Double Nickels on the Dime
is a double album, spanning 45 songs, which blend a myriad of genres and tackle a variety of themes, including the Vientam War and racism. Watt told us that Hüsker Dü's double album, Zen Arcade
, inspired Minutemen to write a similarly long LP: "We had an album done and ready to go. They didn't have a title for it yet, but the Hüskers came to town and recorded Zen Arcade
. And we go, 'Wow, they made a double album, we should do that, too.'" Watt said that he considers Double Nickels on the Dime
to be "the best album" that he has ever played on. In 2004, Rolling Stone
magazine ranked it at #411 on their "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list.
The album title was a response to the Sammy Hagar song, "I Can't Drive 55
," which protested against the federally imposed speed limit of 55 miles per hour on all US highways. Watt said Minutemen thought Hagar's complaints were absurd: "We couldn't really have a concept as much, except this idea that Sammy Hagar couldn't drive 55 miles an hour. You know, that stupid thing. 'We'll drive the speed limit and we'll try to play crazy music.'" "Double nickels" means 55 miles per hour in trucker lingo, while "the Dime" refers to Interstate 10 - the highway on which Boon later died.