Today marks the anniversary of the death of D. Boon, guitarist and vocalist of the Minutemen. There’s not much I can say on D. Boon, personally; I was in kindergarten when he died in 1985. Boon had been dead for 13, 14 years when I heard my first Minutemen song; 15 when I bought my first Minutemen album. But I remember those moments well.
There are few bands that sound as fresh and new upon first listen — despite when you discover them — as the Minutemen. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been listening to them since 1980 or since last week — there never was or has been another band quite like them, and when you listen to “Joe McCarthy’s Ghost,” or “History Lesson – Part II,” or “Stories,” you aren’t transported to the ’80s. The material doesn’t and likely never will sound dated. They aren’t a band that you grow out of. There is a timeless quality to their tunes few musicians or bands can capture, and that goes for the lyrics as well as the music itself. The inspiration one can draw from their legendary work ethic is something to be valued. Some call it “DIY”; the Minutemen said, “We jam econo,” and so do I.
So today, more than a quarter-century after D. Boon’s sad and far-too-early death, take some time and dig out your old records — or look up the band on your iPod, and rediscover some classics. And if you haven’t heard them yet — give them a shot. Listen to Double Nickels on the Dime, and grab a friend’s copy of the We Jam Econo film. Even if you’re not typically into punk rock, you’ll likely find something you enjoy, because after all, labels don’t really apply to this band. “Punk is whatever we made it to be.” -D. Boon