Minutemen We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen

Minutemen We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen
The story of San Pedro’s the Minutemen is simultaneously inspirational and deeply saddening, and with We Jam Econo, director Tim Irwin and producer Keith Schieron have laid out a detailed history of the band with enough rare and interesting footage to make for a compelling documentary. One of the most exciting and groundbreaking bands to ever be called "punk,” the Minutemen’s rise from a childhood friendship between bassist Mike Watt and guitarist/vocalist D. Boon to iconic underground trailblazers is demonstrated through original interviews with both Watt and drummer George Hurley, as well as archival footage of Boon, whose tragic death in 1985 is handled deftly by the filmmakers. Also on hand to recount tales of the band’s brief time on the punk music landscape are an enormous number of infamous musicians, punk and otherwise, ranging from Jello Biafra to Flea. While the film itself suffers slightly due to its highly linear structure, which begins to falter shortly after the release of the band’s landmark Double Nickels on the Dime, the ultimate product is extremely worthwhile. In particular for the inspired live performances, available in their entirely on disc two, which includes a brilliant acoustic performance, filmed in 1985, that hints at the places the band could have gone. (Plexifilm/Sonic Unyon)

What was the most surprising thing for you when you watched the movie for the first time? Bassist Mike Watt: I haven’t really seen it all the way through. I’ve seen most of it now. I couldn’t watch it for a long time, like how I couldn’t listen to Minutemen for a long time. It just made me sad. I’ve been asked to do these things before but Keith and Tim really struck me. They were too young to see the Minutemen. They’re so genuine and earnest and coming from the right place with their hearts. There were two goals I had mainly: so people can remember D. Boon, ’cause me and Georgie can still do gigs. Fuck, I wish he was here to speak, because I was always interested in the way he saw things. We talked about everything, you know? And number two: I thought if people saw that these three bozos from Pedro can make a band… It was a debt we felt to the punk scene and that’s something you pass on. It’s kind of weird to talk about it because I don’t want to self-aggrandise the Minutemen. I don’t think that was the point of the documentary. The people who talk in it say some very nice things but you get a kink in your neck looking down on people or looking up at people.