Synopsis by Mark Deming
Formed by two childhood friends from San Pedro, CA, D. Boon and Mike Watt, the Minutemen were at once one of the key bands in the Southern California hardcore punk scene of the '80s and a group who flew in the face of all rules, including those of punk rock. Named in part because their early songs usually lasted 60 seconds or less, the Minutemen were a band who stripped their music down to the bone -- short songs with minimal solos and wiry structures -- but at the same time found ways to integrate elements of funk, jazz, and world music into their bubbling aural bouillabaisse. Despite the stark frameworks of their music, no one could argue that the Minutemen couldn't play -- bassist Watt and drummer George Hurley were one of the most potent rhythm sections in underground music, and Boon's guitar work marked the place where Jimi Hendrix and Captain Beefheart's influences met. While many punk bands bellowed harsh political rants, the Minutemen offered pithy but intelligent discourse on the world around them, focusing on how larger issues impacted ordinary folks in a way few people in rock ever managed. And the Minutemen's "econo" philosophy took D.I.Y. to a new level, as they set out to show by example how even the most cash-strapped musicians could bring their music to the people. (Their best album, Double Nickels on the Dime, was a two-record set recorded for less than 2,000 dollars.) The band were critical favorites on the cusp of a new level of popularity following a tour opening for R.E.M. when their career was stopped in its tracks by the tragic death of Boon in a car wreck in late 1985. We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen is a documentary which tells the full story of this unusual and influential group, featuring performance footage of the Minutemen on stage, extensive interviews with Watt and Hurley, and contributions from friends and family members. Interview subjects include Thurston Moore, Ian MacKaye, Flea, Henry Rollins, Keith Morris, Greg Ginn, and many more.
punk-rock, band [music group], career-retrospective, concert-footage, friendship, interview, pioneer, rock-music, underground [counterculture]