Legendary Punk Bass Player Mike Watt’s Photography, Reflections and Diary Excerpts
“Sincere, funny, handmade, beautiful, totally idiosyncratic, and entirely original.” —Rick Moody, TheRumpus.net
“An unusual and beautiful photographic memoir.” —The New Yorker
“[Watt] has a keen eye for capturing unexpected disruptions within seemingly normal, even mundane situations.” –LA Review of Books
“God bless San Pedro and Mike Watt.” —Iggy Pop
In MIKE WATT: ON AND OFF BASS (Three Rooms Press, 978-0-9835813-0-7, May 1, 2012), legendary punk rock bassist Mike Watt offered a look into his time on and off the road, with photographs shot in and around his hometown of San Pedro, California, mingled with exquisite poetry, intimate thoughts, and insightful musings extracted from ten years of his tour diaries.
Now, this gem of inventiveness by Watt has been released in an extended ebook edition, MIKE WATT: ON AND OFF BASS ebook (Three Rooms Press, 978-0-9895125-5-8 August 4, 2015; $12.99). The new edition includes an extensive addendum with additional photos and writing, sharing more of his unique perception on life on the road and at home. The new edition is optimized throughout for digital viewing of Watt’s photography, offering an interactive experience with brilliant color and zooming capability.
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 his own bands and 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.