The Minutemen

Mike Watt of Minutemen & Reviews of Pharrell Williams and The War on Drugs

With his classic album Double Nickels on the Dime about to turn 30, bassist Mike Watt of Minutemen speaks with hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot . Later they review new albums from "Happy" Pharrell Williams and The War on Drugs.

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Mike Watt

By the early 1980's, punk had become less about sticking it to the man, and more about conforming to a set of rules. Then came the Minutemen with Double Nickels on the Dime, the 1984 album that threw out the punk rulebook. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Double Nickels, Jim and Greg revisit their 2011 conversation with Minutemen bassist Mike Watt, who founded the San Pedro hardcore group alongside drummer George Hurley and larger-than-life lead singer and guitarist D. Boon. The Minutemen weren't afraid to experiment with their sound, incorporating jazz and funk, as well as "Econo"—a lo-fi, DIY attitude that would later inspire indie rock. Ever the motor-mouth philosopher, Watt waxes poetic about jamming econo, the true meaning of "Double Nickels on the Dime," and his idea of a "Hot Topic."

reviewG I R LG I R L available on iTunes

Pharrell G I R L

For a long time, baby-faced Pharrell Williams was better known as a producer for artists like Jay-Z and his own N.E.R.D. But in 2006 Pharrell stepped out more as a vocalist, releasing a lukewarm solo album and increasing his guest appereances on other artist's tracks. In 2012, two of those tracks, one with Robin Thicke and the other with Daft Punk, launched him to new heights of stardom. And with that momentum, Williams is back with a second solo album. G I R L's slick combination of disco and R&B sounds make the record an instant Try It for Jim. He would‘ve gone Buy It if it weren’t for Pharrell's tired lyrics about women. Greg also sighs at the empty lyrics, adding that Williams should stick with what he does best: producing. His ability to channel dancable rhythms from the likes of Prince and Stevie Wonder is his greatest asset and ultimately the only thing earning G I R L a Try It.

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reviewLost in the DreamSlave Ambient available on iTunes

The War on Drugs Slave Ambient

The Philadelphia band The War on Drugs straddles the line between indie singer/songwriter and psychedelic rock. It was originally founded by Kurt Vile and Adam Granduceil, but Vile has since left to pursue a solo career. Granduceil continued as The War on Drugs, releasing a moderately succesful record called Slave Ambient in 2011. His new album, Lost in the Dream, is his best, according to Jim. Working out the songs on the road created a wonderful live atmosphere. It's perfect headphone music, says Jim: Buy It. Greg likes the record as well, but wishes some of the more meandering tracks were better edited. He gives Lost in the Dream a Try It rating.

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Greg

“The Red and the Black”Blue Öyster Cult

During his conversation with Jim and Greg, Mike Watt reveals some of Minutemen's more surprising influences. One that didn't come up, but has been cited in the past, is Blue Öyster Cult. But, as Greg explains, the more you think about it, the more that affinity makes sense. This hard rock arena band was actually masterminded by producer (and former rock critic) Sandy Pearlman. And some of the bands lyricists were Patti Smith and critic Richard Meltzer. So you have the heft of literary words with the speed and intensity of punk rock. You can hear that combination in a song Watt continues to perform to this day: "The Red and the Black" by Blue Öyster Cult.

Featured Songs

  1. The Minutemen, Maybe Partying Will Help, Double Nickels On the Dime, SST, 1984
  2. The Minutemen, Shit From An Old Notebook, Double Nickels On the Dime, SST, 1984
  3. The Minutemen, D.'s Car Jam/Anxious Mo-Fo, Double Nickels On the Dime, SST, 1984
  4. The Minutemen, Political Song For Michael Jackson To Sing, Double Nickels On the Dime, SST, 1984
  5. The Minutemen, June 16th, Double Nickels On the Dime, SST, 1984
  6. The Minutemen, My Heart And The Real World, Double Nickels On the Dime, SST, 1984
  7. Wire, Ex Lion Tamer, Pink Flag, Harvest, 1977
  8. Hüsker Dü, What's Going On, Zen Arcade, SST, 1984
  9. The Minutemen, Two Beads At The End, Double Nickels On the Dime, SST, 1984
  10. The Minutemen, Don't Look Now, Double Nickels On the Dime, SST, 1984
  11. The Minutemen, Doctor Wu, Double Nickels On the Dime, SST, 1984
  12. The Minutemen, History Lesson, Part 2, Double Nickels On the Dime, SST, 1984
  13. The Minutemen, The Glory Of Man, Double Nickels On the Dime, SST, 1984
  14. The Minutemen, This Ain't No Picnic, Double Nickels On the Dime, SST, 1984
  15. The Minutemen, Love Dance, Double Nickels On the Dime, SST, 1984
  16. Pharrell Williams, Hunter, G I R L, i Am Other/Columbia, 2014
  17. Pharrell Williams, Marilyn Monroe, G I R L, i Am Other/Columbia, 2014
  18. The War on Drugs, Red Eyes, Lost in the Dream, Secretly Canadian, 2014
  19. The War on Drugs, An Ocean in Between the Waves, Lost in the Dream, Secretly Canadian, 2014
  20. Blue Öyster Cult, The Red and the Black, Tyranny and Mutation, Columbia, 1973
  21. The Ladybug Transistor, Always on the Telephone, Can't Wait Another Day, Merge, 2007
  22. Sly & the Family Stone, Stand!, Stand!, Epic, 1969
  23. Red Hot Chili Peppers, If You Want Me to Stay, Freaky Styley, EMI, 1985
  24. Mark Mothersbaugh, Emmet's Morning, The Lego Movie: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, WaterTower Music, 2014
  25. U2, Ordinary Love, Single, Interscope, 2013

Footnotes

hootpage.com Mike Watt's homepage allmusic.com The Minutemen amazon.com Buy Double Nickels on the Dime urbandictionary.com Jamming Econo, defined youtube.com The Minutemen,“Glory of Man”(live) imdb.com“We Jam Econo—The Story of The Minutemen” hottopic.com That other Hot Topic… pharrellwilliams.com Pharrell Williams chicagotribune.com Greg's Pharrell review nypost.com Pharrell's fashion statement chicagotribune.com Greg's War on Drugs review soundopinions.org Sound Opinions with Kurt Vile youtube.com Blue Oyster Cult,“The Red and the Black” vice.com Richard Meltzer mcgill.ca Professor Sandy Pearlman metatube.com More Cowbell