Saturday 19 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Watt’s happening

Watt’s happening

Punk veteran Mike Watt gets punctual with ‘Hyphenated-Man’ and its resulting whirlwind tour.

C.G. Niebank March 9th, 2011

Mike Watt and the Missingmen with Feel Spectres and Lizard Police
8 p.m. Tuesday
The Conservatory, 8911 N. Western, 607-4805

After more than 30 years of playing music, renowned punk bassist Mike Watt might be indulged if he rested on his laurels. But with ongoing involvement in bands that includes the legendary Stooges and his own trio, The Missingmen, he shows no apparent interest in slowing down.

His new album, “Hyphenated-Man,” is his musical meditation on being a rocker in his 50s. A national tour supporting it — 51 shows in 52 days — brings him to The Conservatory on Tuesday.

“Hyphenated-Man” is the third in a string of concept albums Watt calls “operas.” While it is comprised of 30 short, punchy songs in the style of The Minutemen, his pioneering ’80s punk band with D. Boon, he said it is not a look back.

“I was thinking, ‘I want this one to be right now. Yeah, middle-aged punk rocker’ … but here I am, so why not write about that? So it won’t have beginning-middle-end; it’ll be all in the moment, like someone put a mirror in my head and broke it into 30 pieces,” Watt said.

Its song titles grew from his longtime fascination with the surreal creatures in the phantasmagorical paintings of artist Hieronymus Bosch, whose work Watt first encountered in an encyclopedia as a teenager before seeing them in person at Madrid’s Museo del Prado while on a 2005 Stooges tour.

“As a kid … I thought he was trippy and freaky,” he said. “At the Prado, backing up, it was like, ‘Oh, look what he does: He makes one thing out of a bunch of little things, like a Minutemen record or a gig.’” With that reminder of his days in The Minutemen, coupled with his participation in a documentary on the group, titled “We Jam Econo,” Watt revisited his earlier band’s music.

“I had to listen to Minutemen again,” he said. “I didn’t really listen to a lot of it after D. Boon was killed (in 1985) — too down, y’know. But I was listening to it again because (the filmmakers) wanted me to do spiel and drive ’em around town and show ’em places. So I’m listening and I’m going, ‘Whoa, I kinda like this.’” To avoid repeating the Minutemen style on “Hyphenated-Man,” Watt recorded his vocals and bass after Missingmen guitarist Tom Watson and drummer Raul Morales had recorded their parts.

“I wanted to respect the energy and memory of D. Boon, and not rip off my old band,” he said. “So I thought the best way, ‘Why not get rid of the only Minuteman?’ … Then I went back a year later and put on the bass and the spiel, to keep if from being too Minutemen-y.”

Accompanying that reverence is Watt’s firm belief that being a musician is an ongoing education.

“One message that I hope comes out from this third opera is that everybody’s got something to teach me,” he said. “Life is for learning, so if I can just get my bass in the right situation, challenge it enough, I’m gonna learn something. … That’s why I do this: Everybody can be a teacher to me.”

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