Sunday, August 09, 2009
Double Nickels on the Dime
One of my favorite records is "Double Nickels on the Dime," by the Minutemen. It is a double album of about 40 songs released by SST Records in 1984, a year before the group's singer and guitar player, Dennis Boon, was thrown through a van window in Arizona in a car wreck and died.
I found an interview with the band's bassist Mike Watt (from 1992 or so) where he said the album photo and title of "Double Nickels on the Dime" was a goof on Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive 55" song and album. Apparently, according to Watt, they decided to make the entire point of their album cover and album title to show them driving at 55 mph on a freeway in Los Angeles at an exit to San Pedro (where they were all from).
To get the photo, Watt said they had to go round and round on the highway three times to get the speedometer pinned at exactly 55 mph at the moment they passed the San Pedro exit and to get Watt, who was driving the car, smiling in the rearview mirror.
All this for a dumb joke on Sammy Hagar, who probably still has never heard of the Minutemen.
Of course, given Mike Watt told this story, it is quite possible he made it all up just so people like me would repeat it.
I really like the line where Dennis Boon says, "And I can't believe it all was good for human kind. And I have to read the lies between the lines."
But the best part is when Dennis Boon rolls down the hill, which as any kid knows, is why hills were invented.
Something very precious and vital left the Earth when Dennis Boon was killed on a highway in Arizona in December 1985.