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    Nushu's Lisa Mychols and Tom Richards from The Waking Hours welcome you to The Time Machine

    Monday, July 03, 2006

    Before Mtv's JACKASS, it was just known as CORONA...

    Our favorite air talent, Kathy with a "K", drops in again with her take on the rockumentary "We Jam Econo" which hits the truth of the matter in a way that so many documentaries fail.

    High waters...I dig it if it's a look. True. Like rockabilly or straight punk ala early Clash. Oh...see, that's the other thing.

    Last night I sat down and watched the Minutemen film WE JAM ECONO...the authorized documentary featuring Mike Watt and stock footage of D. Boon, George Hurley and Mr. Watt himself.

    I got into the Minutemen in 1991 or 1992; I picked up "Double Nickels on the Dime" on cassette and thought how strange it was that it was lumped into the punk rock category but it didn't sound punk rock. The songs were short, fast and loud...the singer yelled and the rhythms were crazy.

    My first exposure to anything remotely punk was in 1984 or so. A young surfer boy newly transplanted from California hung out at the beach with me; he played the Circle Jerks and the Vandals on his stereo at home, bobbing his asymetical haircut and all. It was definately ear-expanding, nothing like the Led Zeppelin, Van Halen and Sabbath the other boys were listening to; even the rap music was melodic by comparison.

    "What do you think?" he would ask, shuffling through his tapes, moving around records and magazines about surfing and music around his messy room, Sex Wax and surf leashes everywhere. I would nod and shrug my shoulders, asking what else he had.

    I like all kinds of music. I am not too good with what makes a genre "emo", "lite jazz" or "urban r&b"...that's a radio thingy, I think. Marketing, right. I just like good music. If I stop what I'm doing and ask about it, like that Gnarls Barkley "Crazy" or Phoenix "Everything is Everything". Some radio singles are nice and I get a kick out of visiting the various profiles and hearing what's new or under exposed. Good is good.

    The Minutemen, Really didn't make sense to me. I liked it though I didn't know what it was that I liked. Sometimes I thought I would hear some jazzy-beat nonsense then thought, how could that be? In my younger self, the cross pollenation of genres could not be I didn't understand it. I liked it though I couldn't put my finger on what it was that I liked about it. I like peanut butter though was it the texture, the flavor...the brand?

    Watching this DVD made me feel this relief...that everyone starts from knowing a little of something then realizing that what you know is nothing. You constantly begin at zero and if you're lucky, you keep getting back to the innocence of the new.

    Mike Watt was so honest and relaxed...there's a bunch of great moments, especially when talking about his naivete when it came to playing bass. It's he's driving (a lot of his interview footage from the inside of his van) he recalls going to a store and seeing a guitar with "strings like bridge cables" and being in awe. The store owner asked why he's tripping, "thought you said you played bass"; earlier Watt said that he originally played guitar though D. Boon's mom had them switch instruments thus the non-knowledge about guitar versus bass strings.

    "...from far away, you can't tell what kind of strings are on the (bass) guitar," he said. It's sweet...if you are a longtime fan of the Minutemen, you will really appreciate this film and it includes a few live shows from the mid-to-late 1980's. The doc includes interview blurbs from Ian MacKaye/Fugazi, Henry Rollins/Black Flag-Rollins Band and Milos Auckerman/the Descendents. The deeper commentary comes from Jello Biafra, cats from Husker Du, Wire, Slovenly and Saccharine Trust (the last two bands of which I will try to get familiar with in the future...).

    The real treat is when you get to hear Mike Watt's mom and San Pedro residents who have known the boys from shmall keed time joke and reminisce about the early-early days. This wasn't "The Decline of the Western Civilization" yet a great tribute to a little band that continues to confound and inspire those who just want to express themselves without having to conform to labels. Not to be political, not to make a stand...just to be creative and have fun. Enjoy the freedom to have fun.

    Posted by Kathy


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