The Popstream: Minutemen, ''Ack Ack Ack''


The Minutemen were top-notch agitators, and not just musically: around the same time the Dead Kennedys were shouting "MTV Get Off the Air", Mssrs. Boon, Watt & Hurley thought it might be worth a shot to get on it, or at least within striking distance. This led to things like the clip for "This Ain't No Picnic", which featured footage of them playing their instruments in the middle of some barren industrial zone until Ronald Reagan (via some juxtaposed WWII movie clips) bombs them back to the stone age. It didn't exactly gain Duran Duran-level ubiquity, but it did get on the first-ever VMAs in '85 and set the stage for another, even more absurd clip. (No, not the "Corona"-scored opening credits to "Jackass".)

This video is for their cover of the Urinals' "Ack Ack Ack Ack" (the Minutemen, being famously concise in the song-length department, figured they might as well shorten the title, too). Here's the thing: "Ack Ack Ack" is 27 seconds long, or roughly half the length of a Lunesta commercial. What sort of music performance/narrative can you fit into that span of time? Well, not a coherent one, which is why John Talley-Jones (who co-wrote the song as an original member of the Urinals) opted to bookend the song itself by crafting a low-budget homage to the Three Stooges. So the Minutemen show up in their SST-sticker-adorned van, clamber out with a bunch of cleaning equipment, and are tasked with tidying up the office of a smarmy, coked-up, Fiat X1/9-driving, putt-practicing record company honcho. SPOILER ALERT: the cleaning job is not a successful one.


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