Monday, April 02, 2007
Mike Watt - Hardest Working Bass Man in America
I never intended for anyone to become my hero. As a bass player who is trying to further his self, one of the most important companions to creating music is studying other music - all of it. The good, the bad, the popular, and the unprecedented. Mike Watt and the Minutemen helped shape the early American punk movement in the late 70's. Traveling all over in a beat up Ford Econoline van, setting up their own tours, and conveying their own message, they "jammed econo".
What do you do when your best friend and musical soulmate is killed in an accident? For Mike Watt, music was his life when D. Boon died in 1985. Hanging up his bass guitar and calling it quits would have been equivalent to suicide- and I'm sure the thought crossed his mind during that dark time. Instead, he did the only logical thing to him, and has everyday since then- he gives himself to the musical world, in the name of his fallen mate.
Mike Watt gives his energy to us in several ways. Besides the gigs that he plays almost every night with one of several bands (The Stooges, The Missingmen, Banyan, Dos, and other projects), you can listen to his regular podcast, The Watt From Pedro Show. It's a three hour presentation featuring Watt's philosophy, interesting special guests from different areas of his life, influential music, and new music from around the world. He's been doing the show for almost 6 years, with well over 100 shows archived. That's 300+ hours of mind expanding material for your listening pleasure. It's kept this side of overwhelming thanks to Watt's careful attention and faithfulness to a consistent show format.
Watt is also very good (considering the challenges involved) about "writing from the road" He posts his experiences, thoughts, and memoirs in his blogs on The Hootpage, his personal website. Thanks to these gifts, it's not hard to learn what kind of person Mike Watt really is... a hard working, caring, and real person- who has become a hero of mine.