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The Minutemen's Double Nickels on the Dime (33 1/3) Paperback – April 1, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

Review




"How do you showcase the Minutemen's Double Nickels On The Dime, a sprawling opus of a punk record, spanning more than 40 songs over four LP sides? It's a formidable task that could easily get out of hand, but Michael T. Fournier takes a simple, no-nonsense approach in this installment of the Continuum 33 1/3 series, and this sensibility takes us into the heart and soul of the band and their crowning achievement.

Fournier dives right into the band's history, giving us a short overview of the basics; how they formed, the band members' various personalities, and how they got to the point of releasing Double Nickels. The band was notorious for using inside jokes and obscure references, which played itself out in the theme of the record. Fournier breaks down their overall approach, including an interesting bit on how the album name and cover photo played off of Sammy Hagar's I Can't Drive 55, of all things. He also explains the structure of the album and how each separate side came into being, with each band member getting a side, and leftovers ending up on the last side, nicknamed Chaff.

From there, Fournier goes into each song on the album, providing back stories and anecdotes, including interviews with bassist Mike Watt himself. The book does a great job of pulling back the layers of quirkiness that the band painted themselves in, shining light on some of the mysteries of one of the 80s greatest indie punk records." --Mish Mash Music Reviews



About the Author

Michael T. Fournier is also the author of "Hidden Wheel," a punk rock novel published by Three Rooms Press. He has taught punk rock history at Tufts University and Emerson College. 
His writing has appeared in the Oxford American and Vice. He is the editor of Cabildo Quarterly, a broadsheet journal. Fournier lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife and their cat.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 106 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 2nd edition (April 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826427871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826427878
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.3 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael T. Fournier is a writer/critic/musician living in Western Massachusetts.

He is the editor of Cabidlo Quarterly, a broadsheet literary journal.

His writing has appeared in the Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix, Chunklet, Oxford American, Pennsylvania English, Stolen Island Review, Talking River and Vice.

He plays drums in Dead Trend.

Regular updates are available at michaeltfournier.tumblr.com.


Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By herschel on March 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
When "Double Nickels" came out, I was a teenager in a small town, playing in my own punk rock band. And just as D Boon sang about how "punk rock changed our lives", mine was never the same afterwards -- Minutemen and "Double Nickels" taught me that punk rock was a state of mind, not a cliche I had to adhere to.

So, for me, as a fellow devotee, Fournier had a lot to live up to with this title -- which he does superbly. Seeing as Mike Watt is one of the great self-mythologizers of all of rock (he was even then), Fournier has precious little new information about the subject whatsoever to bring to the table. He instead chooses to delve, song-by-song, into the album itself, musing on whatever he can muster from his own interviews and pre-existing spiels.

If Fournier has a real short-coming here, it's in his presentation of the music itself -- while he readily handles all of the lyrical density and inside-lingo of the Minutemen and "Double Nickels", most fans know that D Boon, Mike Watt, and George Hurley were supremely ambitious musicians, reaching light years ahead of their supposed abilities to incorporate sounds from the Pop Group to James Blood Ulmer, and created songs unlike anything at the time; Fournier seems to have a limited-at-best grasp on the musical concepts he's trying to describe.

But, for most readers, that's a minor quibble. Highly enjoyable, and a must-read for anyone trying to approach this record now, a couple of decades out-of-context.
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Format: Paperback
Mr. Fournier's book came to my mailbox with great anticipation. A feeling not unlike the time of many summers past when buying records directly from SST back in the early 1980s. I can distinctly remember getting Double Nickels on the Dime via mail order, having previously lost my mind on the first full-length What Makes a Man Start Fires. Double Nickels killed me, and continues to do so to this day (though I still don't understand wtf is up with SSTs reluctance to properly issue all tracks from the double LP in it's entirety... some day maybe.) To say that the Minutemen changed my life would be an understatement. From all of the press accolades, I venture to say that Mr. Fournier and I are in the same boat. He even teaches a course on punk rock (warning flag in hindsight). Expectations thus = high.

In my corndog years back in the logging hills of northern California (Pedro north anyone?), I was an SST devotee. I bought everything. Even though Black Flag had been the initial taste, I quickly gravitated toward the Minutemen with their first single, Paranoid Time. I ordered everything that was available, and lived for the updated flyer of available titles that came with each purchase. (It's cool to look back inside those records and see the still primitive paste up approach that would eventually fade away as the 80s wore on.) I suspect there are many out there that share this experience of pre-easy access to anything and everything. Mail order ruled the day. I (mistakenly) assumed that Mr. Fournier came from the same time period, and would be weaving more of a hands-on personal account along the way of his discovery of the record that also blew my ears off on first listen.

I should have done more research.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robert Blake Miller on July 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
Fournier, aside from proving years and years of fanhood and research for this book, has proven himself a biographical writer worth noting. His writing contains more relevant and interesting material than I could have asked for, while managing to trap my interest for pages on end. A worthy investment for anyone, whether a new or life long Minutemen fanatic.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sid Stanford on October 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
An excellent read, quite econo in its own right. With a great level of detail, shared in an interesting fashion, this is the best of the 33 1/3 books I've read to date, and will keep me looking for more of them. I loved the fact that they took so much effort to get the cover shot just right for the record, only to have it cropped on them at the end! Classic! Also, great to read about how the energy of the scene at the time just cross fueled so many important artists.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jacob Frohnapple on October 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
It's been a long time since I read this book... I think I still have my copy somewhere but if it winds up that I've misplaced it, I really don't care. Let's face it- the Minutemen story has been told and retold about a million times already. What I was hoping for in this book was some new information. As much as I love Watt, he's given his insight on all things Minutemen in so many interviews etc., I don't think anything has been left unsaid there. D Boon is obviously unable to offer additional commentary, which leaves George Hurley as the only source for a firsthand perspective that hasn't been rehashed ad nauseum. Logically, both George and Mike should have been interviewed for the book, but the writer apparently only talked to Watt. A thorough researcher would have found some close compatriots of d. Boon from the era in which Double Nickels was written/recorded to gain some perspective as to why Boon chose the songs he did for his side of the album. Unfortunately, this book provides nothing of the sort. All this really amounts to is another retelling of Watt's perspective with no input from George or d Boon/friends. The writing style is trite and uses the same adjectives (probably 6-8 descriptive words) to describe every single track. The discussion of George's side is especially poorly done. George is still alive- perhaps Mr. Fournier could have spoken with him and got some actual insight rather than simply assuming (and constantly repeating) the author's assumption that George's only real basis for selecting tracks was that they were fun to play. Double Nickels is one of the greatest albums of its genre/decade/category/all time and it deserved a lot better treatment than this. I wanted to like this book, but really, the only good thing I can say about it is that it at least didn't use up a lot of my time. Don't buy it.
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