Mike Watt got his musical start thumping the bass with legendary San Pedro punk trio, The Minutemen in 1980 and he has been at it ever since. Over the years, he’s toured with Dos, fIREHOSE, his own The Black Gang, The Secondmen, The Missingmen, and others, and he has worked bass as a sideman for Porno for Pyros, J Mascis and the Fog, as well as punk godfathers The Stooges.
Off the road, at his beloved San Pedro, CA home base, Watt developed a deep interest in photography. In Spring 2010, Track 16 Gallery in Santa Monica, CA hosted an exhibit of his photos: “Mike Watt: Eye-Gifts from Pedro.” According to Track 16 executive director Laurie Steelink, who curated the exhibit, “He has this knack for finding the early morning sweet spots when venturing out alone on his bike or kayak. The resulting photographs never seem to dry: light, flight, salt, rust, and tide commingle in fiery sunrises, endless heavens, roiling waves and fog.” The photos offer another side of Watt that fans of his punk rock music may not be familiar with: While seemingly serene, many have an underlying tension and that often shows the sharp contrast between industry and nature.
In “Mike Watt: On and Off Bass,” photographs that appeared in the exhibit are punctuated by Watt’s poetry and snippets selected from 10 years of his diaries. Watt’s writing is insightful, funny, intimate and honest, as he explores topics like John Coltrane, long hauls and overcoming performance fears.
“Mike Watt: On and Off Bass” exposes Watt’s vision as a photographer, diarist and poet, taking its readers on a trip. And when you stop turning the pages of Watt’s story, you start turning the pages of yours, re-ignited.
Mike Watt: On and Off Bass
By Mike Watt
8” x 10”, 112 pages, full color
Three Rooms Press, 2012
NYC Book Launch: Wednesday, May 2, 2012, 7pm, at LePoisson Rouge
with Hellride East (Mike Watt, J Mascis, and Murph)
plus Appomattox and Dead Trend
tickets available here
LA Book Launch: Saturday, May 5, 2012, 2pm at Beyond Baroque
with Mike Watt & The Missing Men
plus The Lofty Canaanites (feat. Jack Brewer & S.A. Griffin)