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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 14, 2006

Minutemen are back, but on film

By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer


1 p.m. today, tomorrow and Sunday, 4 p.m. today and Sunday

Doris Duke Theatre, Honolulu Academy of Arts




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Long before "Corona," their jangly anthem for Mexican laborers, was co-opted as the theme music for MTV's "Jackass," San Pedro's Minutemen were a driving force in the 1980s punk underground.

Fans of overlooked classics like "I Felt Like a Gringo," "Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs" and "This Ain't No Picnic" can see the band in all its sweaty flannel glory in the new documentary "We Jam Econo - The Story of the Minutemen," through the weekend at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.

Driven by D. Boon's walrus-bark vocals and manic guitar noodling, Mike Watt's tilting bass lines and George Hurley's unpredictable drumming, the band briefly rescued punk rock from three-chord, mosh-pit purgatory, packaging socially conscious lyrics, wild instrumental improvisation and humor into two-minute songs.

"We Jam Econo" features rare performance footage, as well as interviews with Watt, Hurley and seminal punk figures like Henry Rollins, John Doe and Jello Biafra.

The band ended when Boon died in a car accident in 1985.

Watt, now an elder statesman of the punk/alternative scene, briefly reunited with Hurley in the band fIREHOSE before pursuing solo projects.

The Minutemen were part of a stable of highly influential punk bands, including Black Flag and Husker Du, signed to SST Records. The Minutemen's friendly rivalry with the Minnesota-based Husker Du was then considered the progressive punk equivalent of the Beatles vs. the Beach Boys, circa 1967. In 1984, the band responded to Husker Du's acclaimed two-disk concept album "Zen Arcade," with their own double album, "Double Nickels on the Dime." In the liner notes, the Minutemen wrote: "Take that, Huskers!"

Reach Michael Tsai at mtsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.