looks scarily like wrestler Mick Foley doing something odd with an ice cube tray, while Mike Watt is seemingly playing Fidel Castro, smugly grinning as he holds up a pic of Bob Dylan with his arm around Madonna? The similarities may be coincidental, but at first I thought maybe the CIA had The Minutemen replaced by lookalikes. To former fans who dislike this LP, this theory may hold water.

I think you're a bit unfair on this album, Mark. It's a nice (if unintentional) farewell & it shows that the band had potential to crack the mainstream rock world without compromising their values. I like to listen to this LP the wrong way around, with Mike's side first, so it ends with D's version of `Have You Ever Seen The Rain?', which adds a certain poignancy to the LP. It's interesting to imagine where they'd have gone from here. Given D's growing ability to write infectious, stirring numbers like Project Mersh's `The Cheerleaders' & 3 Way Tie's `The Price Of Paradise', is it possible they could've made it to stadiums without diluting their message? D Boon didn't seem like the kind of guy who woulda chased rock n' roll success, especially if it required compromising his ideals, but with the interest he was attracting from Rolling Stone et al, it's not ridiculous to imagine them reaching a wider audience. Maybe then we'd be hearing their influence more now. Sad as it is to say, I can't see that The Minutemen have had much of an influence on subsequent rock n' roll bands.

So yeah, it ain't Double Nickels, but I think you've given the LP too rough a ride. I'd give it a 7 or maybe an 8 seeing as it was the last we heard from them. And Mr Prindle, you really need to review Ballot Result. Your enviable Minutemen collection ain't complete without it.

Yours, a master of sincerity,


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Ballot Result - SST 1986
Rating = 6

Something happened today that blew my little world clear off the axis of the solar system. When you hear about this, your life will literally be shredded to pieces in front of your mind. What I'm about to tell you has such devastating consequences that the very fabric of our society will come unravelled at the seams upon its full disclosure. If you feel you are properly braced to handle the terror I am about to unfold, then read on - at your own risk.

I posted a note on MySpace saying I was giving Ballot Result a 6, and a guy named Bill responded, "Only a 6 for Ballot Result? You're fucking crazy."

Hear that sound? The Earth just blew up.

I try not to humor cranks and madmen with their hallucinatory disbeliefs and misinformed calnutrition, but I sincerely feel that the only way to reverse this galaxy-wide meltdown of simple human values like caring and togetherness is to explain why I only gave Ballot Result a 6. To perform any less a task would be not just ignoble, but apocalyptic. To that end, and in the name of all that is holy in this world and all others, I ask not only for Bill's ear, but for those of you and your children and your children's children. Not your children's children's children though because I'm sure they're busy with that Moody Blues album at the moment; you can fill them in later.

Here's my reasoning -- and before you call me a hairy reasoner, keep in mind that I spent a full 60 minutes developing this opinion::

Ballot Result is a compilation of live tracks and demos, the track listing of which was chosen via a fan survey issued shortly before D. Boon's passing. The original idea was to record a new live album featuring the songs that received the most votes; obviously Boon's death put the kibosh on that hot dog bun. As such, the Minutemen scrounged up about 25 of the most godfuckingawful live recordings you will ever hear (horrible sound, messy playing, abominably tuneless vocals), threw in a few studio jams and demos and BING-BONG BAGOO! Ballot Result popped out the other end like a new-born turd baby!

But before we get to that, I simply MUST tell you a hilarious joke that I was fortunate enough to receive as a gift from the cosmos just twenty minutes ago while walking my wife and dog on leashes in Central Park. I feel that this rib-tickler is particularly relevant in terms of today's economic turmoil that is subjecting us to so much anguish - me with the unemployment, you with the genital warts. So sit back, put on your laughter hat, and enjoy:

A family of aspirin tablets lived on a farm in West Virginia. For centuries, they lived by the land and rejected all hints of progress from the civilized world. They were particularly skeptical about the federal economic system, rejecting banks and the stock market in favor of simply storing their money in a hole in the ground. But then one fine day, the youngest member of the family - an innocent young aspirin tablet named Steven - turned to his father and said, "Dad, I think I'm going to open a bank account." His father's eyes grew wide with shock as he turned to his son and shouted, (here comes the hilarious punchline):

"Pills bury dough, boy!"

Yes, I agree. It's both hilarious and time-sensitive. But let's return to the Minutemen album that has caused such a rift of discord between me and Bill - the one that features six songs from Double Nickels On The Dime, four from Project: Mersh, three each from The Politics Of Time, The Punch Line and 3-Way Tie For Last, two each from Burn Or Howl Under The Influence Of Heat and What Makes A Man Start Fires?, one each from Paranoid Time and Bean Spill, a Richard Hell cover and an improv jam. See, to me it just sounds stupid when Mike Watt hamfistedly plucks each bass note in "I Felt Like A Gringo" at a volume sixty billion times that of the guitar and drums. Likewise, I prefer my "Political Song For Michael Jackson To Sing" to not feature D. Boon howling the wrong notes at the top of his lungs. And subjecting us fans to once-(correctly)-rejected studio misfires as the five-minute sub-hip-hop shitfest "No One" and SEVEN-minute improvisational time-waster "Hell (Second Take)" feels an awful lot like the surviving members were just trying to take a crud on us. Come on man, don't take a crud on your fans.

The Minutemen wrote dozens and dozens of great songs. None of them are called "Bermuda." Nevertheless, here it is in all its weak metal inglory. The Minutemen also performed some excellent and entertaining cover tunes in their day, but you'd certainly never know it by the mealy-mouthed wander-through of Richard Hell's brilliant "Time" featured herein. Worst and most of all, even when they do play great songs and play them well, the miserable live recordings inevitably either (a) capture one band member at thrice the volume of the other two, or (b) sound like they were taped inside some guy's shoe at the bottom of the ocean. Did the Minutemen suck? Sweet christ, no. But no band could survive this kind of low-quality live documentation without sounding half-inept.

Alright, I guess I'll go on home; it's late. There'll be tomorrow night.


What do I see?

Is Bill walking home to me?

Yes, Bill's walking home to me!

Ohhhhhh hoooooo - wait, he killed me.

Reader Comments

A 6 is probably appropriate for this release. Though many of the live recordings aren't as bad as others - the radio broadcast on side one is very fine, for instance. Also, the inclusion of an extended live take of "Mr Robot's Holy Orders" makes this essential, since for some reason the studio version of this song has forever been wiped away from the "Double Nickels on the Dime" album on its CD release (why??), making this the only available version left. Watt and co. tried to remain as faithful to the actual ballot result as possible (I myself submitted a ballot, so thanks Watt!), but there are some tracks they just never performed live (e.g. Song for El Salvador, the throwaway jam "Dreams are Free, MotherF****r!", etc) so they faithfully put in the studio versions. They took some liberties by including stuff that didn't make the ballot like Roky Erickson's "Bermuda", Richard Hell's "Time", and "Hell (2nd Take)", but those are all welcome inclusions. One thing that irked me upon seeing the final ballot result is how some of the tracks seemed to win only based on the fact that they had funny song titles, even though they're sub-par songs (esp. "Dreams are Free..."). But for the most part I think it serves the fans well. It doesn't pretend to be a great release - the original idea had to be scrapped after D Boon's death - but it works nicely as a posthumous "thank you" that tries its best to fulfill its promise.

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