Saturday, September 27, 2014


Oh no, I'm not stepping a foot towards this black hole. Too deep, not tonight. The black hole in question is Mike Watt, or rather his output over the years. There's just too much to do a comprehensive overview. I'm not a full on fiend of Watt, which isn't to say I don't dig his work. It's just that my high regard for him is tainted by a long list of non-musical reasons, all based on general impressions. First and foremost, he seems like a regular guy. If he didn't, the whole thing would go bust. He's also hardworking, always playing with this person or that, and, from what I've seen in interviews, he's a good conversationalist, coming off as genuine, humble, and excitable, the type of guy you could imagine having a beer with.

The thing I like most about Mike Watt is that you just know that, at every milestone in his post-Minuteman career, he's paused to think about the late D,Boon, his childhood friend and band mate in the Minutemen. At least that's the type of guy he seems to be. The two met as kids, they were thirteen, when D, Boon fell out of a tree, right when Watt happened to be walking by. I forget all the details, but that's how they met. They discovered punk rock together, started a band together, the Reactionaries, and then the Minutemen, Then, in 1985, Boon was killed in a traffic accident. These guys were tight, like brothers. It had to hurt. Yet, Watt continued, and still does, to grind away.

Watt started another band, firehouse, and after that did some solo stuff and a lot of collaborating (a big part of any black hole), There was the band with Thurston Moore and Ron Asheton, another with Nels Cline and two drummers. There was the Ball-Hog or Tugboat LP with one hell of a cast, members of Black Flag, the Germs, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Parliament, the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., the Screamers, and that's only about half of them (check the entry at Wikipedia). The collaboration that got me thinking about Watt a couple of days ago was a TV appearance from the Jon Stewart show, in 1995. The song was "Big Train", written by Chip and Tony Kinman, two ex-Dils, Assembled to play the song, Eddie Vedder on rhythm guitar, ex-Germ Pat Smear on lead guitar (slide of all things), and ex-Nirvana Dave Grohl on drums, Of course all these guys were in other subsequent bands, I'm just mentioning the early ones for some historical context. I think the song is from the Kinman's Blackbird period, several years after the Dils. (Those Kinmans are another black hole.) I almost forgot to mention that Watt was a latter day member of the Stooges, and might still be off and on. I don't know, I don't keep track of these things.

Here's a mess of stuff, beginning with the Reactionaries, Watt and Boon's pre-Minutemen band. There's a few Minutemen cuts, and some solo stuff. The live cuts aren't the best quality, but included because of the telling choices in covers. If you want to know the story of the Minutemen, there's a link to the documentary We Jam Econo. There's another documentary about Watt, Eyegifts From Minnesota, And to get an idea of what winds his watch, and hear him shooting the shit with on air guests. check out his radio show.  

The Reactionaries - Cheap False Teeth mp3 at Corn Dogs
The Reactionaries - Brigate Rose mp3 at Corn Dogs
The Reactionaries - Video Madonna mp3 at Corn Dogs
The Reactionaries - Innuendo mp3 at Corn Dogs
The Reactionaries - Four more mp3s at Corn Dogs
Mike Watt - Big Train at YouTube From the Jon Stewart Show 1995, with Pat Smear, Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder
Visit: - Mike Watt fan site with tons of stuff
Mike Watt's Hoot Page
Mike Watts Tour Diary - From the 2011 Stooges European tour (with James Williamson)
The Watt from Pedro Show - Mike Watt's online radio show. A regular salad bowl.

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