“Mike Watt’s photos are the poetry of San Pedro…every time he goes out on that kayak he comes back with gold. These gorgeous images paired with the raw reflections of 3 decades on the road are sure to blow the minds of all who love punk rock and our beloved vision questing troubadour.”
– Jack Black, actor
“When you mix pirate, Pedro pix, music, d. boon forever, hard work, weird sincerity, good will, curiosity, love, and an adult moustache, what do you have? Poetry is the answer. Poetry poetry poetry. Watt Watt Watt!”
– Richard Hell, writer & musician
“Here is the last stand of the fruited earth and the ship-freighted sea. How lovely America was. God bless San Pedro and Mike Watt.”
– Iggy Pop
About the Book
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.
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