In December 1985, a van crash took the life of Minutemen singer-guitarist D. Boon and prematurely ended the career of a promising band. The San Pedro, California three-piece had the most distinctive sound in American punk, combining George Hurley's jazzy yet powerful drumming, Mike Watt's funky bass, and Boon's squealing, high-pitched guitar with thoughtful political lyrics that had all the poetic economy of haiku.
This 90-minute documentary mixes old band interviews and vintage live show footage with commentary from such luminaries as Jello Biafra, Thurston Moore, Ian MacKaye, and Flea. The story is seamlessly told, carried largely by a modern-day conversation with Watt in his van, as he drives around the now-paved sights of San Pedro. Along the way, you learn about early gigs when fans would spit on the band, as well as why Boon's guitar tone ruled the high register.
The bonus interviews are no great shakes, but the three live performances are astounding; they traverse 62 songs and are capped by a jaw-dropping 10-song unplugged performance.