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The Minutemen's Double Nickels on the Dime (33 1/3) Paperback – April 1, 2007
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"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
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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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just watch "We Jam Econo." It's a great documentary, it's free on YouTube, it will take up as much or less of your time as this book, and--most important--it's clearly the... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Eric K.
This guy goes way too into detail just describing the songs and the book has a huge amount of typos. The author talks about himself too much. Read morePublished 22 months ago by michael savage
Clear writing and great facts! Mr. Fournier clearly knows his stuff. Five stars. I can't recommend this book enough. Read morePublished on April 6, 2012 by suplex
I have a lot of favorite albums but this album is my #1 favorite album of all.
I was delighted to find a 33 1/3 issue has been made regarding this album. Read more
If your into The Minutemen and love "Double Nickels on the Dime" check out this little gem. The book goes through the album with a fine tooth comb, it provides some inside info on... Read morePublished on November 16, 2008 by Thomas L. Young III
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... Read morePublished on October 26, 2007 by Sid Stanford
It's nice to know that at least one other Concord resident finds this record worthy of such great praise. Read morePublished on October 19, 2007 by J. Fraser