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The Minutemen Double Nickels on the Dime (33 1/3) Paperback – 1 Jun 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Continuum (1 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826427871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826427878
  • Product Dimensions: 12.1 x 1 x 16.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 971,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'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 teaches the history of punk rock at Tufts University. He also writes about music for Perfect Sound Forever and Trouser Press. He lives in Massachusetts, USA.

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By andreas tangen on 19 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
Mike Watt is such an accommodating guy that he will give any chancer the factual and anecdotal framework for an interesting piece.The author is,conversely,devoid of original thinking,apposite references and journalistic (let alone critical) faculties.I won't waste your time with every teeth grinding,plodding 'insight'.Suffice to say he is reviewing a record he admits to first owing on cassette,before 'trading up' to a CD.This is a double LP with 4 carefully compiled sides,and a gatefold sleeve with some of Pettibons best work for SST.It's like reviewing 'Ulysses' from a talking book.Flick through it in a shop you don't like.
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By DAVID CAMPBELL on 14 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback
It's ok
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
An excellent and expansive introduction 7 Mar. 2008
By herschel - Published on
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.
19 of 27 people found the following review helpful
disappointment: accolades for expressing pure joy and love for the Minutemen, but book falls way short 1 Sept. 2008
By Damon Cleckler - Published on
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.

Having been burned before with the 33 1/3 series (granted, a lot of these folks are not writers, so you take what you get), I resurfaced hope and figured there was no way to get this book wrong. There is no easier way to put it than that. It's interesting, but just doesn't work. I don't want to ding Mr. Fournier for his enthusiasm, nor his interesting anecdotal research, but I take something away from this book that leaves me hopelessly unsatisfied. I can't fault a guy for loving the Minutemen, no matter what time in life one discovers them. The songs are dissected and explored in a straight track-by-track fashion, but in such a way (that for me), the lack of context of having been there during the time period in which they were written and released really grates on my brain. It's all too academic. For all of their genius, complexity and intellect, the Minutemen were simple and pure. There was no hubris to sort through, no formulaic baggage. I find the latter to be my biggest stumbling block with this book: there is a struggle to break free from the thesis of musicological academia, yet it remains tethered to it's structure. In the end, you'll read this as "old, grey-muzzle, bitter-guy review," and I suppose you'll be right because it's completely my own issue. I expected to connect with someone revisiting the greatness of this record having experienced it's context in real time, rather than through the lense of everything else that followed in it's wake. Writing about great music (great art of any medium) is always a risk, so I do offer kudos to Mr. Fournier for trying to capture the spirit and story in the most passionate and informative way he can. I was just bummed.

So kids, check the used book stores. You should be able to find my copy in near mint condition for a quarter or so, or... better yet: buy the album and then go start your own band.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Thorough, Extremely Enjoyable 27 July 2007
By Robert Blake Miller - Published on
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.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Minutemen Can Drive 55 26 Oct. 2007
By Sid Stanford - Published on
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.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
George Hurley is alive and well. 5 Oct. 2013
By Jacob Frohnapple - Published on
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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