The group's early recordings (up until their 1985 12" EP Project: Mersh) were recorded as "econo" (Pedro slang for inexpensive, short for "economical") as possible – the group would book studio time after midnight at cut rates, tech their own shows, rehearse the songs before going into the studio, record on less-expensive used tape, and record the songs in the order they intended to have them on the record rather than waste time editing the master tape during the sequencing phase. In fact, contrary to standard practice even in indie rock, Minutemen sometimes saw records as a way to promote their tours, not the other way around.
Minutemen toured frequently, but usually for only a few weeks at a time – they all held down day jobs. Their "econo" practices helped ensure that their tours were always profitable.
Several Minutemen album sleeves and covers, such as the Paranoid Time EP and What Makes a Man Start Fires? LP and the inner gatefold jacket for Double Nickels, feature drawings by noted artist Raymond Pettibon, who was at the time associated with the SST label, providing sleeves for Black Flag. Other album covers, like on The Punch Line, Project: Mersh, and 3-Way Tie (For Last), featured paintings by Boon.
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