Finally got the chance to watch this documentary of the band, the Minutemen, and heard again the story of D. Boon's mother's encouraging him and Mike Watt to play music, and allowing them to practice in the house despite the unholy racket they created. Some of the best noise ever made in rock and roll, actually. And D. Boon is, as far as I'm concerned, as one of the best agit-prop poets ever to sing (or bellow, in his case).
David Rees, on the 20th anniversary of D. Boon's death, wrote a litany of thoughts, in Minutemen fashion, on one of the heroes of American punk rock:
That song's jarring first line: "Let the products sell themselves / fuck advertising, commercial psychology / psychological methods to sell should be destroyed," is the greatest first line of a song of all time.
-The band's political lyrics, printed on album covers without line breaks or capital letters, like James Frey channeling Noam Chomsky, are the greatest political lyrics of all time:
"I saw some military hardware today they changed the color olive drab to yellow/brown/gray the color of our dead the color of our glory"
-The band's other lyrics, many of which were combined with brief, angular melodies to create remarkably accurate approximations of what Western intellectual thought actually sounds like, are the greatest other lyrics of all time:
"starting with the affirmation of man I work myself backwards using cynicism (the time monitor, the space measurer)"...
That D. Boon's bassist and best friend, Mike Watt, still plays bass, writes music, and tours the country in a Ford Econoline van; and that Mike Watt ends his gigs with the exhortation to "start your own band, paint your own picture, write your own book"--twenty years after his friend's death broke his heart--and that Mike Watt continues to champion this D.I.Y. punk philosophy while many other punks have burnt out, grown soft, or given up; and that Mike Watt (I imagine) perseveres in part to honor his brilliant friend's brief life and the possibilities bequeathed to future musicians, artists, activists, punks and outsiders--is one of the greatest American success stories of all time.
"Our band could be your life."
D. Boon is dead. Long live D. Boon.
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