You would be hard pressed to find a musician who has had a more expansive and eclectic career than the illustrious Mike Watt, who started during the last waves of the original punk scene in California during the late 1970s and gained his original prominence as the bassist in the post-punk trio The Minutemen, which became one of the more well known bands of that genre and helping SST records (along with Black Flag, Sonic Youth, and the Meat Puppets among others) become a major player in the DIY music scene that was crystallizing itself as the 1980s rolled on. With lead singer/guitarist D. Boon and drummer George Hurley, The Minutemen spanned genres within the post-punk genre, adding dashes of funk, jazz, classic swamp rock like Creedence Clearwater Revival and the hardest edged swords of punk proper and released scores of albums and EP’s which have become highly influential and spawned many other bands which followed in their wake.
D. Boon died tragically in December 1985 and it marked the end of an era for The Minutemen. The rhythm section of Watt and Hurley thundered on however, and a new band, Firehose, with Ed “From Ohio” Crawford” was born, which also had their own cult niche as they released three sonically challenging records as the 1980s winded down. Since then, Mike Watt has been on scores of projects, many of his own solo bands and bands with like-minded musicians and also on big league ensembles such as Porno For Pyros and his new gig, which has been doing for almost ten years now, being the bass player in the Detroit Rock City powerhouse The Stooges.
I had the golden opportunity to conduct a lengthy interview with the man via video Skype, in which he waxed incredible about all the aforementioned topics and projects, and plenty of others, including his propensity for analog and digital when it comes to recording, some of his favorite bands and genres, life as an “econo” musician (a term he coined and which in essence, the man refreshingly still is) and of course, the upcoming Stooges album, Ready to Die.
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