Friday 25 Jul

TJ Mayes - "When Love Comes Down"

’50s era rock ’n’ roll had been long overdue for a rebirth. Thankfully, the stockpile of capable luminaries has not been in short supply over the past few years. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Boare - "playdatshit"

The world is in the midst of an electronic music renaissance, and you find most of this boon of producers laying claim to the club-friendly, bass-dropping variety, holing up in the the free-flowing world of hip-hop beatmaking or pitching their tent on the out-there, boundary-pushing EDM camp.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broncho - "Class Historian"

Broncho has never been hurting in the hook department. The success of the trio’s 2011 debut, Can’t Get Past the Lips, was predicated mostly on its ability to marry melodies with kinetic guitar riffs and anarchic energy. Yet we’ve heard nothing to the degree of pure pop catchiness on display in “Class Historian,” the new single from Broncho’s upcoming sophomore album, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | 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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