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The Big Huertas’ History Lesson Part IV: Minutemen

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Special thanks to Linda Kite and Dirk Vandenberg

 

“This is Bob Dylan to me”…so sang D. (Dennes) Boon in The Minutemen’s History Lesson Part II. The Minutemen, to myself and quite a few others, were almost like The Beatles. Some folks throw them in with the South Bay or L.A. punk rock sound. See the fantastic and much recommended book by Craig Ibarra titled, “A Wailing of a Town (An Oral History of Early San Pedro Punk 1977-1985)” for the full story. I thought they were too talented, musicianship-wise, and too smart, to be lumped in with some of those L.A. hardcore bands. You listen to the lyrics, waxing political mostly, and the reedy trebliness of Boone’s guitar, along with the steady oft quoting Madonna and classic rock runs on bass, by Mike Watt and George Hurley’s stench and incredible jazz-based drumming.. well peeps, these aren’t your ordinary thrashers. Folks, I could go on and on about this band. There is a documentary and a couple books you can look into for more info, please do this.

D. and The Minutemen put out several LP’s, EP’s and singles on SST Records. The best known is “Double Nickels on the Dime” a sort of “Pet Sounds” if you will, of punk rock They also have an LP called “Project Mersh” (CA speak for commercial) that has the dudes trying to write hit songs for the corporate world, great, great stuff. I CANNOT stress enough to explore this band! I was blessed to have seen them many many times. I thank God for that opportunity. One never knows what the future holds for all of us. We were all stunned when Boon’s life was cut short in a tragic accident in December of 1985. He was only 27 years old.

I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news of his passing. I was living in an apartment with my then girlfriend in Long Beach and we were having a Christmas/Birthday party when a friend walked in and delivered the news. I was in total disbelief. This couldn’t be right. I kept asking, “are you sure???” The Minutemen were always being played in my car. I had seen The Minutemen maybe a couple dozen times. They were great dudes. We were too young for death. I had to lock myself in the bedroom for a while, in a daze, trying to comprehend that I would never see them again, nor D. alive, jumping up and down and dancing all over the stage. I am not sure how long I stayed in the bedroom; no one bothered me, if memory serves correct, I even had a copy of the magazine Brave Ear, on the nightstand with a drawing of D. on the cover, which I was reading at the time. It was a big musical moment of hard felt tragedy in my lifetime. I still wonder what the future would have held if D. hadn’t passed away.

Would The Minutemen be Nirvana-esque huge? Would it change the guys? Would their music suffer and become watered down by a major label signing? Needless to say, The Minutemen were/are a very important band in the evolution of how we look at “punk rock”. You can also throw in Meat Puppets, Saccharine Trust and Sonic Youth (many more to mention) as bands that broke the boundaries of what “punk rock” was supposed to sound like (which always cracked me up to begin with…like it wouldn’t be punk if it was all cookie cutter??!…I even owe punk rock (and Iman) more than a nod for allowing me to write these articles about my paintings that are truly DIY, anyone can go out there in the garage and do this style of art, or write, or play music, this is punk rock to me, take the freaking bull by the horns, folks!). Mr. Narrator, this is D. Boon, a soldier child, a man that 30 years after his passing, his influence is still being felt, we are still talking about and often remembering him. It was a very big blow to the music scene and to everyday living. RIP Dennes (d.) Boon, 1958-1985.

2 Comments

  1. Dizzy-skip Jackson on November 27, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Another stellar piece by Mr. Huerta. D Boon must top the talent pool of artists that left this mortal orb at 27.
    Rolf Zull being another young talent yanked from our sphere at one score and seven.

    • Ed Huerta on December 2, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      Yes indeed..thanks Diz

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