Dennes Dale Boon died on the 22nd of December, 1985, in a vehicle accident. He was 27 years and 266 days old at the time of his death. D. Boon was the singer, songwriter and guitarist of what many have called the best punk band of all time. The Minutemen, formed with drummer George Hurley and bassist Mike Watt, produced several seminal albums and toured the country several times in an old Ford van, a career chronicled in the documentary film “We Jam Econo – The Story of the Minutemen.”
In the winter of 1985, the band was not out on the road – they had just wrapped up a tour with REM and were taking time off, something they rarely did. D. Boon was in a van with his girlfriend driving to Arizona to visit her parents for the holidays. She was driving and he was lying in the back of the van. He had been ill and had a fever and was sleeping soundly when his girlfriend fell asleep at the wheel. She ran off the road in the Arizona desert on Interstate 10, very near the border with California, and the vehicle flipped over. He was apparently ejected from the rear of the van and his neck was broken on impact. He probably died instantly, and was undoubtedly asleep when the accident happened. D. Boon was buried in Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, near where he was born 27 years before his death.
There was nothing particularly mysterious or even interesting about the circumstances of his death, although it was of course incredibly tragic and seemingly random – by accident. It played out similarly to another young musicans death at 25, Cliff Burton. But consider that Boon had been traversing the entire country for years in a van with his bandmates. How many times was the driver sleepy, and nearly veered off the road? How many times was an accident just waiting to happen around the next curve or over the next hill? All of these possible tragedies were passed by for a night in December, in the beautiful desert of Arizona, when only D. Boon, still 27, would be touched by the grim reaper. How ironic and fitting that one of his favorite bands – and definitely not a punk band – was Blue Oyster Cult. But did he fear the reaper? We’ll never know…
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