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What Makes a Man Start Fires?

4.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 6, 1991
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 6, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sst Records
  • ASIN: B000000LZ9
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,623 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Minutemen Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Call it 'post-punk' or 'hardcore' or 'alternative' (though none of those terms seems to capture the peculiar sound and style of this band)---in any case, this album is a brief masterpiece. Funky, punchy songs, featuring D. Boon's fractured guitar lines and agitprop lyrics. "Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs," "Sell Or Be Sold," and "Life As A Rehearsal" are standouts but there's some special touch to every song, and they follow one another like images in a nightmare you can't wake up from (I mean that in a good way.) Double Nickels On the Dime has more capaciousness and variety, but for sheer, ripping consistancy and bite the Minutemen never did better than this.
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Format: Audio CD
Missed 'em live about 3 other times. Lemme tell you a story. Maybe not?

However, this album, we can call it that, packed with lots 'o songs but not lasting very long. Yes, they recreated the album in their own form.

This is their second album, came out 1983.

What's their four masterpieces? Punch line 1981, this one, Buzz Howl... 1983 and Double Nickles 2xLP 1984. Feel free to include My First Bells if you like, a compilation tape of their early 7" records and compilation tracks.

Can't really include Politics of Time, 1984 cuz there's too many poorly recorded songs on it. Same reason for Ballot Result. Musically both are brilliant however.

Mersh I wouldn't include cuz they sorta go a different path musically but, heck, it's still the MINUTEMEN.

Thank goodness amazon.com has those 'listen' buttons for most of the records they sell. Just let the music speak for itself man. Nobody made music like this. God took d. boon too soon from us and it was as big a blow as taking Jimi and Belushi too soon. God bless d. boon.

Meanwhile, buy this as is or on one of those 3 Post Mersh CD's released together with other MINUTEMEN records on one CD. You cannot go wrong.

Brief, passionate, bit 'o funky, beautiful voice(s), sharp drumming. That incredible bass playing and together a 3 man unit that sailed through songs and gave us a gift that will stand the ages. Well.

Ok, if you wanna know, I wish I'd seen 'em more times but I saw that Mojave Desert show in the broad flat middle of nowhere salt flats with SAVAGE REPUBLIC. Four bus loads of us. Generators and two passionate bands and us and lots of nowhere. In the afternoon.
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Format: Audio CD
just drop the laser on "Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs". Go ahead, do it. The bass flies out at you faster than life, the lyrics and vocals are right to the point, the drums kick and the guitar howls. After three hit and miss ep's (and one album) prior, the Minutemen finally find their niche on this awesome outing. The tracks follow one another like thought patterns, and many even try new tricks. "East Wind/Faith" is the best, building George Hurley's oil drum solo (you read right) into a total rockin' funk fest. Fabulous! And many tracks ("Life As A Rehearsal", for instance) come nearly as close. From here it was straight up for the Minutemen, but don't let this album pass you by... It's one of the best.
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By A Customer on January 30, 2002
Format: Audio CD
"What Makes a Man Start Fires" seems to be a demarcation point: for the Minutemen at least. And, unlike a previous reviewer, I wouldn't use the imagery of an "extended nightmare," as much as a "blissed-out daydream." D. Boone, Mike Watt and George Hurley were talented enough to realize early that hardcore punk had serious limitations. In many senses, this album branches out into territory that "Double Nickels" never touched. I am not sure where this place is, but I can guess that it involves driving old cars down the Pacific Coastline, dreaming about things other than the plight of the working man.
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Format: Audio CD
As Tab Hunter once told us, you gotta have heart, and San Pedro, California's Minutemen had more heart than any of their punk contemporaries (or predecessors, to tell the truth). The band name -- a gutsy joke about the (60s) ultra-right-wing group that distributed bumper stickers saying "You Are In The Sights of a Minuteman" -- also aptly describes their musical output: it's hard to find a Minutemen song longer than 3:00, and plenty of them clock in under 60 seconds. The Minutemen's politics were a muscular populist leftism derived from "reflective judgment" on their working-class lives, but their sincerity made more passionate converts than Joe Strummer's diplomacy and Jello Biafra's sneer. The 'successful' record, two years before singer and guitarist D. Boon died in a touring van accident, was 1984's *Double Nickels on the Dime*, but I think this artier and more abstract LP from '82 stands up just as well.

The album opens with one of the best song titles of all time, "Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs" ("In a good way", saith bassist and current neo-Stooge Mike Watt). A word that occurs frequently in the other Amazon reviews of this album is "funky", and although Watt wasn't quite Bootsy Collins these guys were serious enough about a new musical paradigm to record a single with Charlie Haden. Operating in an LA scene that often didn't try very hard to do much more than "gob" on consumerism, the Minutemen absorbed avant-gardism and the "repressive tolerance" of Reagan's America and created truly enduring artifacts of intelligent youth in revolt, trying to live their lives at the same time ("Sometimes with people/I fake I've seen movies/to round off the edges"). As they would later say, "Our band could be your life": it really could, it really could.
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