Tuesday, October 3, 2017

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter F, Part 4)

For me, Minutemen were practically over before they began. I was 14 when 'Double Nickels on the Dime' came out, and it was one of those life-changing albums that, as the Robster would say, I will take to my grave. This one release opened up the entire world of SST Records to me. That same year, Minutemen would make a tour stop at Mabel's in Champaign, Illinois, a legendary club about 80 miles from where I grew up. I begged my parents to let me go, but there was just no way that was going to happen. It wouldn't be long before D. Boon would die in a van accident. I never got to see my beloved Minutemen.

By the time I went off to college in Chicago, Mike Watt and George Hurley had reunited, along with Ed Crawford, to form fIREHOSE. I love Ed's story. In a nutshell, Ed was a huge Minutemen fan attending Ohio State when he caught wind Mike and George might be ready to give it another go. He found Watt's phone number and called him in California to ask for a tryout. That didn't work, but he didn't give up. He left Columbus for San Pedro and asked him again. Next time you think about shirking a challenge, think of Ed. There weren't many band's working as hard as fIREHOSE. Between 1986 and 1993 they would release five studio albums, a couple of EPs and play nearly 1,000 shows. Chicago was a regular stop when touring, and I caught fIREHOSE every time they would swing by, which was often.

fIREHOSE was one of those early '90s alt bands that got swept up in the indie pilfering the major labels pulled after Nirvana took over the world. Although I hated to see them go to Columbia, in my opinion, fIREHOSE was one of the rare bands that didn't dip much in quality when they moved to the big leagues. Having said that, I'll take side one of their first album, 'Ragin, Full-On", over anything in their discography. There are still vestiges of Minutemen found here. Yep, this trio definitely knew how to jam econo. Here are three songs to prove it.

"Brave Captain"
"It Matters"
"Another Theory Shot to Shit"


The Swede said...

I can't tell you how great it is to hear fIREHOSE again Brian. I had a massive phase of loving the band (and Minutemen too) in the late 80's/very early 90's, though for some reason have returned to them rarely since. These three tunes sound amazing - it's like time has stood still. I'm quite blown away. I feel re-purchases coming on.

The Swede said...

Talking of Mike Watt, I thought you might be interested to hear what he's up to at the moment, courtesy of a session on the recently mentioned Marc Riley 6Music show. I hope you can access it from the U.S.

Rol said...

Double Nickels On The Dime is one of those albums I've had on my want list for years. It recently moved a lot closer to the top when I heard another of the songs on another blog. Never come across Firehose before, so I'll get to them next...

Swiss Adam said...

Minutemen are fucking great and Double Nickels is stunning. I've got this fIREHOSE album bu haven't played it for years.

Brian said...

Adam, You'll want to play that one as soon as possible.

Rol, Get yourself some Minutemen and fIREHOSE. You won't regret it.

Swede, Link worked! Interesting stuff. Mike has always kept himself busy, and I continue to buy his solo albums. Glad we have Minutemen and fIREHOSE in common.

Rol said...

Came very close to buying Double Nickels this week...then made the mistake of checking my bank balance. Next month then...!