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Roommate Refurbishes Lost D. Boon Tapes

With classic punk trio the Minutemen back in the spotlight thanks to a new documentary, a former roommate of late singer/guitarist D. Boon has expanded a CD of previously unreleased recordings, “D. Boon & Friends,” which was originally released in 2003. The set is now available with a bonus disc when ordered via project head Richard Derrick’s Web site. Derrick first met Boon (known to friends as ‘Dennes’) in 1978, during high school in San Pedro, Calif. They lived together as the Minutemen became one of the most notable names in the American punk scene, during which time Derrick began recording jams with Boon and others, as well as unusual live performances. The 33-track CD sports everything from jams with Boon and Derrick (and another friend) from Nov. 1984-85, a performance by the Boon-led side project Hammerdown, a Boon solo gig, a Minutemen gig from 1985 when Derrick replaced an absent George Hurley and a home-recorded solo acoustic track. More than a decade after Boon died in a Dec. 1985 van accident, Derrick began reviewing the tapes, eventually transferring them to “something more permanent before they started to deteriorate.” Derrick received the approval of Boon’s father before making the music available to the masses. “Sadly, he passed away before the CD was released, but according to his wife (Dennes’ stepmother), he played those tapes all the time at home,” he says. “You can imagine how he felt, 12 years after his son’s death, to receive those tapes out of the blue. I’m glad I got them to him in time.” Derrick says the Hammerdown performance is one his favorite Boon memories. “It was a benefit for a man known as ‘English Frank,’ which also featured Spinal Tap and a hair-metal-with-chick-singer-type band called Bitch,” he says. “Instead of showing up with an acoustic guitar, [Boon] asked everyone he knew to loan him a guitar amp, and he ended up with maybe a dozen amps all plugged into each other, along with three friends to play tom-toms.” “After he played two songs alone, he invited Hammerdown on stage to join him as he made all the noise he could — literally rolling around the stage,” he continues. “Their whole set was about 10 minutes long. You can hear the audience’s reaction after they finished, which was decidedly mixed. Dennes told me that Harry Shearer [aka Spinal Tap’s Derek Smalls] came up to him afterward and said it was the greatest thing he’d ever seen!” Another standout is the January 1985 Minutemen show where Derrick sat in for Hurley, who could not get off work for the early afternoon performance at UCLA. “The only snag for me was that right before the gig, Dennes and I both came down with an especially bad case of the flu,” he recalls. “I came really close to passing out about 20 minutes into it, not because it was so strenuous, but because I was really, really sick and dehydrated.” Unfortunately, Boon never had a chance to go back and listen to the tapes before he died. “He was more interested in just doing them at the time,” Derrick admits. “I actually made copies to give him as a Christmas gift, but sadly, I was unable to present them to him.” When asked what he thinks Boon would have gone on to do if he had lived, Derrick figures that “Anything was possible. He could have done anything he wanted. He probably would have gotten more into painting, and kept playing music with as many people as he could.” (Via Billboard)
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