We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen

(2005)

This fine documentary tells the story of legendary San Pedro punk band the Minutemen in a really compelling and watchable fashion.

Picking up right from the very beginning and the chance meeting of D. Boon and Mike Watt in a park aged 13, the film essentially concludes with the band’s tragic end in December 1985 when D. died in a van accident.

Director Tim Irwin and producer Keith Shieron did a stellar job in sewing together fascinating footage of live performances and interviews with the band in the 1980s with a series of newer insights and reflections from contemporaries and fans such as Henry Rollins (Black Flag), Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat and Fugazi), Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Grant Hart (Hüsker Dü) and Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers).

However it is the interviews with bassist/singer Watt and drummer George Hurley that really get to the heart of what the Minutemen were all about, and the unique musical bond and friendship that was formed between them.

Gifted narrator Watt takes the viewer on a nostalgic tour in his Econo van to many of the places where the Minutemen (and previous band The Reactionaries) got their chance, and talks lucidly about his bond with Boon from the get go (even admitting he was ‘smitten with him’ on their first meeting when Boon fell out a tree playing Army).

The documentary – which premiered on 25th February 2005 at the Warner Grand Theatre in the trio’s beloved hometown of San Pedro, California – is an enlightening and often moving motion picture that is fitting testament to one of the very best bands to come out of America’s punk explosion.

In the fall 1985 interview that ends the documentary, the band are asked if they have anything else to say. Watt simply answers “We jam econo” – and neatly sums up the band’s DIY philosophy and attitude to recording and touring. A must watch for fans of the band and those interested in learning more about the US punk movement of the early 1980s.