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Minutemen - We Jam Econo DVD (Cover Artwork)

Minutemen

Minutemen: We Jam Econo DVDWe Jam Econo DVD (2006)
Plexifilm

Reviewer Rating: 4
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Contributed by: AubinAubin
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The Minutemen were truly one of the great American punk rock bands, and though you can't trace their sound to a specific scene or a specific group of bands like you can with say, Minor Threat or the Dead Kennedys, what the band contributed was nonetheless immeasurable. D.Boon, Mike Watt and Hurley e.
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The Minutemen were truly one of the great American punk rock bands, and though you can't trace their sound to a specific scene or a specific group of bands like you can with say, Minor Threat or the Dead Kennedys, what the band contributed was nonetheless immeasurable. D.Boon, Mike Watt and Hurley expanded the vocabulary of what punk and hardcore could be. Like the Clash with ska and reggae, or Billy Bragg with folk, the Minutemen gave punk new realms of creativity that allowed it to persevere for these past three vibrant decades.

In modern terms, there are few bands who could be directly traced back to their sound, though watching We Jam Econo, there is no shortage of musicians who took the Minutemen's creativity and pushed it into different directions. From the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea, to Fugazi's Ian MacKaye, to Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, there are no shortage of genre innovators who wished to pay tribute to this band, as did the directors of the lovingly rendered documentary and tribute to the band's late front-man.

We Jam Econo - The Story of the Minutemen is about the band of course, but is also a distinctive story about the American punk and hardcore scene of the `80s; an era between the major label rush of the late `70s and the one that followed in the `90s, probably the most fiercely underground era in punk history and the one that created many of the notions that seem permanently intertwined with the genre today; from independent labels to self-promoted tours. Following the Minutemen, as told by the band's two surviving members, the film begins with the incredibly strong childhood friendship between Watt and Boon, which eventually blossomed into the Minutemen. Watching the film is that much more poignant as the lack of modern interview clips with Boon constantly remind you of his tragic death at the age of 27 two decades ago.

Like most band documentaries, the story is assembled from anecdotes, with no shortage of high-profile musicians stopping by to share stories about the band members and their influence. Besides Fugazi's MacKaye, who recieves significant screen time, notable figures from the period also stop in -- three Black Flag members (Dez, Henry and Chuck), X's John Doe and even bands who influenced the Minutemen like Wire and Richard Hell. Besides the funny and often touching stories, the film is interspersed with a variety of remarkably well-preserved live footage from throughout the band's career.

The real star of the film is certainly Mike Watt, however, who spends much of the film speaking to the camera as he drives down the street in San Pedro, the same town where the band formed nearly thirty years ago. Watt is brutally honest and often funny as he describes the scorn the band recieved from hardcore kids back in the day, and talks with reverence about his friend. And Watt has been a true friend over the years, dedicating every single post-Minutemen release to Boon and allowing one rare licensing of the Minutemen's music to Volvo, but only to provide the money to Boon's father for medical care.

Plexifilm has assembled a definitive package for the DVD, acting not just as a vehicle for the film, but as a comprehensive visual document of the Minutemen. Besides the film itself, the disc packs in three of the band's rare music videos, dozens of interviews with band members and friends and a packed bonus disc featuring 62 live tracks recorded at three live performances. Even without the film, the bonus features alone would make this worthwhile to any fan of the band.

While nothing will ever top hearing Boon sing about how "punk rock changed our lives" on "History Lesson - Part II," this is a sad, but wonderful little film about a wonderful little band and highly recommended for fans of the Minutemen and American punk rock.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Minutemen - Double Nickels on the DimeMinor Threat - Complete DiscographyDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyOperation Ivy - Operation IvyFugazi - 13 SongsBlack Flag - DamagedRamones - Rocket to RussiaThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldThe Lawrence Arms - Cocktails And Dreams

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
SoupIsGoodFood (July 2, 2006)

allowing one rare licensing of the Minutemen's music to Volvo, but only to provide the money to Boon's father for medical care.

