When I was a kid, this is what I assumed punk-rock shows looked like: dudes in leather jackets, tough-looking ladies with homemade haircuts. Check out the dude sitting up by the speaker cabs, dancing like his ear’s attached to one of the cones. Other people stand around, passersbys look bemused or confused. Someone hands out some kind of flyer; the lady with the bad haircut takes one without missing a step.
But nobody ever told me when I was a kid that this was what a punk-rock band could look like. Or sound like, for that matter. There’s some controversy in the comments section as to whether this is even the Minutemen at all–note that that drummer, while serviceable, ain’t exactly George Hurley–but that doesn’t seem to matter to D. Boon, who tosses out those elastic riffs over Mike Watt’s lurching bassline, tosses off the kind of technical guitar solo you could only get away with for about two years there (and only in Southern California), then goes all goofy-walk over the mystery drummer’s wipeout rolls. And to top it off, Speaker Dude gets himself a high-five from Watt.
Yeah, sure, Bob Dylan wrote propaganda songs, but D. Boon could write Bob Dylan songs, too. Here, Watt trades in his thunderstaff for some gentle picking and goofball poetry, Hurley droops his hair over a pair of bongos, and D. Boon goes at it as if sitting cross-legged and unplugged on a stage were his preferred posture. This version of “Corona” is taken from an acoustic mini-set the Minutemen seem to have recorded after the release of their landmark 1984 album Double Nickels on the Dime. Stripped of its loping rhythm and Boon’s elastic guitar tone, “Corona”’s tenderness–and Boon’s vulnerability–is revealed. Hear him strum through the changes in that last verse and try not to think for too long about what the last twenty-five years might’ve sounded like. words/ m garner