Friday, December 10, 2004



From one of the best bands on one of my favourite labels, Mike Watt was the bassist in for the amazing Minutemen. First hearing the Minutemen was something shocking for me, I at first found it so hard to believe that such a band would tour with Black Flag. Each Minutemen song is short but filled with more dynamics than most songs twice their size.

Hi, how and where are you?
Getting ready for another u.s. tour that starts sep 21. It'll be 52 gigs in 55 days. I'm in San Pedro, California right now - that's where I'm based.

Ball Hog And Tugboat's artwork was very wrestling themed/inspired. Are you a fan and, if so, who is the best wrestler you've ever seen?
My favorite was Don Muraco. I really dug him and his spiel. he also invented the piledriver.

Did the Beastie Boys rip off the Minutemen on Cooky Puss?
What? like Coltrane said: "music is a big reservoir."

How did your collaboration with J Mascis come about?
I just asked him! He's very cool people.

Have you recently worked with Money Mark?
Yes, along w/Steve Perkins as Broke Dick Dog we covered a James Brown tune for a tribute record to his 65th birthday. It's called "Ssssssh (For A Little While.)"

How are your knees holding out?
OK. The bike riding has made them much stronger. They still ache big time in the wet cold though.

Will Ciccone Youth ever record again?
Don't know about that. I got Madonnabes though and we're doing a split 7" w/the Ziggens (long beach band on skunk records) soon.

Of all the Minutemen men cover versions, which have liked most?
Nels Cline doing "West Germany" was pretty good.

What was the most requested and best performed song on the punk rock karaoke?
"Minor Threat" by Minor Threat. Great song.

I read the transcript of your on-line interview. It looked like hard work. What was it like to do?
Not hard at all. I started typing in the 8th grade. I'll be 41 december 20th.

Is Kira up to anything musically? Has she any current bands going?
She's editing sound for movies now in Burbank. We're gonna do another dos record (fourth one) for Kill Rock Stars when we get time.

What's Pedro like these days?
Too many track homes going up but the town still has it's good things. Lots of cliffs, ocean, docks, parks and beach to keep things real. I love riding my bike around the coast each moring. I do over twenty miles. I wrote my opera on the bike.

For the purposes of trainspotting, could you please list every band you have ever played in?
the bright orange band
sacharrine trust (one record)
ciccone youth
porno for pyros (some of one record and a few tours)
mike watt and the crew of the flying saucer
mike watt and the black gang crew
mike watt and the black gang
li'l pit
broke dick dog
wylde ratttz

I saw your comments on Coltrane and Mingus. How come a lot of you punk guys are into jazz?
Well, we got turned on to the bebop stuff when we got into punk and we related the two very close. it sounded like chaos and passion to us at the time. please remember we did not grow up w/jazz and it was very new to us like the punk scene that was growing all around us. I really like the freedom and voice of coltrane's stuff. I went to his grave a couple months ago in long island, ny. took the train there from manhattan. I laid on the grass on top of him thinking of what he was thinking when he
made a record. probably didn't give a shit about being mersh (commercial). just wanted to get beyonder. he's a big inspiration to me. I dig mingus too, look what he did for the bass in the band - actually led it!

Have you heard any Charles Gayle? And if so what do you think?
I saw a gig of his in West L.A. and dug it. kind of tripped out when he went on his spiels. had a great bass player w/him too. Thurston took me and knew the whole deal. he's so knowledgeable about so many different kinds of musics. I really dig him for turning me on to all kinds of things.

What were you getting at specifically when you did Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs?
I was afraid of what folks would thing of my songs and that they would somehow come out sounding sort of one dimensional but then I thought of growing up listening to bob dylan's early tunes and then feeling ok about it. I know that sounds insane but that's where I was back in 1982. In a way I'm still there.

What did you think of Rollins' Get In The Van book?
I like hank very much and think the parts I've read of the book are really funny - they bring back memories. for all the hell we went through though I'm very much glad we got to do everything we did. he makes it out to be pretty intense and it was. just remember there was lots of laughing all along the way.

Do you think you'll be doing a book?
I've been approached by many people about this but I don't think it's the time yet to do one.

Do you like England?
Yes, there's some interesting things about it and some great folks. It's very easy to be negative about any land and you gotta see the good from the shit. my early days of punk were very influenced by english bands like "the pop group" and "wire" and for that I'm eternally grateful. I only got to do one gig there last europe tour (march - april '98) and that was in london. the english division of sony would not put my opera out. this hurt me much. when I play england I always play scotland too. the name watt is scottish and my father's side's distantly related to james watt, the inventor. in fact my pop's name is james watt but everyone called him by his middle name, dick.

What bands are you currently into?
I saw Sleater-Kinney and dug some of that. Same w/Bikini Kill and Team Dresch. I like Nomeansno right now too. Always will dig Beefheart, Roky Erickson, Television and Richard Hell. Dig Creedence too!

Anything else?
You asked some good questions, thanks!

(originally appeared in NO PICTURES issue 10)


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