Tuesday Trivia: 44 Minutes

You guys remember our Tuesday Trivia, right? Well, it was Simo’s creation, and he took a leave of absence from the interwebs, so we decided not to do it weekly anymore. Can’t step on other people’s toes, you know?

But from time to time, we will write one, and it’s that time again. So brace yo’selves, bitches, Alex is gonna learn you something today.

Today’s TT focuses on Megadeth‘s song ’44 Minutes.’ You know it, you like it, but do you know what it’s about?

The name itself is from a movie, a movie which documents one of the most intense shootouts L.A.P.D. has ever seen. A shootout that lasted 44 minutes and ended with both robbers dead. But what do the lyrics mean, what happened in the real shootout and how good is the actual movie? Make the jump to find out.

44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shoot-Out

Let’s start with the movie, cause that’s where Dave got the title from.

It’s a TV movie that premiered on FX on June 5, 2003. Starring Michael Madsen and the guy in Office Space, right off the bat you know it’s definitely not Oscar worthy. But it will give you a lot of insight on the real life events, because the film is pretty faithful to it. It even uses a lot of real locations, except the bank itself. I recommend seeing it if you’re interested, it’s not gonna blow your mind but it won’t waste your time either.

It glorifies the L.A.P.D. and is pretty judgmental on the criminals, but let’s be honest, after that day, who wouldn’t want to praise the police? I know a lot of metalheads have a “Fuck tha police!” attitude because they want to drink and get high in public, but once real weapons make an appearance, you’ll be praying for these guys to show up. Same goes for hip-hop fans, but let’s not get into bad-poetry-pretending-to-be-music, cause we don’t have time.

So don’t expect Heat or any other decent heist films, just expect a ‘fictional documentary’ based on real events — if that makes any sense.

Larry Phillips Jr. (left) and Emil Mătăsăreanu (right)

The real North Hollywood shootout

In 1989, Larry Phillips Jr. and Romanian immigrant Emil Mătăsăreanu met at a gym in Los Angeles. Their mutual interest in bodybuilding, bad hair and armed robbery made them become partners in crime.

Four years later, in 1993, the couple robbed an armored car in Colorado. They were arrested a few months later when they had the amazing idea of speeding in a car full of semi-automatic rifles, handguns, ammunition, bombs and body armor. Why not draw attention to yourself if your car has enough weaponry in it to start a small war?

So they both served around 100 days in jail and got released on probation. Why would you not release these two? It’s not like having a car full of ammo and assault rifles means they’re bad citizens. 100 days is just enough time to rehabilitate them, right?

Right. In 1995 they robbed another armored car, where they just killed one of the guards. A year later, they became $1.5 million richer when they robbed two banks in San Fernando. Clearly being successful at this, they decided to do yet another robbery a year later, but this would not end as well as they had hoped.

On February 28, 1997, the duo (nicknamed “High Incident Bandits” because they left behind higher body counts than Quentin Tarantino movies) decided to rob another bank.

They were well prepared, having scanned police transmissions to estimate how much time it took the L.A.P.D. to arrive at the scene. They also wore body armors and had more guns than a Freddie Wong video. At around 9:30 am, these Emmy award winners entered the Bank of America branch on Laurel Canyon Boulevard, thinking 8 minutes was enough time for them to get everything before the cops showed up.

Unfortunately for them, they were spotted by a patrol car right as they entered the building. This is the heist equivalent of being in a cartoon, trying to cross the street. You look to your left — nothing. You look to your right — nothing. You cross the road and BOOM, you’re hit by a bus. Remember that? It’s exactly what happened to these two geniuses.

So the police arrived and started one of the most amazing shootouts in the history of bank robberies. This 3 minute clip covers the incident way better than I ever could:

YouTube is filled with clips of the incident, because the whole thing was covered live by news reporters and helicopters. I’m not gonna post all of them here, but here’s a great one of Larry Phillips Jr’s demise:

The other guy wasn’t as lucky, police let him bleed to death for about an hour, before letting the paramedics give him assistance. This caused a lawsuit but, come on, the guy was a fucking maniac, since when are we supposed to give medical attention to a guy who tried to kill half of California?

All in all it was a pretty amazing shootout. What shocks me the most is the amount of weapons these guys had, including modified Romanian and Russian rifles. I mean, how do you get that stuff shipped to you in the States? America has a major issue with gun control if these two fucktards could get their hands on so much shit.

Both guys fired about 1,300 rounds. They made Robocop look like a Sesame Street film.

Dave used AK-47 sounds in the song, because he's baddass.

Megadeth – 44 Minutes

All this foreplay and we finally got to the subject of this TT: ’44 Minutes’ — third song from Endgame.

The song itself is 4:36 long. One has to wonder why Dave hasn’t added an extra 4 seconds to make it 4:40. Would have been rather cool, no?

Dave has a knack for making ambiguous lyrics which can either mean a lot or nothing at all (hint hint). But I have to praise him for the lyrics here, they’re both badass and factually accurate. He really did the incident justice.

If you never knew what they meant, let’s go through them now and figure out just how close Dave was to being right.

It was a cool winter’s morning
Somewhere shortly past 9:00 AM
The armored car they wanted to heist wasn’t coming
So instead they went for the bank

The incident happened at around 9:30 AM on February 28. The duo usually robbed armored cars but this time they headed into the bank and went for the vault. They only got about $300,00 instead of the $750,000 they were expecting, because the delivery schedule was altered.

The fateful duo that sat in the get-away car
Heavily sedated with thousands of round
Armor piercing, fully automatic weapons
The bowls of wrath poured out on the ground

One of them (Mătăsăreanu) was in a car while the other one (Phillips) was covering him. They had assault rifles and armor-piercing ammunition.

Outgunned, watching ‘The Force’ come to a firefight with a pocketknife
Getting schooled until they shot Achilles’ heel
And brought down the beast!!!

The first line represents the police force’s bullets that could not penetrate their armor, whilst the robbers were shooting armor-piercing rounds everywhere, hence the pocketknife analogy.

The Achilles’ heel references Mătăsăreanu’s getting shot 29 times in the shins and feet. His armor wasn’t protecting him 100%.

This was an accident waiting to happen
It wasn’t if it would happen, it was when
The city’s people sabotaged themselves
Calling their firepower an unneeded expense

Since this incident, police officers got a lot of upgrades to their weaponry. Dave alludes to the fact that this shootout could have been stopped earlier, had police officers fired armor-piercing rounds also. Their inability to penetrate the armors is what made this thing go on for 44 minutes.

The two most violent men it seemed couldn’t be stopped
Standard police issue guns were just not enough
But SWAT arrived to settled the fight
Between AK-47 and AR-15

Same as above, Dave is just talking about the L.A.P.D. being overwhelmed by the two robbers, who came straight out of a Rambo movie.

The last line references the weapons used by the two sides. Modified/replica AK-47 rifles used by the robbers, AR-15 rifles used by SWAT. Since the incident, a lot of police cars are armed with AR-15 rifles.

So that’s about it. You can document yourself further on Google, there’s so much info out there, this rather long article doesn’t even begin to tell the full story. Hope you had the patience to read all this stuff.

Wikipedia [1, 2, 3]
CNN.com [original article from 1997]

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