Mike Watt – Have Bass Will Travel

Mike Watt and Iggy PopMike Watt loves his job. He’s been writing, performing and releasing music on his own terms for more years than he would care to remember.

From his beginnings in the mid 70’s with the now legendary Minutemen, to his recent position playing Bass with Iggy Pop and The Stooges (right) his passion and energy for the music is un-relentless.

When he did his first solo record it featured (among others) Henry Rollins, Eddie Vedder, J Mascis, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Frank Black, Nirvana, Jane’s Addiction, and the Beastie Boys.

Punk Rock is not a hairstyle, it lives in San Pedro, California and it’s name is Mike Watt.

What are you up to at the moment?
I’m getting ready for 51 gigs in 52 days USA and Canada tour that goes from March 10th to April 30th. At the end of May I rejoin The Stooges for festival gigs this summer in Europe.

Did you enjoy the Stooges tour?
It was righteous – you can read all about in my diary HERE

Did you see any signs of the recent flooding and bad weather there?
I didn’t see any flooding and we luckily were in the right spots to miss the bad weather. my heart goes out to those folks who were hit though.

Do you have a favourite venue?

I like playing everywhere. On any night anything can happen. It’s hard to have a favorite.

Mike WattWhat exactly is a Punk Opera?
Punk Opera means me writing one big song w/many parts. I’ve done three of them now, the first being “Contemplating the engine room” in 1997, “the Secondman’s middle stand” in 2004 and now just coming out, “Hyphenated-man.”

Are there any countries you haven’t toured yet and would like to visit?
Yes! I would love to play anywhere I haven’t yet – like China, India or anywhere in Africa. I’ve also played very little of Latin America and would like to go there more. I love playing gigs for people and love visiting other places than my Pedro town.

Who is on your stereo at the moment?
John Coltrane.

Who makes the best bass guitars?
Fenders are real good ones. for gigs I like playing my old Gibson EB Basses cuz they’re little and easier on my less-younger hands. I record with a Moon Bass which is a made-in-Japan version of a Fender Jazz that’s very good, it’s a Larry Graham model.

I know you are a Captain Beefheart fan, what is your favourite track?
Dirty Blue Gene is a real good one but I love so many he did!

Mike Watt Frank BlackHave you been working on any new solo stuff?
I’ve got tons of stuff in the pipeline and that’s why I’ve had to start my own label (Clenchedwrench) to handle it all. The next Mike Watt album I wanna record will be with my Secondmen, and it’ll be about work.

You have played with some incredible musicians, but if you could have been in any band?
It would’ve been a trip to be in T-Rex.

Where do you feel happiest?
When I’m paddling my kayak or pedaling my bike – and working my Bass!

Find out more about Hyphenated Man on Mikes Hoot Page. You can also hear Mike on the new Iggy & The Stooges & The Stooges – Raw Power Live.

(Top photo by Jim Dyson, Slide photo by Bob Chamberlin, Above taken by Mike with Frank Black)

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