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.
Today, April 20, marks Record Store Day 2013, where special vinyl releases will be available exclusively through brick and mortar independent record stores. Many artists are involved in the promotion and celebration of the day, including Mike Watt, bassist for some amazing bands over the years like The Minutemen, Firehose, and currently Iggy and The Stooges. (There’s even a special vinyl-sized Mike Watt Tote Bag available that you can fill up with all your records.)
Recently, Geeks of Doom’s Stoogeypedia had a chance to have a lengthy video Skype conversation with Watt about a plethora of topics, including his participation in Record Store Day — Watt will be performing today with The Secondmen at Fingerprints Record Store in Long Beach, CA. So, in honor of today’s celebration of vinyl, we asked Watt to reveal his Top 6 Favorite Records Of All Time (we asked for five, but apparently, he’s got six). Check out an excerpt from our conversation here below.
Ragin’ Full On, the 1986 debut album by the alternative/punk/post punk trio Firehose, is on sale in MP3 format for only $5.00 on Amazon right now!
The band, which was born from the legendary punk ensemble The Minutemen due to the death of their guitarist/singer D. Boon, also carved their own niche in that genre of music. Quirky, intense, unique, the sounds of Firehose range from sublime to rapid fire intense. Lead singer/guitarist Ed From Ohio is able to maintain the heat put forth by the ex-Minutemen rhythm section comprised of drummer George Hurley and bass player extraordinaire Mike Watt, (a true bonafide legend of the post punk generation to many who followed him) and songs like “Brave Captain,” “Chemical Wire,” “The Candle and the Flame” and “Under the Influence of Meat Puppets” chug along at a breakneck pace. The band reunited recently and have sallied forth to keep their sounds alive to the loyal generation that remained with them back when and to a new generation as well. Ragin’ Full On remains highly recommended.
Browse the main sale page to see the other 99 albums on sale for only $5 each in MP3 format through the end of June 2012.