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What Makes a Man Start Fires?

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iTunes Review

1983’s What Makes a Man Start Fires? codified Minutemen’s unique methodology, which bassist Mike Watt once summarized as “Little songs, high-end guitar, melodic bass, lots of toms.” Each composition seems to go in six directions at once. The antsy and colorful instrumental lines are mirrored by lyrics that are at once urgent and cryptic. The first words spoken set the album's tone: “I'm waiting/And diversing/I'm collecting/Dispersing/Information/Liberation.” Though Minutemen were still very much a punk band in ethos, their instrumental interplay outreaches all genre constraints on “Fake Contest,” “Life as a Rehearsal," and “Pure Joy.” George Hurley’s oil-drum solo on “East Wind/Faith” seems just as essential to what the group was trying to say. Clocking in at two and a half minutes, “The Anchor” was the trio’s first epic. The song’s optimistic riff belies one of D. Boon’s saddest (and most hilarious) lines, about the harsh reality that follows a lovely sex dream: “Wake up!/Heart yanked out/Anchor dragging behind.”

Customer Reviews

Great, but better on vinyl.

I reccomend this album on vinyl.


What makes a man start fires? A brilliant, brilliant, brilliant album. Every song a little gem. Anger. Energy. Melody. Dissonance. You gotta own this. Don't argue with me now....

Awesome stuff

Best punk band ever. Go ahead and get Post-Mersh, Vol. 1 because you get this as well as "The Punch Line" for the same price.


Formed: 1980 in San Pedro, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s

More than any other hardcore band, the Minutemen epitomized the free-thinking independent ideals that formed the core of punk/alternative music. Wildy eclectic and politically revolutionary, the Minutemen never stayed in one place too long; they moved from punk to free jazz to funk to folk at a blinding speed. And they toured and recorded at blinding speed; during the early '80s, they were constantly on the road, turning out records whenever they had a chance. Like their peers Black Flag, Hüsker...
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