Wander Word

TRAIL STOP #7

Excerpts from On and Off Bass

By Mike Watt

Mike Watt - I am the mike watt who lives in pedro and works the bass. I am the son of sailor. I started playing w/ d. boon as a boy and we later had a band called the minutemen. since then the bass has taken me to some very interesting places and I'm trying to learn all I can. I run a web site called "mike watt's hoot page" at: http://hootpage.com/

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the middle years for watt are about keeping himself busy! I need to wake myself up by breaking more ground. I want to find out what other journeys there are with this little bass of mine. I am curious to see what I become.
(april 25, 2002 – tallahassee, fl)

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It's gig time. we go straight into "loose" – man, what a tune to open with. the folks are really lit up! scotty is really swinging on the drums, what a groove to plant some bass in. ig is wild and tearing it up, very much our bow of the boat. "down on the street" comes immediately right up and we're chugging on that one. when it's time for ronnie to solo, ig jumps up on my bass amps. I still get overwhelmed by this and tonight I get down and play on my knees, looking up at ig while the bass pours all into my face – sixteen speakers about a foot away with the amps all the way open, driving them hard (it feels way different in the face than against the back of your legs!).

"1969" is next and we've really gotten tighter on this one. I used to think we were playing it too fast but that's cuz I was comparing it with the album and like ron says, "live is different." it sails on some righteous wah-wah leads. ig tells the folks he wants to play an "animal song" and we're into "I wanna be your dog" – whoa! the folks are singing along so loud, I can hear it over the sound system. what a gig!
(september 11, 2003 – vitoria-gasteiz, spain)

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when I got into the city, I went over to the hudson and stared into the river and was kind of like a spectator to my own mind. my eyes would follow the boats and it seemed like I was thinking of everything at once.

it was intoxicating, like buzzed on my own thoughts. I put my hand on my face to know it was there. it felt like a bass string – a big, giant one and I wanted to pluck it. I wanted to hear what note my head would make if it was rung.
(october 27, 2000 – new york city, ny)

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about a week ago in denver, this teacher asked me for some musical wisdom to pass on to his kids and I told him it's all about coltrane's philosophy – how it's "all one big reservoir" and each of us has the chance to make it deeper and richer for others.
(september 24, 2001 – omaha, ne)