Thursday, December 22, 2011

Writing About D. Boon(RIP) Ain't No Picnic

Let’s get this out of the way from the jump:  Double Nickels on the Dime by the Minutemen is a masterpiece and arguably the greatest punk rock record of all time.  It did everything that punk rock idealists wanted their genre of music to do: it shattered the boundaries between genres of music; it challenged the status quo with it’s lyrics; it gleefully cursed for the sake of it and it legitimized punk rock as a legitimate art form and genre at that time by giving them a record that nobody in their right mind could dismiss as kids who don’t know how to play making a bunch of noise.

I was going to get all wordy here and wax poetic about how a trio of working class San Pedro kids who grew up believing that music was something you experience from afar in a stadium or at an amphitheatre, created by artists who sang their songs at you instead of with you, managed to come together and form one of the more important bands in music history at a time when that was simply not done in the way they did it.  At the time it was unheard of for a group of kids with only a self-released or independently released EP or two under their belts to hop in a van and drive to a far away city to play a dive bar or some kid's backyard, but they turned convention on its head and did that shit.

Then after establishing that maybe I would have talked at length about the blueprint for DIY record labels and touring acts they helped create at SST records through that same process of hitting the road and releasing self-financed or independently financed recordings and how the current independent music scene exists because of the hard work and brilliance of bands like the Minutemen.

Then I decided I’m not going to do any of that.  Why?  Well, part of it is because I’m pressed for time and want to post this before December 23rd rolls around.  See, on December 22nd, 1985 the world lost one of the driving forces behind this juggernaut when D. Boon was sleeping in the backseat of a car that crashed on a highway in Arizona.   In my internet surfing today I am seeing a lot of people talking about Joe Strummer(RIP) and while I think that is very much deserved I don’t want to let the day pass without paying homage to another creative genius who passed on the same day many years prior.

But part of it is that it’s just not necessary.  The music D. Boon made speaks for itself.  I will put Double Nickels on the Dime up against any album you want to give me in rock n’ roll history and I think that it will hold up well.  The compositions were brilliant.  The band was tight and in sync, remarkable given the frenetic pace of the music and the complexity of the songs.  The leads that D. Boon played were a perfect combination of his various influences and the rhythm section always seemed to know exactly when to drive a song and when to lay back a bit.  The production values were incredible.  The style of music varies from song to song but they managed to pull it off each and every time.  The lyrical style was unique and simple enough to be accessible to all and the content varied from current politics to history to poking fun at bass player Mike Watt’s thin frame.  If people were still holding on to this belief that punk rock bands were kids who never bothered to learn how to play their instruments properly and were just making noise for other kids the Minutemen completely shattered that notion with this gem.

That’s why I’m not going to into detail about everything I mentioned above, I’m just going to let the music speak for itself.  I’m pretty sure that’s how D. Boon would have wanted it anyway:

Dennes Dale Boon (April 1, 1958 - December 22, 1985)

No comments :