Thursday, July 06, 2006

It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one

With the exception of a few writers, I don't normally go in for the whole pantheon of rock critics. I certainly haven't read a lot of stuff by Richard Meltzer for instance, but i'm aware of him - as i'm sure a lot of other people are - through writers like Lester Bangs and Nick Toshes. If you're a regular reader of Perfect Sound Forever, you may have read an interview with Meltzer from a couple of years ago. In this interview, he comes across as fairly bitter and cynical figure who has pretty much given up on music altogether. At first, I didn't know what to make of it; but thinking about it more and more, a lot of what he has to say is relevant now more than ever...

But yeah, I don't want to get drawn into that right now. There is far to much good music to be positive about. And of course, 'good music' is all relative blah blah blaaaah...

The reason I even mention this interview is although Meltzer is disparaging of almost all NEW music (well, certainly the hype), he did have a lot of time for Minutemen; and for some reason - at this point - I had no real idea about SST Records or the Minutemen. Ok, so I was aware of SST as a label, but not their roster of bands - or at least, the extent of it. Eventually I did catch up for lost time and well, as you may already know, the soon to be released: We Jam Econo - The Story of the Minutemen celebrates everything that was so important about this band. For me, their DIY atttitude and poltical stance of this band is just incredible to me. They may have disliked being called a punk band, but their live performances were, in every respect PUNK. Of course, listen to one of their albums now and it's completely at odds with that view. Afterall, this is band that hated the seventies, but covered Creedance Clearwater Revival and Blue Oyster Cult? The also identifed a lot more with Funk (Mike Watt's elasicated bass sounds), Jazz (short, sharp blasts of manic energy) and British Art Rock (Wire etc) than they ever did with Punk, musically speaking.

So what is it about this band? Well they were FUN. And speaking from my own point of view, watching footage of Mike Watt, D. Boon and George Hurley playing in this documentary is one of the most inspiring things I have ever seen. I remember watching it at Camber Sands in May and being completely floored by Mike Watt's contribution; the making of this documentary was clearly cathartic to him - afterall, he lost his best friend aswell as a bandmate. Equally important though, is making sure people hear this band and that their legacy continues. The kids reponsible for this documentary have certainly done that!

Minutemen - Fortunate Son

We Jam Econo - The Story of the Minutemen (Trailer)

BUY at SST Records


At 9:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

great review

At 2:59 pm, Blogger Ben said...

Hey Pete,

Thanks for the link to the Meltzer interview - it's a great read!

I may not entirely agree w/ him, but I like his style.


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