D. Boon Essential Listening
Want to draw a bead on D. Boon’s singular guitar style? Check out these videos:
“D. had a powerful rhythm guitar thrust, putting his whole body into it,” Nels Cline says. You can see that in action in this 1985 clip shot live at the Stone in San Francisco, as he wails on “I Felt Like a Gringo” from Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat.
So clean it practically hurts, D. Boon’s tone is in full idiosyncratic bloom during this performance shot outdoors on the UCLA campus with Boon’s roommate, Richard Derrick, filling in on drums. “He really was into that chunky attack with a quick response,” regular Minuteman drummer George Hurley says. “When he would strum his guitar, his legs would catapult his torso into the air.”
The chugging, studio-recorded audio for this video for “Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs” is from 1983’s What Makes a Man Start Fires? According to Spot, reading from his log for the sessions, “On the guitar, I see an [Electro-Voice] RE20 and a [Beyer] M 500. There were two room mics: one was a Neumann U 87 omni and the other was an AKG C414 bi-directional.”
This performance is about as dirty as D. Boon got in the studio—with a slightly abrasive quack to his tone. “This Ain’t No Picnic” is from Double Nickels on the Dime. “At the time, we thought [having chops] was a taint,” Mike Watt says. “We were poisoned. We were soiled. We were not just brand-new playing. But we figured, you can’t change your past anyway, so fuck it.”
A highlight of the Minutemen’s live shows was the wild array of meat-and-potatoes rock covers they’d pull out. Here, they play Van Halen’s “ Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” during the brief period when Boon used a Gibson Melody Maker with a single-coil pickup and an aluminum pickguard.