What about the Jackass theme song?

Scruffy (June 29, 2006)

Milo Goes To College would be great remastered. Also, anything Husker Du did with Spot needs remastered.

Anonymous (June 29, 2006)

mark prindle is the only rock critic that matters.

theOneTrueBill (June 29, 2006)

Mark Prindle rules. I love that guy.

joeg (June 29, 2006)

http://www.markprindle.com

i think wyzo's talking about this guy. he's got an impressive archive of interviews with basically all the heavy hitters in punk. really good reads.

FortyMinutesWest (June 29, 2006)

Am I the only one who was happy to see that Norton still has that sweet mustache?

Anonymous (June 29, 2006)

what they should do is reissue double nickels with the 3 songs that didn't fit on the original cd version (but were on the LP) but would fit on newer cds becasue they can fit a few more minutes worth of music.

Anonymous (June 28, 2006)

Maybe by reissued they mean "with new stuff in them".

Speaking of reissue NoMeansNo needs to put their entire catalog back into print.

Anonymous (June 28, 2006)

there is a fairly recent (last couple years) interview with Kira from Black Flag who I believe Mike Watt was married to for a time, and its one of the best interviews I've read. I can't recall the fanzine name, but its online in full somewhere. Anyone remotely interested in Mike Watt or life after punk bands for some of its original members, its quite good.

The anecdote about the minutemen I love is the one where they learn Husker Du is going to put out Zen Arcade as a double album. They have an album recorded, but on hearing this news, they go back in the studio and records another album's worth, putting out Double nickels on the dime. The vinyl of which has 'take that Huskers!' written on the album cover/back.

wyzo

gladimnotemo (June 28, 2006)

Why do any of those need reissues? Damaged still sounds intense as hell, Double Nickels is still perfect....no reason to clean up and fix something that's not wrong.

Anonymous (June 28, 2006)

the first song on Sublime's 40 oz of freedom has the clip from "History Lesson"

kingofsuck (June 28, 2006)

I agree that it already sounds great. I guess there's always room for improvements, though.

Anonymous (June 28, 2006)

A reissued Double Nickels..??

The sound quality of that album sounds top notch... maybe it's just me?

-kliph

Anonymous (June 27, 2006)

better give up on sst reissuing zen arcade. husker du are joining the ranks of the meat puppets, sonic youth and dino jr as bands who have taken back their sst albums due to non-payment of royalties.

theOneTrueBill (June 27, 2006)

Ginn would rather make the most money possible while doing the least amount of work. He's too busy smoking and saving cats to care about products that keep selling.

aubin (June 27, 2006)

This DVD just reminded me that someone needs to get Ginn to do some nice remastered reissues of classic SST releases; maybe Double Nickels, Damaged, Milo Goes to College and Zen Arcade for a start.

I own those records, but I'd buy reissues in a second and I'm not alone in that.

Crookedsuperhero (June 27, 2006)

Swingline has some serious hate for lifetime.

He is also gay.

swingline (June 27, 2006)

a single dingleberry from the depth of my foul crevice is better than lifetime.

Anonymous (June 27, 2006)

i also think the part where they get to D's death is really poignant, how instead of saying "D died", they just silently zoom into ian holding up a note henry wrote about D dying. very well done.

Anonymous (June 27, 2006)

obviously, this band was amazing. the doc was good, but i felt it was culled from too little (the watt interview, the video interview from '85 plus the testimonials and live footage, that strikes me as very little) but still very entertaining to watch. highlights were listening to j masic, with no noticable affect, talk about D dancing, george hurley's hillarious hair back in the 80s and watt talking about how he used to not understand what tuning was and just figured some people liked their strings tight and some liked them loose.

joeg (June 27, 2006)

better than kid dynamite even!

rkl (June 27, 2006)

so this band is better than lifetime, right?

