We Jam Econo: The Story Of The Minutemen – DVD Review


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Paramount Pictures presents We Jam Econo: The Story Of The Minutemen. Running Time: 85 minutes. Not Rated.

Director:

Tim Irwin

Cast:

Mike Watt….Himself
D. Boon….Himself
George Hurley….Himself
Flea….Himself
Thurston Moore….Himself
Henry Rollins….Himself

The Movie:

If you’ve heard of The Minutemen you know how important they are. (If you haven’t heard of them, you should at least know their song Corona, the theme song from the show “Jackass.”) Coming onto the scene in the early days of punk, they forged new ground that no one else could have ever imagined. Mike Watt: one of the most amazing bass players ever and easily the best in punk. George Hurley: a phenomenal drummer who brought an whole other level of artistry to their sound. D. Boon: the kinetic and frantic guitarist who left us far too soon. Three men who dared to question what punk was and what it could be.

This is what a rock documentary should be. It’s a perfect blend of new interviews, old interviews, and amazing performances. Mike Watt takes us on a journey around San Pedro showing the sights where Watt and D. Boone first met to where The Minutemen were formed. Other musicians such as Flea, Henry Rollins, Thurston Moore, John Doe and many others chime in with there thoughts and reflections on what The Minutemen meant to them.

Here you get the complete story of The Minutemen: from the early days when they were kids and stared playing together to the final sad death of D. Boon. Mike Watt shares a great story about the first time he saw a real bass guitar. They also talk about how they didn’t know what it meant to tune a guitar, they though it was preference. Some people like ’em loose, some like ’em tight.

The Minutemen were one of those rare bands that defied definition. They were punk, they were funk, they were anything they wanted to be. When they first appeared on the punk scene they weren’t welcome with open arms. In some of the live footage the audience is spitting on them and unplugging the microphone. But that didn’t drive them off stage. They finished the set and showed that a little spit wouldn’t send then running.

The Minutemen are also responsible for one of the greatest rock records of all time, Double Nickels On The Dime. There are some great stories here about how the album came about. In fact you get to learn about all their big musical moments. Back in 1984 Sammy Hagar sang “I won’t drive 55.” Well, The Minutemen thought, we’ll go the speed limit and let the music speak for itself. However, nobody got it. Double Nickels (55) On The Dime = Going exactly that speed. Also around this time Husker Dü released their opus Zen Arcade. When The Minutemen heard that Husker Dü was going to have a double album they wanted one to and took and extra week to record 20 more songs for the record!

Some of the best stuff in this film is the last interview done with The Minutemen before D. Boon’s death. You get some really great insight into what was going through the bands mind back then versus just hearing what Mike Watt and George Hurley have to say now. Also, this is the only interview footage of D. Boon, so it’s great to hear what he has to say.

It seems odd that they don’t spend more time talking about D. Boon’s death. Mike and George talk about how it affected them, but the car accident itself isn’t really discussed. But then again, what is there to really say about it? D. Boon died. End of story, end of The Minutemen.

FINAL SCORE: 10/10


From left to right: Mike Watt, D. Boone & George Hurley

The DVD:

The Video:

This film is full screen, 1.33:1. Because it’s a documentary and all the concert footage was shot in the early 80’s a lot of it is really grainy. But you don’t watch a movie like this looking for shiny clean footage.

Score:7/10

The Audio:

This film is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. The interviews sound great, even the one with D. Boon. Some the concert footage sounds kind of rough but if you can’t understand what D. Boon is singing, just turn on the subtitles. Being able to read what he’s singing is really great.

Score:8/10

Extras:

Disc 1:

Music Videos: You get three music videos. “This Ain’t No Picnic”, “Ack Ack Ack Ack”, and “King Of The Hill”. These are really cool.

Uncut Bard College Interview This is the complete 56 minute interview that was the bands last. There is some really great stuff in here that wasn’t used in the movie.

19 Deleted Scenes and Interviews: There are some real gems in here. I can only imagine the reasons they were cut was to keep the length of the film down.

Disc 2:

62 songs from three live performances: The three shows are as follows: The Starwood Los Angeles, CA – November 18th, 1980, 9:30 Club Washington, D.C. – 1984, Acoustic Blow-Out (cable access show) Hollywood, CA – 1985. It’s great to see these full shows. To listen to their records is one thing, to see them live… that’s a whole other experience.

The Starwood show has a multi angle feature so you can see it head on or from the side of the stage. It’s great this show is on here cause this is the show where the audience starts spitting on them and unplugging Mike’s mic. “Go ahead, spit on me!” Mike Watt screams at them. Also, D. Boon plays over half the show with two broken strings. Songs :15. Length of show: 18 minutes.

The 9:30 show is a better quality records than the Starwood show and here the band has really come into their own. During this set, George breaks his snare drum so D. and Mike jam for awhile while the drum gets fixed, it’s pretty cool to watch them go while George frantically screws his drum back together. Songs 37. Length of show: 58 minutes.

The Acoustic Blow-Out is particularly amazing. It’s just the three of them sitting around playing all acoustic, George is playing on a pair of bongos. These songs are completely stripped down and still sound amazing proving just how prolific these musicians really are. Songs: 11. Length of show: 21 minutes.

Score:10/10

InsidePulse’s Ratings for We Jam Econo – The Story Of The Minutemen
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

10
THE VIDEO

7
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

10
REPLAY VALUE

8
OVERALL
9
(NOT AN AVERAGE)