D. Boon: 35 Years Gone

Remembering a punk jazz genius on the anniversary of his tragic passing

D. Boon Last Tour (Photo: Mike Watt’s Twitter page)

It was 35 years ago today when we lost one of the most vital voices in American punk after Dennes Boon of Minutemen died in a van accident on Interstate 10 in the Arizona desert.

D. Boon was only 27 when he died, but his intelligence and perspective superceded his youth. The Minutemen, comprised of Boon on vocals and lead guitar, the mighty Mike Watt on bass and George Hurley on drums, were inherently a political band. A voracious gormadizer of history, poly-sci and George Carlin albums, Boon’s lyrics proved a perfect foil for the band’s wiry hybrid of jazz, hardcore, country and post-punk, cumulating in such skate tape staples as “Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs” and “One Reporter’s Opinion”. 

“Well, kind of like with that nature thing, you know, it’s a humbler,” Watt told The Creative Independent last August about keeping the legacy of his childhood best friend alive and well in the 21st century. “You’re going to be joining D. Boon. Even if you live healthy, you only got so much time. You better be earnest. You gotta make it count, man! That was the hardest lesson I’ve learned in a strange way, because you can get a little full of yourself. You got to work on that on a lot of levels. When I start doubting and stuff, and I’m lucky I got the momentum from the old days being with him, but on the other hand, I also feel this need to give him credit. I feel like what you’re seeing is not just all me. You know what I mean? It just isn’t. It’s not fair to the whole story. When I think about him, one thing, it’s gratitude of course, but the other is like, ‘Whoa, there’s only so much time.'”

I was in 6th grade the Christmas week we lost Dennes Dale Boon, clueless to the gravity by which we lost one of California’s greatest rock guitarists. Funny enough, one of the very first indie bands I was turned onto by my Thrasher pals in 8th grade was fIREHOSE, the band Watt and Hurley would form with Ed fROMOHIO in 1986. Sadly, it wasn’t until senior year that I discovered the genius of The Minutemen, whose music remains a vital staple of my listening diet at 47. I remember dubbing Double Nickels On The Dime (which I just learned was a pisstake on Sammy Hagar’s “I Can’t Drive 55”) off my friend’s vinyl copy of the album onto a Sony blank cassette (I recall this because I was a staunch loyalist to Maxell XL-II’s and it remained an outlier in my secondhand music collection).

D. Boon would have been 62 had that crash in the Arizona desert never happened. It is quite painful to speculate just how many more amazing songs this guy had in him to carry through his 30s, 40s and 50s. I’ll bet my house that a Boon solo album would have been hailed as an all-time classic as his deep love for country music certainly comes to the fore in this alternate universe. 

In honor of Boon’s memory in the wake of this tragic anniversary, please check out some of my favorite Minutemen shows on YouTube. 


VIDEO: Minutemen at the Starwood 1980


VIDEO: Minutemen at Love Hall Dec. 1983


VIDEO: Minutemen at The Stone in San Francisco, May 13, 1985


VIDEO: Minutemen Acoustic Blowout ’85


AUDIO: Minutemen Live on WREK Atlanta 11/30/1985









Ron Hart
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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

6 thoughts on “D. Boon: 35 Years Gone

  • December 30, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    Great remembrance and videos, Ron!

    They bring back great memories of punk shows at small clubs and 80s mosh pits (never got to see the Minutemen, alas, but I did see fIREHOSE several times in LA).

    I especially like the one shot from the balcony (love the guy sitting on the mic stand to keep it standing up) and the acoustic set.

    I watched “The Kids Are Alright” last night, and I’m struck by how much time D. spends dancing energetically and holding back on guitar before blasting back in – very similar to Pete Townshend. Both were totally consumed with the music while performing (which Pete describes in one of the interview segments as being liable to kill someone who gets in his way).

    • December 31, 2020 at 1:39 pm

      Thank you so much John! Happy New Year!

  • August 6, 2022 at 8:58 pm

    I knew this band in its infancy in 1978 when they formed the Minutemen. My then boyfriend was the best friend of George Hurley and had grown up with him in Pedro. One afternoon we ended up stopping by Hurley’s mother’s house located right across the street from the high school and that’s when I was introduced to Hurley and D. Boon and listened to them practicing in Hurley’s mother’s garage for the first time. They had just formed “The Minutemen” and were great! Even though I wasn’t a part of what they were calling the new “Punk” scene, I knew that these guys were special and were going down in history.

    D. Boon was just the nicest guy you would ever want to meet. He was this big loveable Teddy Bear. And, a genius musician. When he died, the stars were a lot dimmer at night and the small Port Town of San Pedro, CA, would never be the same again.

    R.I.P. D Boon, you are loved and missed every single day.


  • October 11, 2022 at 7:41 pm

    weepy sad olden tyme punks are the worst. creepy to see olden tyme white guys in a room full of teens at recent hc show here. creepier to see olden tyme white guys weeping about hc 40 years ago. get in line behind my gramps, dude.

    • March 10, 2023 at 9:07 pm

      Gargle my balls shithead

    • April 8, 2023 at 9:40 pm

      Dear Gary,
      Wow. Degrading others who are sharing their feelings?
      I hope your small penis got a hard on.
      It’s eunuchs like you that make life smell bad.
      I pity you.
      Arrogance + anonymity = Asshole.
      You are about as “hardcore,” as dixie cup filled with piss.


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