This Ain't No Picnic

Album: Double Nickels On The Dime (1984)


  • This song targets a racist boss who Minutemen guitarist, D. Boon, worked for at an auto parts store. Boon asked if he could tune the store's radio to a funk station, but his boss refused, calling the station "African-American excrement." Boon was so appalled by his boss' attitude, that he considered quitting his job on the spot, but because he needed the money, Boon wrote this song to express his frustration instead. An early live version mentions the boss by name. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    richard - san diego, CA
  • This song spawned Minutemen's first ever music video. The video, which cost just $600 to make, incorporates footage from a public domain war film of a young Ronald Reagan piloting a military aircraft. Reagan is made to look like he bombs a defiant Minutemen, who are performing in a desolate field below him. Contentious plot aside, the video received some airplay on MTV.
  • In 1985, Minutemen handed out ballot slips at their gigs. Fans were invited to vote for the songs which they thought should be included on a future live album. "This Ain't No Picnic" topped that poll and a live version was consequently included on the compilation album, Ballot Result, which was released in 1987, two years after D. Boon's untimely death in a car crash.
  • Double Nickels On The Dime, which spans an almighty 45 tracks, was Minutemen's third studio album. Bassist, Mike Watt told us that fellow Hardcore Punk band, Hüsker Dü, inspired the band to write a double album: "The Hüskers came to town and recorded Zen Arcade. And we go, 'Wow, they made a double album, we should do that, too.' So we wrote a whole bunch of songs and recorded another album and put them together." Double Nickels..., which is famed for its expansive sound and lyrical content, is widely regarded as one of the most influential albums of the 1980s. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it at #411 on their "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list.

Comments: 1

  • Don from San Antonio, TxWhere can we hear that early version?
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Amy Lee of EvanescenceSongwriter Interviews

The Evanescence frontwoman on the songs that have shifted meaning and her foray into kids' music.

Gentle GiantSongwriter Interviews

If counterpoint and polyrhythms are your thing, you might love these guys. Even by Progressive Rock standards, they were one of the most intricate bands of the '70s. Then their lead singer gave us Bon Jovi.

JJ Burnel of The StranglersSongwriter Interviews

JJ talks about The Stranglers' signature sound - keyboard and bass - which isn't your typical strain of punk rock.

Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica)Songwriter Interviews

The former Metallica bassist talks about his first time writing a song with James Hetfield, and how a hand-me-down iPad has changed his songwriting.

Victoria WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

Despite appearances on Carson, Leno and a Pennebaker film, Williams remains a hidden treasure.

Songs Discussed in MoviesSong Writing

Bridesmaids, Reservoir Dogs, Willy Wonka - just a few of the flicks where characters discuss specific songs, sometimes as a prelude to murder.