Mike Watt" "Go Out & Start Your Own Band!"

Sometime in 1983, as I was perusing through the somewhat limited" Punk/New Wave" section of the Record Bar in Tower Mall ( that's ol 'school P'Town). I came across an album called "The Blasting Concept: An SST Compilation". This record changed the way I looked at punk rock and music in general at the time.There was only one band featured that I was already familar with and that was Black Flag. I recognized other names from fanzines and such, but had never heard the music. While I absolutely loved every single 27 minutes of this record, it the the first 4 minutes that blew the grey matter out the tiny holes in my skull. Those first 4 songs, the first 4 minutes or so belonged to the Minutemen.

Minutemen, D. Boon, George Hurly and Mike Watt, three dudes from San Pedro, CA with an attitude, a true punk attitude of DIY , "jamming econo"and making a truly original sound within the confines of rock and roll. Unfortunately the Minutemen ended when D.Boon was killed in a van accident on December 22,1985.Easily, I could go on all day about the Minutemen, but for now I will focus on Watt....Mike Watt, the bass player.


Back to those first 4 minutes of the "Blasting Concept", what immediately caught my attention is how the bass wasn't just following the root notes of the guitar. The bass was melodic and propelling at the same time powerful and bombastic. This was during the early days of Hardcore and what was going on with Watt and the Minutemen, stood far above the rest of the HC crowd. With the Minutemen,  he recorded the classsic "Double Nickels on the Dime" this recorded include some of the most infectious and even hummable basslines to ever be etched in the grooves of Punk rock/Alternative music.

I think it's Mike Watt's honesty and a true love of bass as an instrument  that makes him stand out as a bassist. Possibly for those reasons it why he landed such a "un-punk" gig recording with American Idol Winner, Kelly Clarkson in 2006. In addition to the aforementioned, Watt has been involved with projects far too many to list, but I will mention a few: fIREHOSE, Porno for Pyros, Banyan, J. Mascis, Secondmen, Missingmen, Black Gang, Dos, Ciccone Youth (Sonic Youth) and the reunited Stooges.

In 2011 Mike Watt released "Hyphenated-Man" with his band, the Missingmen. Musically the album was inspired by Watt's journey back into the back catalogue of the Minutemen prior to the filming of the documentary "We Jam Econo". Here he again found the desire to write short, non-standard songs, lacking conventional verse-chorus-bridge structure, much like he played while in the Minutemen. He wrote all the songs on one of D. Boon's Fender Telecaster guitars

There is so much more I could say about Mike Watt's career and his lifestyle. But others have already done so and in a manner that far exceeds my vocabulary and articulation. Just look him up on the internets. So to wrap this up and go full circle.... I had mentioned "P-Town" early on, that's a reference to Portsmouth, VA, Mike Watt's place of birth, some 50 year ago. This is also the city in which I entered this plane of existence.And let's end this with the words Watt exclaimed at the end of The Missingmen set  a couple of years ago in Richmond VA, " Go out take your picture, write your own poem! Go out and start your own band!!"



Mike Watt's Hoot Page





...et cetera