Double Nickels on the Dime: Complete Lyrics

September 3rd

“ah this indeed is music- this suits me” – Walt Whitman

I spent the last four hours listening to Double Nickels on the Dime by the Minutemen with the goal of collecting all the lyrics and posting them to this site. Let me try to explain my day and how I got to this point. I got up at 9:15 with 30 minutes to get ready for work and get on the 10 bus outside my window. I spent half of that time loading my flash drive up with a different selection of music for my breaks at work. (The Urinals, Monks, and Monotonix had been on there a while) I decided to put Double Nickels on there because it’s been a month or so since I last listened to it completely. Then I had to grab a book so I grabbed Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman because its been about year since I last read any of it. So I got on the bus and started reading Whitman without embarrassment and without restrain- because if someone looked over my shoulder Walt looks like a regular book not fruity dead white man poetry. Thanks Walt for breaking open the margins and dripping down to the next line. If not for the future of American poetry, for me who’s afraid of reading poems on a bus. I spent most of the time reading what I had previously underlined or written in the margins.

Skip ahead to lunch: Listened to Double Nickels in a boiling tiny office on crappy monitor speakers for the entire hour. An hour is not long enough to fit it all in- it’s 74 minutes long! 45 tracks! And I had to cook my Elios Pepperoni pizza so there goes 10 minutes. I was listening to “Two Beads at the End” and I wanted to find the lyrics online. Couldn’t find them. I hate when you search in google for lyrics and 5 lyric sites pop up that say minutemen lyrics two beads at the end, but when you go there, all you get is this: “this song is not in our database yet.” That’s when I decided to spend my evening with my old friends watt, hurley and d.boon.

Skip ahead to the 26 bus going back home down Allerton Ave: Reading Walt again. More “Song of Myself” Then it hits me: The Minutemen are Walt Whitman! Hold on, Hold on. Don’t run away. Give me a chance. Whitman broke down the margins on his page and pushed the words to the next line. Most poetry before him was angry and bleak. The English writers after Billy Shakes were strict and bitter. The Americans were worse because they just wanted to imitate the Brits. Here comes this MAN, capitalized because it should be, who breaks all the rules, but not in an angry way. He isn’t angry about the past or worried about the future, he just is. He is positive. He is singing without check, without restrain. And the whole thing is not very pretty to look at. The lines don’t meet at nice points, the ends don’t rhyme, but you get the sense there is a man behind it all who stands for something amazing, in the true sense of the word. This is what I see in the Minutemen.

In my music loving life, I have completely dismissed lyrics as just something that sounds nice between the real parts of the song: the guitar, bass and drum. I usually don’t even listen to most song lyrics or spend time thinking about them. Most times they are meaningless, only there to fit the music. The Minutemen are the first band for me that has changed that. They are Walt Whitman because they are not like everybody else. The scene they came out of was an angry scene. Hardcore was mostly about being pissed off and letting the world know it. D. Boon and Watt had their share of this anger too, but the songs never sound angry. They are positive songs that deal with big ideas. They are trying their best to cut down these big ideas of the world into the most basic in-the-now words. And they know it’s hard. Whitman writes about how hard it is. Whitman says: Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.) Watt says: I’m fucking overwhelmed!

Double Nickels is not a pretty album. It doesn’t have the nice neat structure of most songs. Blues, Rock, and Punk 99.99% of the time fit into very similar structures of verse/chorus/verse. The Minutemen don’t care about that. Their songs stop short. Some songs have 5 lines. Rhythms are halted before they even get a chance to go anywhere. You can find bits and pieces of previous music styles in their music, just like you can with Whitman. You can feel the iambic bounce for a while, but then it disappears. In the Minutemen, you can hear CCR or the Clash or jazz or Dick Dale at times, but then it disappears. Something new is born. Something unique when its hard to be unique using the same old tools. Scroll below and read “Take 5, D.” That’s a note written by their landlord. Now go read “#1 Hit Song.” I’ll take that over any classic rock love song any day. I’ll even take that over the university pappy crap poems.

I do believe I am beginning to ramble, so I will wrap up this 1:30 am delirious epiphany. Below are the lyrics to the original 4 Side double LP, SST release #028. I had help from Watt’s book, and some sites that had some of the lyrics (mostly done wrong), and a lot of it is my own transcription.

