Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE, Stooges)

Courtesy of Mike Watt Com

By Thomas Semioli


Witness the continual evolution of this astonishingly prolific and diverse bass icon: Michael David Watt. You never know where this cat is coming from – he can play farther out than any other bassist I’ve heard, or he can groove in the pocket akin to the studio icons of yore.

The tones Mike conjures from his instrument range from no lows to no highs to midrange perfection to fuzzed out madness and variations thereof.

With the legendary Minutemen, Mr. Watt was a feverish proponent of punk meets free jazz – and to my ears, his work on the band’s masterpiece Double Nickels on the Dime (1984) evokes comparison to his peer Jamaaladeen Tacuma as heard with (and without) Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time.

In the fIREHOSE trio Mike streamlined his playing to support band-mate Ed Crawford’s pop inclinations along with his own growth as a songwriter as evidenced on such platters as If’n (1987) and Fromohio (1989).

On his  solo bow Ball-Hog or Tugboat (1995), Watt draws the support  “alternative” rock superstars including Eddie Vedder, Flea, Frank Black, Dave Grohl, Henry Rollins, Pat Smear, Evan Dando, Dave Pirner, J. Mascis, and Lee Renaldo.

Watt’s membership in Pornos for Pyros (Good God’s Urge, 1996) and the revamped Stooges on The Weirdness (2007) and Ready to Die (2013), and scores of collaborations and cameos with artists spanning Rickie Lee Jones to Kelly Clarkson to Black Flag to are a testimony to his importance as a player and an innovator.

An actor, author, producer, label owner and entrepreneur, among Watt’s recent collaborations include Big Walnuts Yonder, Hidden Rifles, Mike Watt & The Missing Men, and Jumpstarted Plowhards.


Mike Watt Sound & Vision….

Minutemen: “This Ain’t No Picnic” https://youtu.be/UDr25zjd4yM

fIREHOSE:  “Brave Captain” https://youtu.be/VSv8FVJtbAk

Mike Watt: “Big Train” live with Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl, and Pat Smear https://youtu.be/4cfQaQO-YD4

The Stooges: Live in Sydney 2013 https://youtu.be/ZMfOGqTwNB4

Pornos for Pyros: “Gods Good Urge” https://youtu.be/g6F0sYsJN04

Big Walnuts Yonder: “Raise the Drawbridges” https://youtu.be/dR1DEVfPQ6Q

Hidden Rifles: “Cranial Escrow” https://youtu.be/a-cTchZ8ejY

Jumpstarted Plowhards: “On The Counter” https://youtu.be/EVTZViFDA_c