Phantom_Maggot (June 27, 2006)

These guys were really a great great band. I love how they just did everything "econo". I don't know if I could ever do it, but I respect the hell out of them for being able to do it. I also agree that you should check out Our Band Could Be Your Life (a Minutemen quote actually) if you are interested in the stories and anticdotes of bands like Black Flag, Minor Threat, Fugazi, Minutemen, Replacements, Big Black, ect.

Anonymous (June 27, 2006)

The Minutemen were one of the best bands ever. This documentary had some problems, but it was pretty damn interesting, even if there were some glaring omissions.

feeeding5000 (June 27, 2006)

Truly a fantastic band, with excellent, original music, and real ideals and values. One of the few great bands that is, for some reason, vastly under-appreciated.

skolarx (June 27, 2006)

mike watt is an amazing person to talk to. i did a show with his latest band a few years ago and he gave me a history lesson on the venue they were playing. funniest part of the conversation was probably "yeah we played here back in 82 or so when i was in black flag with john's band... what were they called?" "negative approach?" "yeah, thats it"

awesome guy and hopefully this will get more people interested to come out and see his bands.

Anonymous (June 27, 2006)

Double Nickels is great.

If not that, SST has a CD called "Introducing the Minutemen" that's fairly comprehensive but not as cohesive as any of the actual releases (which are cohesive in a purely Minutemen sort of way).

Anonymous (June 27, 2006)

Definitely one of my favorite bands.

Double Nickles on the Dime is just the perfect cd for the car.

-kliph

Anonymous (June 27, 2006)

I've never listened to Minutemen before although I've always heard good things. I was gonna pick up Double Nickels on the Dime on vinyl the other day would that be a good place to start?

- APK

sprainedsoul (June 27, 2006)

I can't wait to see this.

Crookedsuperhero (June 27, 2006)

Great band, but these documentry dvds are nearly always boring.

Anonymous (June 27, 2006)

Great review. Now I'm even more eager to see this.

I bought my first Minutemen record, by sheer coincidence, the day of D. Boon's death. I was hooked from the very beginning but, unlike the euphoria I've felt when discovering other great bands, this one was always marked with sadness.

theOneTrueBill (June 27, 2006)

The Starwood stuff is so fucking amazing! How the hell does something like that exist? It's perfet quality, multiple cameras, and awesome songs! I watched 3/4 of the 9:30 club one last night before I fell asleep and though it drags at times it's awesome for about 85% of it. The music videos are pretty awesome too.

In all honesty, the documentary wasn't as good as I was hoping for. It kind of just said the same thing over and over again. Yeah, Watt and Boon were best friends, the songs were short, they were great musicians. Got anything else?

Anonymous (June 27, 2006)

Where's the Underoath review?!?!?!?!?!?!

kingofsuck (June 27, 2006)

Also, I'm going to take this opportunity to recommend Our Band Could Be Your Life. It does a really good job of telling the story of the Minutemen along with other bands like Minor Threat, Husker Du, Black Flag, etc.

kingofsuck (June 27, 2006)

I've been wanting to see this since I first heard about it what seems like 5 years ago. I'll try to pick this up when I actually have some disposable income.

Anonymous (June 27, 2006)

Got this myself the other day, can't stop watching it! This is the band that got me into Punk Rock over 20 years ago. The Minutemen are IT! Double Nickles on the Dime is not only the Best Punk Record of all time but thee Best Record of ALL TIME (IMO). Please take the time to buy this great product, it comes with a second DVD with three live full-performances by The Minutemen making this a total Bargain. PUNK HISTORY MAKERS!

joeg (June 27, 2006)

great band. i gotta pick this up.

Anonymous (June 27, 2006)

reading about the d.boon/mike watt friendship then listening to "history lesson, part II" just gives you chills and tears me up sometimes.

Amazing band.

This is the true spirit of punk: doing whatever you want musically. And that's the Minutemen in a nutshell.

Genius.

Anonymous (June 27, 2006)

One of the greatest bands ever. No fucking question about it.

-opivy

SlowStupidHungry (June 27, 2006)

Great band. Technical without being boring.

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