When a musician like Mike Watt comes to Santa Fe, it’s time to drop whatever you’re doing and get down to some serious ticket buying. Yes, friends, the legendary punk rock bassist/icon is coming to town, and it’s up to us to make it the biggest darn show since the advent of shows.
Maybe he’s not as universally adored as the Pixies or as bafflingly beloved as Morrissey, but if y’all made those shows as huge as you did, certainly you can extend the goodwill to one of the most important punk rock musicians ever to pick up a bass.
Still not convinced? Well, read on for the best reasons to get pumped on the upcoming Mike Watt and the Missingmen show.
He am legend
Ask just about anybody who would dare to call himself (or herself) a fan of punk rock, and he’ll tell you that Watt has, at one point or another, been a part of his life. Countless bands—punk or not—cite the guy as inspirational, and there is an undeniable air of rock ’n‘ roll royalty that surrounds him even now, three-plus decades of musicianship later. He’s worked with everybody from J Mascis and Kelly Clarkson (not kidding) to the Stooges, so you’ve gotta figure he’s doing something right.
Friend to the little guy
Some years ago, Watt was booked at the tragically now-defunct Paramount nightclub. Awesome as this was, those of us who were under 21 at the time had no choice but to weep in the face of our exclusion from the bar show. And, just when we youngsters had decided that we’d all ram knitting needles into our ears in pseudo-punk protest, it was announced that Watt would also appear at Warehouse 21 for an impromptu Q&A. To see such an incredible and talented musician make the time for the youth of our fair city was awe-inspiring, and it’s something I’ll never forget.
Interesting bass? You bet!
Watt’s bass-playing style has been described as lyrical, which is pretty damn apt. He has achieved artistic and studied bass-work within a genre that often produces more than its fair share of boring, root-note antiheroes. This feat becomes all the more impressive when we think about how few bassists achieve straight-up rock star status (Jaco Pastori who?). Make way for the bassist’s bassist, a champion of those four strings who shreds without effort and adds an interesting layer of mathematically captivating rhythm to the punk rock world. Thanks for nothing, Geddy Lee!
We Jam Econo
I double-dog dare you to watch this brilliant documentary and not totally fall in love Mike Watt and his music.
The Minutemen were pretty famous for super-short (but still super-awesome) songs. In fact, 1984’s Double Nickels on the Dime was a two-record, 45-song release. Certainly, punk rock has always been about concise and angry statements wrapped in short and sweet packages; but, if brevity is the soul of wit, these dudes were the wittiest dudes of all time…not counting the Locust. Oh, and let me just say RIP to guitarist D Boon who was tragically killed in a traffic accident in 1985.
Most recently, Watt released Hyphenated-Man with bandmates Tom Watson and Raul Morales, aka the Missingmen. Coming in at 30 tracks, the record marks his first solo release in seven years, and draws inspiration not only from Watt’s past work with The Minutemen, but from the art of Hieronymus Bosch. Each track is reportedly a musical paean to characters crafted by Bosch, which makes song titles like “Hollowed-Out-Man” or “Lute-And-Dagger-Man” make a lot more sense. This is vintage Watt—the kind of art-punk he made famous way back in the ’80s is now available to a new generation of music fans.
Because I fucking say so
Look, guys, I know we don’t always see eye to eye, but I want you to trust me on this one.