Mike Watt began his musical journey in the mid 70’s playing bass guitar with The Reactionaries. Sine then he’s been a four-stringed lifeblood for some of the best bands in LA and beyond.
He’s played in (to mention a few), The Minutemen, fIREHOSE (see below), Ciccone Youth, J Mascis and the Fog, Porno for Pyros, Banyan (with Jane’s Addiction drummer, Stephen Perkins) and for quite some time now he’s been the regular bass player for Iggy Pop and the Stooges. He’s also recorded four solo records, including 2011’s 30 track ‘Punk Opera’, Hyphenated-Man.
Besides his great love of music, Mike is a keen photographer and in the spring of 2010, the Track 16 Gallery in Santa Monica hosted a special exhibition of Mike’s photos.
Now published as a book, ‘Mike Watt: On and Off Bass,’ includes a lot of these great photographs, many taken during kayak trips around his beloved home of San Pedro. The book also contains Mike’s unique thoughts and insights on a wide range of topics, from John Coltrane to managing pre-gig nerves.
“Mike Watt’s photos are the poetry of San Pedro…every time he goes out on that kayak he comes back with gold. These gorgeous images paired with the raw reflections of 3 decades on the road are sure to blow the minds of all who love punk rock and our beloved vision questing troubadour.” – Jack Black
To see some more of Mike’s photos click the thumbnails below.
Also just out is fIREHOSE lowFLOWs: The Columbia Anthology (’91-’93), a compilation of the band’s two studio albums released on the label, Flyin’ the Flannel and Mr. Machinery Operator, plus the Live Totem Pole EP, other rarities, instrumentals and delights.
Formed soon after the tragic death of Minutemen singer-guitarist D. Boon in 1985, fIREHOSE (featuring Watt and fellow Minuteman George Hurley, joined by Ed Crawford on guitar and vocals) had all the energy of punk, but were seriously blessed with musical talent and invention. Sometimes they were too inventive, and their records were genre splitting sprawls of creative energy.
In the eight years they were together they toured constantly, playing close to a thousand shows. Recently fIREHOSE re-united again to play the Saturday night at this years Coachella festival and hopefully more tour dates look to be in the pipeline.
This compilation is a brilliant musical introduction to one of the bands that filled in the missing gaps between punk, garage and grunge (but make sure you also listen to their 3 SST albums too).