Oh man,

I must look like a dork!


Side D.
1. “Anxious Mo-Fo” (D. Boon, Mike Watt) – 1:19
serious as a heart attack
makes me feel this way
no device to measure
no words can define

I mean what I’m trying to say is how can I express – let alone possess?

serious as a heart attack
makes me feel this way

2. “Theatre Is the Life of You” (Boon, Watt) – 1:30
as the revolution cries
“the time is near!”
i could feel my bones
i could see with my eyes
can’t avoid it
can’t agree

as the revolution cries
“the time is near!”
senses loose in knots
my logic is my style
can’t avoid it
must make a stand

3. “Viet Nam” (Boon) – 1:27
let’s say i got a number
that number’s fifty thousand
that’s ten percent
of five hundred thousand

oh here we are
in french indochina

executive order
congressional decision
the working masses
are manipulated

was this our policy?
ten long years
not one domino shall fall

4. “Cohesion” (Boon) – 1:55
beauteous instrumental

5. “It’s Expected I’m Gone” (Watt) – 2:04
I don’t want to hurt
see my position was here
I mean
as it was
I was

so, this led to the downfall of man
you make
feel like

I make
my head
is separate from
my body

no hope?
see, that gives me guts
big fucking shit!
right now,

6. “#1 Hit Song” (Boon, George Hurley) – 1:47
On the back of a winged horse,
Through the sky of pearly grey.
Love is leaf-like.
You and me, baby.
Twinkle, Twinkle,
Blah, blah, blah

7. “Two Beads at the End” (Boon, Hurley) – 1:52
caught by a camera taken at shutter speed my neck’s in a knot (two beads at the end) bolt cutters close
my head rolls again trapped in your snare, voices fly at me
snap like a tiger strikes like a snake- feel like a poker in someone’s fireplace

8. “Do You Want New Wave or Do You Want the Truth?” (Watt) – 1:49
a word war
will set off the keg
my words are war!
should a word have two meanings?
what the fuck for?
should words serve the truth?

I stand for language
I speak for truth
I shout for history
I am a cess-pool
for all the shit
to run down in…

9. “Don’t Look Now” (John Fogerty) – 1:46
Who will take the coal from the mine?
Who will take the salt from the earth?
Who’ll take a leaf and grow it to a tree?
Don’t look now, it ain’t you or me.

Who will work the field with his hands?
Who will put his back to the plough?
Who’ll take the mountain and give it to the sea?
Don’t look now, it ain’t you or me.

Don’t look now, someone’s done your starvin’;
Don’t look now, someone’s done your prayin’

Who will make the shoes for your feet?
Who will make the clothes that you wear?
Who’ll take the promise that you don’t have to keep?
Don’t look now, it ain’t you or me.

10. “Shit From an Old Notebook” (Boon, Watt) – 1:35
let the products sell themselves
fuck advertising commercial psychology
psychological methods to sell should be destroyed

because of their own blind involvement
in their own conditioned minds

the unit bonded together
morals ideals awareness progress
let yourself be heard

11. “Nature Without Man” (Chuck Dukowski, Boon) – 1:45
the boundary, the border of right and wrong the tariff is self the freedom feeling the criminal

the pied piper, the heart and mind
the pied piper, the heart and mind

nature without man
nature without man

12. “One Reporter’s Opinion” (Watt) – 1:50
what can be romantic to mike watt?
he’s only a skeleton
his body is a series of points
with no height, length, or width

in his joints he feels life
his strongest connection
beteen yelling and sleep
pain is the toughest riddle

he’s chalk
he’s a dartboard
his sex is disease
he’s a stop sign

Side Mike
1. “Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing” (Watt) – 1:33
list monitors arrive with petition
iron-fisted philosophy
is your life worth a painting,
is this girl vs. boy with different symbols?

