Dennes Boon grew up in San Pedro, California, an industrial port town and home to many in the Navy. At 14, he jumped from a tree in the park and landed in front of Mike Watt and they became friends. D listened to Creedence Clearwater Revival, and that group’s political lyrics became a life-long influence on his music.
While still teenagers, Boon and Watt started a cover band, but later, after seeing the punk scene in LA did they think of creating their own music. The duo added George Hurley on drums, called themselves the Minutemen, and helped plow way in the nascent indie scene with Black Flag, the Meat Puppets, Mission of Burma, and Hüsker Dü.
The Minutemen turned most conventions upside down: songs clocked in at around a minute, few songs had choruses, the tunes blended jazz, funk, latin, punk riffs, and rock, and the lyrics were at times enigmatic, but political in a radical and/or blue collar way.
The Minutemen’s most successful album was Double Nickels on the Dime, the title a joke on Sammy Hagar’s “Can’t Drive 55,” and indirectly a joke on the rock establishment at large. To the Minutemen, doing things econo was a lifestyle. Records were cut for less than $1,000, the band traveled in a well-used van, and set up their own gear throughout the long tours. The econo mentality paid off as each tour increased the band’s reputation and produced a small profit. Tragically, the band’s career was cut short when D’s girlfriend fell asleep behind the wheel and crashed the van on a road trip to Arizona. D slid out of the van, hit the pavement, broke his neck, and died on impact.