Download of the Week: Minutemen

Have you ever heard someone say something like, "'80's music sucked"? Or "'70's", or "'90's", etc...? How about "Today's music sucks"? If you have, and you're anything like me, you may have felt a mild sense of pity for the fool. Or anger. Great music is made, always. Just because it wasn't made when we were teenagers doesn't discount it from being great (sorry).

Double Nickels On The Dime, released on SST Records in 1984, is a great record. The Minutmen's third studio gig, "Double Nickels" is a double album, filled with 45 genre-jumping songs and more energy than spring-loaded nymphs in Spring.

"Double Nickels" is everything I want, nay need, from a record: superb musicianship, meaningful words, humor, and wanderlust. Guitarist/vocalist D. Boon, bassist/vocalist Mike Watt, and drummer George Hurley do it all and do it all well, sounding like an army of sublime schizophrenics on Grand Tour.

Adrenaline squeeze didacticism.

Watt later remarked: "No one knew what the fuck we were talking about. We'd explain it to people and they'd say, 'I don't get it, what's so funny about that?' And we couldn't tell them because it was our whole angle on the rock & roll, our worldview on the music scene."

Own up and own Double Nickels. You won't be sorry.

jelly292's picture

Sorry. 80's music sucks. Except the Clash. And I was a teenager in the 80's. Thank God for jazz in the 50's, and rock in the 70's!

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...for your oversight ;-)
funambulistic's picture

*Sorry - Zappa quote* (There's a Ship Arriving too late to save a Drowning Witch - great album)

I know everyone's tastes differ, but the '80s (and very late '70s as you mentioned, The Clash - let me add The Jam, Stiff Little Fingers and others to the list) was a great time for music! Yes, I grew up in the '70s and loved disco - hey, I was in my early teens. It was not until my later teens that I became "enlightened" (Led Zep, Yes, Floyd, ad nauseam). But it was not until my college years that my eyes - and ears - were truly opened. There is so good much music "left of the dial" (and plenty that was on MTV - I remember going to a local, as in across the street from my dorm, ordering a pitcher [or five] and watching the wonder that was Music Television).

Transition four or so years; El Paso (my home town) was a weigh station for touring bands (90 miles east of El Paso on I-10 is a border patrol station, where many famous busts have occurred [Wily Nelson, Fiona Apple,to name a couple). Anyway, there was a place called the "Sound Seas", which, at the beginning, was a decrepit warehouse where many bands would layover on their way to Dallas or Austin. My (then) girlfriend would offer her apartment for those that could not afford a hotel. This is where I heard and met members of The Minutemen, The Dead Milkmen, The Dead Kennedys, The Meat Puppets and, my fave, Black Flag (I spent many a night talking to Henry Rollins - though I doubt he would remember me). It was a prime time for new music, The Minutemen Included

As an example, I have been to untold number of concerts (Foreigner being my first) and Adam Ant was, by far, the best performance one I have ever attended. Just to put things in perspective, I saw Yes "in the round" (as in it was a 360 degree experience, with the stage rotating throughout the 2-hour performance) which was a memorable experience.

Don't discount "80's" music based on Toni Basil...

Michael Lavorgna's picture
Thanks for sharing!


jelly292's picture

And I so miss The Wham, George Michael, Boy George, The Pet Shop Boys.. ;-). If it hadn't been for Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Doors, King Crimson, etc., I may not have survived the decade.. Haha, I feel like a grumpy old guy.. :)

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...were released worldwide each year of the 1980's? 40, 50, 60 thousand? Or more?

Do you get my point?


jelly292's picture

Of course there were some good albums released in the 80's. London Calling for instance (although I think it was technically released Dec. 1979..). My point is that the ratio of hideous music to great music was completely reversed in the 80's compared to the '70s. Indisputable fact! ;-) What is even more remarkable is that even the same artists recording in both decades were making worse music in the '80's (Fleetwod Mac with Peter Green, Eric Clapton with Bluesbreakers, and even, alas, Pink Floyd..).

Michael Lavorgna's picture
But if you are happy being unhappy with a necessarily limited view, knock yourself out.
Anton's picture

Look! Over there!

Kids. On your lawn!

The 70's!


The 70's have to claim ownership of...Styx, Foreigner, Bad Company, Captain and Tennille, Loggins and Messina, Starland Vocal Band, KISS, Lynrd Skynrd, Molley Hatchett, Charlie Daniels Band, Journey, Boston, Supertramp, REO Speedwagon, Billy Joel, Terry Jacks, Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods, Morris Albert, Rubert Holmes, Debbie Boone, Paul Anka, The Carpenters, etc....

You have a lotta splainin' to do by claiming the '70s!!


Every decade has good and bad. I think Michael was pointing out that if you didn't bother to find the good, that's a you problem.

garrettnecessary's picture

One of my favorite records. And one of Charlie Haden's favorite records too! In some dark corner of the internet you can still see him playing with D. Boon and the boys.

jelly292's picture

Anton has a point.. thanks for bringing up those names, nice list (and we might add Chicago too! :) I guess my point is that when I look at my record collection, and even most of the music I stream today, it is dominated by '70s acts. Would be interesting to find out for how many people it's the reverse, i.e. how many people listen predominantly to '80''s music. And Michael, I was not trying to take any doctrinaire approach, I was just making an observation on my listening habits, if a bit in jest.. No offense intended! Peace.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
I prefer to look for the good stuff and always manage to find it. As Anton pointed out, we can easily find the not-so-good stuff but what fun is that ;-)


timtom's picture

Thanks for sharing!

burnspbesq's picture

I was at USC Law from 1979 to 1982. The hot unsigned local bands (most of which didn't stay unsigned for long) were X, the Blasters, the Plimsouls, Los Lobos, TSOL, Black Flag, andthese guys. Caught a lot of late shows after the library closed. Good times.