being born is power
scout leader/nazi tagged as big sin
your risk chains me hostage
me, i’m fighting with my head, am not ambiguous

i must look like a dork
me, naked with textbook poems
spout fountain against nazis
with weird kinds of sex symbols
in speeches that are big dance thumps
if we heard mortar shells
we’d cuss more in our songs
and cut down the guitar solos

so dig this big crux
organizing the boy scouts for murder is wrong!
ten years beyond the big sweat point
man, it was still there, ever without you
coming back around, look!
the coming together,
for just a second,
a peek, a guess
at the wholeness
that’s way too big

2. “Maybe Partying Will Help” (Boon, Watt) – 1:56
as i look over this beautiful land i can’t help but realize that i am alone
why am i able to waste my energy to notice life being so beautiful?

maybe partying will help

what of the people who don’t have what I ain’t got? are they victims of my leisure?
to fail is to be a victim to be a victim of my choice

maybe partying will help

3. “Toadies” (Watt) – 1:38
no. 7
on the chump list
playing stooge
eating shit


using that
as a reason
for kicking shit
on the dumb-fucks


we are cuss words
near illiterate
to fighting toadies

4. “Retreat” (Watt) – 2:01
real things, conditioning
will lose

the toilet
starts flushing
sets me
off again

but I am
a thorn
I read it in
your face

5. “The Big Foist” (Watt) – 1:29
a richer understanding
of what’s already understood
no meanings from
the here and now

what gift
can be the work of art,
can you call if the big foist?
i’m fucking overwhelmed!

6. “God Bows to Math” (Jack Brewer, Watt) – 1:15
In the tomb of Enoch
In the Queen’s Chamber
She lived…
Guarding the holy cubit
God-given accuracy
Measuring untold prophecies
How she loved…
That sacred inch

7. “Corona” (Boon) – 2:24
The people will survive
In their environment
The dirt, scarcity, and the emptiness
Of our South
The injustice of our greed
The practice we inherit
The dirt, scarcity and the emptiness
Of our South
There on the beach
I could see it in her eyes
I only had a Corona
Five cent deposit

8. “The Glory of Man” (Watt) – 2:55
with the affirmation of man
I work myself backwards
using cynicism

the time monitor
the space measurer

I live sweat
but I dream light year
I am the tide
the rise and the fall

the reality soldier
the laugh child

the one of the many
the flame child

the time monitor
the space measurer

9. “Take 5, D.” (Watt, Joe Baiza, Rocknowski, Dirk Vandenberg) – 1:40
Hope we can rely on you not to use shower
you’re not keeping tub caulked
caused both downstairs bath ceilings and
walls to be soggy
tub has to be properly caulked
prior to any showering
walls are drenched
both roofer and plumber here
had to pay for two service calls
water drips from all around
kathy’s ceiling
my ceiling
don’t use shower
don’t use shower

10. “My Heart and the Real World” (Watt) – 1:05
and so my soul collapsed
into the big guilt wad
some big thunder-law
forces me to eat shit
and if I was a word
could my letters number 1000?
more likely coarse and guttural
one syllable anglo-saxon

I’m a victim of a fact
let’s say I loved a girl
but the world was wrong
and I was made to march in line
finally, I felt like handcuffs
machines disregard my pronouns
I am defeated
I’m the cool, damp clay

11. “History Lesson – Part II” (Watt) – 2:10
Our band could be your life
real names’ll be proof
me and mike watt we played for years
punk rock changed our lives

we learned punk rock in hollywood
drove up from pedro
we were fucking corn-dogs
we’d go drink and pogo

“mr. narrator!”
(this is bob dylan to me)
my story could be his songs
I’m his soldier child

our band is scientist rock!
but I was e bloom, richard hell, joe strummer and john doe…
me and mike watt
playing guitar

(original lyrics have d. boon’s name where mike watt’s is because watt wrote the lyrics)

Side George
1. “You Need the Glory” (Hurley) – 2:01
ba dip dup ba diddy

2. “The Roar of the Masses Could be Farts” (Vandenberg, Watt) – 1:20
soft and understanding eyes of the young
moving with abandon atop the green lawns
malleable as luck allows faking all the ties
forced out in time
these expressions met

improvised inventions lost in the way
absolute the course which instinct betrays

grinding in reversal outdo til done
proper naked self solutions surround
in brightness be it real blinding and free
pastel gems hit pearlesque in plan

spark of the instant challenging the time
view the observer’s plagiarizing hands

3. “Mr. Robot’s Holy Orders” (Hurley) – 3:05
tin can
turn handle
pull toy

4. “West Germany” (Boon)– 1:48
has it been forty years
still a hostage
new kind of fascist
there in West Germany

a people, a battlefield
East and West
the lines are drawn
how are you to live

the fear of death is so close
crimes are in our heads
are we ignorant and blind
afraid to swallow our pride
5. “The Politics of Time” (Watt) – 1:10
man’s law
man creates hitler
from the grass roots
to the u.n.
a year, a minute
man’s setting watches

on/off hitlers
time dictates
we must schizo
to brave the

we’re time nazis
we strip out tunes
we jam econo
it makes

6. “Themselves” (Boon) – 1:17
All these men who work the land
should evaluate themselves and make a stand
Can’t they see beyond the rhetoric,
and lies and promises that don’t mean shit?

and all the men who learned to hate them
and all the men who learned to hate them

They keep themselves hidden away,
they keep themselves up on the hill
the president will have to pay
for all the crimes upon their heads

and all the men who learned to hate them
and all the men who learned to hate them

7. “Please Don’t Be Gentle with Me” (Baiza) – 0:46
Just wake me up and tug my hair
and let me know
all the outside of the world and you are there
and never be too gentle with me

8. “Nothing Indeed” (Hurley, Watt) – 1:21
The interruption went
small snag in life
pot-hole in the road
it’s only a detour

a minor deterrent
that can’t unload
my examination
from a to b.

there is no cause
no cause at all
for my hesitation
nothing indeed

9. “No Exchange” (Hurley, Watt) – 1:50
Everything that’s been,
the future’s smashed,
carbon copy dream
pipe down the drain

the anxious cast’s
fighting for the next play

too late, too late
for what mistake?
no cash in no exchange
too late, too late

10. “There Ain’t Shit on T.V. Tonight” (Hurley, Watt) – 1:34
How can I
make an outline of myself?
where’s the guidelines?
for the profiles?
for my country?
how do others see me?
I’m worried
worried but feel guilty.
The media
robs and betrays us
no more lies
we are responsible

11. “This Ain’t No Picnic” (Boon) – 1:56
working on the edge
losing my self respect
for a man the presides over me
the principles of his creed
punch in punch out
8 hours, 5 days
sweat pain and agony
on friday I’ll get paid

this ain’t no picnic
this ain’t no picnic
this ain’t no picnic
this ain’t no picnic

hey mister don’t look down on me
for what I believe
I got my bills and the rent
I should pitch a tent
but our land is not free
so I’ll work my youth away
in the place of a machine
I refuse to be a slave

this ain’t no picnic
this ain’t no picnic
this ain’t no picnic
this ain’t no picnic

12. “Spillage” (Watt) – 1:51
A clear and dusty day in june
(my stoned mind just spilled that line)
describing what’s it like describing
believing that the sum is “yes”

looking around at all my comrades
(my police state mind just spilled that line)
I want to give names to our bonds
I need names to play the game

“but what makes my heart
the thunder in my thighs?”

my body,
my mind
the idea of my life seems like a

Side Chaff

1. “Untitled Song for Latin America” (Boon) – 2:03
The Western hemisphere
and all inside
we know who is murdering the innocent

they are children playing with guns
they are children playing with countries
mining harbors
creating contras

the games they play
the lives they will take

they bank their money in the country
they steal from the innocent
(a colonial trait that is much too old)

the banks, the lives, the profits, the lies

the banks, the profits, the lives, the lies
I would call it genocide
any other word would be a lie

2. “Jesus and Tequila” (Boon, Joe Carducci) – 2:52
I had a girl
she loved what she saw
she loved me so good
she made her daddy mad
but my woman cried
she’s dead to me now
my woman ran off
and I can’t deny it
my life
jesus and tequila
I’m satisfied
and I can’t deny it

I had a job
it paid me good
i could have my fun
and tip the preacher too
but my boss yelled
he’s dead to me now
my boss kicked me out
and I can’t deny it
my life
jesus and tequila
I’m satisfied
and I can’t deny it

you better listen to me
cause I wanna tell you son
don’t give away your love
don’t give away your sweat
because a girl can’t know you
and a boss can’t forget
jesus and tequila
I’m satisfied
and I can’t deny it

jesus and tequila
I’m satisfied
and I can’t deny it

3. “June 16th” (Watt) – 1:48
bloomsday instrumental

4. “Storm in My House” (Boon, Henry Rollins) – 1:57
If I could I surely would give my life to you
so you can have to
take me in your arms and lie to me

you tell me it’s always going to be like this
the world is the coldest place
surely the coldest place

there’s a storm inside my house
raging and relentless
wind tearing at the rafters
howling through the timbers

hard stinging rain
falling in and falling down
hope this storm doesn’t rip my roof off
my skin keeps the storm inside

5. “Martin’s Story” (Martin Tambourovich, Watt) – 0:51
What you making man
takes time
a little bit
then a little bit more

the effort’s worth it
feels good
by me

try and try
that’s the way you want it
but you know
that ain’t always the way it goes
a little bit
then a little bit more
’cause what you makin’ man
takes time

6. “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” (Eddie Van Halen) – 0:40
Well I been to the edge, and there I stood an looked down
You know I lost a lot of friends there, I got no time to fuck around
Right now (or fuck you!)

Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey

7. “Dr. Wu” (Walter Becker, Donald Fagen) – 1:44
Don’t seem right; I’ve been strung out here all night.
I’ve been waiting for the taste you said you’d bring to me.
Biscayne Bay, where the Cuban children sleep all day,
I went searching for the song you used to sing to me.
Katy lies- you can see it in her eyes.
imagine my surprise when I saw you.

Are you with me, Doctor Wu?
Are you really just a shadow of the man that I once knew?

Are you crazy?
Are you high?
Are you just an ordinary guy?
Have you done all you can do?

Are you with me, Doctor?
Can you hear me, Doctor?

8. “Little Man with a Gun in His Hand” (Chuck Dukowski) – 2:53
a woman’s touch
the highest love,
a strong mind, strong body
all the things he couldn’t have
all the things he should have been

little man with a gun in his hand
little man with a gun in his hand
little man with a gun in his hand
little man with a gun in his hand

9. “The World According to Nouns” (Watt) – 2:05
the state
the church
the plans
the vote
what’s the verb behind it

the how
the why
the where
the when
the who
can these words find truth?

alternate version:

the state
the church
the plans
the wake
the dead
the mind
the cut
what’s the verb behind it

the do
the how
the why
the where
the when
the what

can these words find truth?

10. “Love Dance” (Boon) – 2:00

11 thoughts on “Double Nickels on the Dime: Complete Lyrics

  1. you have wasted a lot of your time….
    if you were cool and actually bought CD’s instead of downloading everything (or even vinyl if youre old, rich, or a hipster) you would know that the lyrics are printed in the jacket. I feel sorry for you not just because you wasted your time a messed up a lot of the lyrics (for example, the very first line, “serious as a heart attack” is actually “starts with a heart attack) but you are also missing out on the hidden jokes you find when you read the lyrics in the jacket along with the CD, and your missing out on one hell of a cool jacket, filled with hilarious comics

  2. i have since bought the LP and the first line is “Serious as a Heart Attack” so I don’t know where you are lookin.

  3. I comply with your own web site pertaining to really quite and notify your own posts constantly show to of need an unprecedented as well as excellent for readers.

  4. Hey could I use some of the perception observed in this weblog if I provide a hyperlink back to your website?

  5. thank you for doing this. and thank you for making the walt connection. puts this album even further ahead for me than it already was.

  6. I tagged this page in as “beauty”

    Because it is. May the road rise before you.

    From an Irishman in Australia: Thank you.

  7. “In my music loving life, I have completely dismissed lyrics as just something that sounds nice between the real parts of the song: the guitar, bass and drum. I usually don’t even listen to most song lyrics or spend time thinking about them. Most times they are meaningless, only there to fit the music. The Minutemen are the first band for me that has changed that.”

    I agree with this. Also, the bands that influenced the Minutemen had very inspiring lyrics like this too. See the musicians mentioned in History Lesson – Part II.

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