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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fitting DVD release for an amazing band..., 8 Jan. 2007
By 
Ben (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Minutemen - We Jam Econo [2005] [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
In this excellent film "We Jam Econo", it's perhaps a testament to the brilliant Minutemen that such an impressive list of fellow musicians put themselves forward to talk about this incredibly gifted and inspiring group.

Told without a narrative voice over, instead the story is propelled along principally by the rather passionate bassist Mike Watt (whilst driving his van through an old sight seeing tour of hometown San Pedro) and is interspersed with numerous clips from an impressive anyone-who's-anyone list of I-was-there musicians including Thurston Moore, Ian MacKaye, Richard Hell, Henry Rollins and Flea.

Any fan of the band should really consider getting this DVD, but if you're sitting on the fence then perhaps I can persuade you to invest in this great package. The two discs are split between the documentary on one (with extra scenes and rare music videos) and a collection of live gigs recorded during the 1980s on the second.

The film itself is overall a rather gentle but interesting one, and it fortunately stands up to repeat viewing. If there's a criticism, I'd concede that the story, and so the film itself, is ultimately a slightly a sedate one. By this I mean it lacks the fireworks and anguish found in "Dig!" or perhaps "End Of The Century", but then, this was never what the band were about. It should also be acknowledged that the terribly tragic death of D Boon is not delivered in any emotional or hand wringing way. So the directors have chosen, quite nobly, not to emphasise this aspect of the band's history to reach for any greater emotional impact, as it's simply not required.

So rather than being a story about the usual band-in-turmoil or any such rock cliches, this is more a story about a rather unlikely group of young men, and how they went about creating such impressive and clearly influential music, and their overriding love of the punk scene.

I've read elsewhere that the live gigs on the second disc are the real draw here, and I'd agree they're an impressive addition. Granted, there is some pretty basic camera work on display, but the sonic quality is very impressive - so overall the passion and intensity is clear to see. The 9:30 gig, recorded in 1985, is particularly impressive, with the band on astounding form. But then, would you expect anything less from such a brilliant group?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT! ...long overdue., 5 Feb. 2007
This review is from: Minutemen - We Jam Econo [2005] [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
The previous 2 reviews pretty much sum up everything I could ever say...

Only thing to add is...

Can you feel the passion we all have for this band?

They truly were unique amongst the punk/hardcore scene of the early 80's, (that didn't always go down well) but these guys had more 'punk rock spirit' than most of the rest rolled together.
They had a sense of togetherness and integrity and individuality like no other band I can think of.

This is a beautifully recounted story of D. Boon and Mike Watt's amazing friendship and along with George Hurley, how they became the Minutemen...a lot of which I did't know. Alas I never got to see them and only discovered them when I discovered fIREHOSE (check them out if you haven;t already). This helped fill that gaping hole in my heart and re-ignited my love and appreciation for them.

PS: yes a similar film of Husker Du would be most welcome!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This band should be your life!!, 23 July 2006
By 
Mr. Paul I. Harrod "Rhino" (Bucks, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Minutemen - We Jam Econo [2005] [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
Finally someone has seen fit to release live footage of one of the most influential and enterprising bands of the SST generation. The first disc is a story of the band told through the eyes of founder members Mike Watt and George Hurley as well as talking heads from a veritable whos who of the early Eighties indie scene - Henry Rollins, Spot, Thurston Moore, a coupla Husker Du,Jello Biafa, a Descendent and, um, Flea from the Chili Peppers! What comes across most is the real sense of brotherhood and community that all the bands shared as well as the day-to-day struggle they all had to actually get their music heard. It ends inevitably with the sad death of singer/guitarist/ soul of the band D. Boon in a car accident.

The second disc contains three gigs; two electric and one acoustic and it is the latter in particular which is testament to the musical dexterity and ideas of the band - pretty good going when most of their songs don't even reach the two minute mark. With a couple of wonderfully cheap-looking promos and bags of edited scenes this is fans dream come true and something for anyone with an interest in early-80's US alt-rock to treasure. Now how about a similar effort on Husker Du?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great rock film and an even better DVD, 9 Mar. 2007
By 
lexo1941 (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Minutemen - We Jam Econo [2005] [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
'We Jam Econo' is simply one of the great music films, remarkable from guys who were relatively inexperienced when they made it. The Minutemen's output was enormous for a band whose recording career only lasted for five years, and this film came about because the guys who made it had grown up on rental videos of bands such as Black Flag and had been disappointed that there was nothing on the Minutemen. By the time they finished making it they had hours of interview footage with veterans of the scene such as Jack Brewer, Joe Baiza, Henry Rollins, Kira Roessler, Joe Carducci and D. Boon's mum, plus three glorious live gigs in full grainy early-80s video glory. The whole thing is knitted together by a series of long interviews with Mike Watt, who drives around in his van pointing out sites of Minutemen history, talks about the songs, talks about the business and about his late friend and bandmate. George Hurley is there too, looking barely a day older (if a little stockier and greyer).

I can never understand rock writers who write about the Minutemen as being a 'band's band', whatever that means; they always made perfect sense to me. They were simply one of the great American bands of all time, with more brilliant songs per album than some bands have in a career (the Minutemen's magnum opus Double Nickels on the Dime has more songs, full stop, than most bands ever get around to recording). They played like demons (captured well on video) and they never stood still. This is a brilliant tribute to them, and will provide ample evidence to those who want to know why the rest of us get so emotional at the thought of them.

Informative, funny, moving but unsentimental, it's the kind of movie the Minutemen would have made if they'd made movies (providing that they hadn't made movies that were 30 seconds long). The DVD extras are generously the opposite of econo - all of the band's videos (a grand total of 3), many deleted scenes, and the complete and uncut live footage that you've already watched bits of in the film itself.

A model of how to make a documentary about a band.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful testament to a brilliant band, 7 Jan. 2008
By 
Mr. M. L. Hawes "Mitchmusic" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Minutemen - We Jam Econo [2005] [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
There is plenty enough already in the reviews already submitted to enable the potential buyer to make an properly informed choice, but perhaps I can just add my own brief overview:

Minutemen were the finest band on SST and that is saying something as it was a powerhouse of a label in the 80's featuring Husker Du, Black Flag, Descendents and Bad Brains. Their approach to music simply puts them in a different league to the rest of the hard core bands of the era.

They could play, they had groove, political comment a plenty and best of all.....tunes.

This is a heartfelt and emotional journey narrated and starring Mike Watt, through their brilliant history. I found it completely inspiring and at the same time, tragic, that D Boon is not able now to retire on the beautiful body of work that they created.

But this will do fine as a post script to the best band of their generation...
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