What Would the World Be Like if D. Boon Hadn’t Died?

D. complete with Schoolkids Records T-shirt (Ann Arbor history!)

My friend Mark blamed my lack of readership on this site on a lack of thematic variety. Though I think he was trying to nicely suggest that it might not be the lame writing, he recommended that I write about music or something. Improving the poor writing is most certainly a lost cause.

So.. I usually listen to some tunes on the way home from school. Recently, it’s nothing but Goatwhore and Carcass, but today I set my mp3 player on shuffle and on comes a tune from the classic “Double Nickels on the Dime” by San Pedro’s the Minutemen. For those too young to know, the guitarist, D. Boon, died tragically in a senseless car accident at the age of 27.

I can’t think of a bad Minutemen record, and I have them all. I was a die hard punk fan in high school. The Minutemen were certainly in that scene, but defied every punk standard out there. When it was considered almost a capital offense to be into classic rock, the Minutemen were covering Blue Oyster Cult, paying homage to Steely Dan and producing fantastic renditions of CCR tunes without a hint of irony.

The Minutemen were the true adults in the room in the punk rock scene. Their playing was absolutely top notch and they stuck to a hard and spartan working class work ethic that put quality over everything else. D. Boon’s lyrics possessed a political depth that was rarity in the often sophomoric rantings so ubiquitous in early 80’s hardcore. When Jello was screaming Saturday morning cartoon politics, Boon was championing poverty along the Mexican border and calling for the US to dis-involve in Central American conflicts. It’s very unfortunate that I never got to see them.

Though they did soften at the end, they got nothing but better with age. I often think about what they might have accomplished had D. Boon been wearing a seatbelt that day. D. Boon was one of the greatest guitar players who ever lived (and amazingly light footed given his size). Certainly, D. Boon’s accomplishments by age 54 would have been formidable.

So here are the Minutemen covering Van Halen’s classic “Ain’t Talkin Bout Love” and a trailer from a documentary on the band, “We Jam Econo.” Enjoy


About Pete Larson

Researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. Lecturer in the University of Michigan School of Public Health and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I do epidemiology, public health, GIS, health disparities and environmental justice. I also do music and weird stuff.

5 responses to “What Would the World Be Like if D. Boon Hadn’t Died?”

  1. stumpwater says :

    The Minutemen come up in my shuffle occasionally too, and I am blown away every time. Watching them play live (We Jam Econo and youtube only, unfortunately) is absolutely jaw dropping.

    Oh, and your writing is fine, Pete. You probably have a bigger readership than you realize, but with your data-fortified, dissertation-grade arguments, throwing down my two cents’ worth in the comment section can be a little intimidating. I very much enjoy reading, though. I’ll bet I have plenty of company in that regard.

  2. stumpwater says :

    Wow — nice School Kids t-shirt! Just noticed it.

  3. Jason Voss says :

    I said something on the internet about the Minutemen a few years ago and Mark’s response was “It’s fucking sad he died.” which I thought was really interesting because since I was 6 when D Boon died, he had been gone for a decade before I ever heard of them. I guess I can’t imagine a world where he is still alive, even though his work has spoken to me profoundly since I was a teenager.

  4. tony miller says :

    Yeah Peter!

  5. trythisitsawful says :

    Such a great drummer. The bass player did well I hear.
    Did you ever get to see firehose? EdFromOhio sure tried his best, but it felt like funky punk at times.

    BTW, Goatwhore rules.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: