(born Dennes Dale Boon
, April 1
– December 22
) was an American singer
. Active between 1979, when he joined The Reactionaries
, and 1985, when he was killed in a van accident, Boon was best known as the guitarist and vocalist of the Californian punk rock
Dennes Boon was born in Napa, California on April 11958. Boon's father, a navy veteran, worked putting radios into Buick cars, and the Boons lived in former World War II barracks that had been converted into public housing. As a teenager, Boon began painting and signed his works "D. Boon", partly because "D" was his slang for cannabis, partly after Daniel Boone, but mostly because it was similar to E. Bloom, Blue Öyster Cult's vocalist and guitarist.
Boon formed the band in January 1980 with childhood friend Mike Watt on bass from the remnants of their previous band, The Reactionaries, later adding former Reactionaries drummer George Hurley, to form the Minutemen.
Their most noted recording was Double Nickels on the Dime, which is considered by many to be D.Boon at his best in both songwriting and guitar playing.
The Minutemen continued until December 22
, when Boon was killed in a van accident in the Arizona desert near the Californian border on route I-10. Because he had been sick with a fever, Boon was lying down in the rear of the van without a seatbelt when the van ran off the road. Boon was thrown out the back door of the van and died instantly from a broken neck. He was only 27 years old. The band immediately dissolved, though Watt and Hurley would form the band fIREHOSE
soon after. The live album Ballot Result
was released in 1987, two years after Boon's death.
Boon's guitar style is very distinctive; he rarely used distortion and frequently set the equalization
on his amplifier so that only the treble
frequencies were heard - the bass and midrange frequencies would be turned off completely. His style had a heavy funk/blues feel which was very different from other hardcore punk
bands in the 80s.
Boon is responsible for the writing and composition of the Minutemen's most anthemic songs (in contrast to Watt's stream of consciousness lyrics), including This Ain't No Picnic
, The Price of Paradise
, and Courage
. A lifelong artist, Boon also created drawings or paintings for the Minutemen releases Joy
, The Punch Line
, What Makes a Man Start Fires?
, The Politics of Time
, Project: Mersh
and 3-Way Tie (For Last)
Since the first fIREHOSE album, Mike Watt has dedicated every record he has worked on - be it fIREHOSE, solo, or otherwise - to D. Boon's memory. A song on Watt's semi-autobiographical 1997 album Contemplating the Engine Room
, "The Boilerman", is about D. Boon; on the recording itself, guitarist Nels Cline
plays one of Boon's last Telecaster guitars, which Watt is in possession of.. Watt also mentions his fallen friend in fIREHOSE's "Disciples Of The 3-Way" (Mr. Machinery Operator
) and his own "Burstedman" (The Secondman's Middle Stand
Boon has been paid tribute by American alternative band Stigmata-A-Go-Go with the song "D. Boon", from their 1994 album It's All True, and by American band Uncle Tupelo with a different song "D. Boon" from their 1991 album Still Feel Gone.
In 2003, former D. Boon roommate Richard Derrick released the CD D. Boon And Friends, a collection of jam session tapes he did with D. Boon, and rare Boon solo performances, as the first release on his Box-O-Plenty Records label. Mike Watt authorized the release and provided technical assistance and liner notes.
He is number 89 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.