One of the best early to mid 80's punk bands around. They were able to record albums full of songs that alternated from unabashedly political (leftist bent) to deeply introspective. Their sense of humor (they named themselves for the brevity of their songs) and sheer joy in performing with each other made them one of the most enjoyable bands you could hope to see.
One of the things that made them so great was the breadth of their influences. Whereas most of the early punk bands took their cues from the late 70's Brit punk bands such as The Clash and The Sex Pistols (at least in attitude, if not overt style), the Minutemen took much of their cues from bands that were receiving U.S. radio airplay at the time. They would listen to their "hero" bands, such as Blue Oyster Cult, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Steppenwolf and try to imitate what they were doing. This made their albums a departure from the nihilism displayed by most punk bands of the era.
For the uninitiated, the best place to start would be their "Double Nickles on the Dime" (a double edged pun regarding the the length of the album and the fact that they were on the road touring so much) album. It contains 43 of their songs and features some of their best known selections, such as "Maybe Partying will Help", "History Lesson Pt. 2", "Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing" and more. This is probably one of THE 80's punk rock albums that no collection could be complete without (along with the Dead Kennedys' "Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables", Black Flag's "Damaged", and Husker Du's "New Day Rising")
IMO, the other two essential Minutemen albums to own are "3-way Tie for Last" and "Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat". "3-way" was released not long before D. Boone's death, and is the most "commercially accessible" of their albums, featuring more traditional song structures and far better production values than much of their earlier work. "Buzz or Howl" is an EP, so it might be better to pick it up as part of the second "Post-Mersh" (mersh being Pedro-speak for commercial) compilation which also features the "Project Mersh" EP. The first three albums, while featuring some excellent individual songs ("The Punch Line", etc.) are really only recommended for completists as the production values are very poor and the band is just beginning to develop it's sound.
As mentioned by TAFKAH, D. Boon died in a car wreck (1985). George Hurley is now in semi-retirement from performing, although he does still occasionally play out with Watt in the San Pedro area of California. Watt is still touring extensively, both on his own and as a "sidemouse" for such bands as Porno for Pyros and J. Mascis (with the Fog). Watt is one of the most engaging and talented (not to mention hardest-working) performers you could hope to see. If you haven't already seen him perform, by all means jump at the next chance you get...