Monday, August 21, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Mike Watt


Punk rock musician and songwriter with The Minutemen, fIREHOSE, and Iggy Pop & The Stooges.
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Mike Watt
What's obvious to me isn't always obvious to other people.
Watt quotes
I think punk rock, especially for me, was a big middle finger to this whole talent thing. You're talking jazz fusion, that was the big music in 1976 when I graduated — you know the more notes and the faster solos and all this — and then here comes these guys who never really played before! They're writing their own songs, and I had to confront myself and say, 'Why do you like it?' And I had to look at myself in the mirror and say, 'Well, maybe I just do! I'll decide upon why later, but this has got me fired up to write a lot of songs.'
Watt
Growing up the way we did, (Minutemen lead singer/guitarist) D. Boon and I never heard jazz until we heard punk, and then we thought it was the same thing, because the jazz we were hearing really wasn't Stan Getz, it was the fuckin' John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, it was wild and it made us crazy! We thought it was the same thing, just in an earlier time! For us, not being sophisticated and not knowing the chronologies and coming from Alice Cooper and Blue Oyster Cult, we really didn't understand this. The passion and all of that, we thought it was the same! We didn't see the color lines or whatever in the music, to us it was the same vibe!




Watt Mike quotes
If it's some style, especially some shrink-wrapped thing hanging on a wall at Toys 'R' Us, then it won't live, it won't be dynamic … It becomes exactly what the marketing people want — a genre, something to make their job easier. But if it's something like, "Everybody's telling me the wall's over there, but I'm going to push against it and see if it's really there" — to me, that's what punk is. An idealistic attitude.
Watt Mike
I'm still proud to be called a punk. I didn't say, "Oh, that's just a stage of my childhood and I grew out of that" — I just became a little older, that's all!
Mike Watt quotes
When we started the idea was to have one big song and it would have little parts. We kinda got the idea from Wire. And we were trying to purge the Blue Oyster Cult and Creedence so we wouldn’t be derivative. We felt tainted because a lot of these punk rockers had just started playing and wrote their songs immediately; they didn’t have the years in the bedroom copying records like us. And then there were the punk rockers singing their songs and it dawned on us that they were trying to tell us something that was on their minds. We grew up during the ’60s, although our teen years were all in the ’70s, and I think part of the ’60s was that this is a country born out of protest, so it’s traditional to embrace the idea that things might not be working out so right, and ask what does it all mean? So a lot of times the songs are kind of little weird summaries of the discussions we had with each other.
Mike Watt
I'm really lucky that I've got open-minded people out there who listen and come check out my gig. I wish the people in the audience would realize that they have so much more power than they think they have. They think it's just lights and smoke hypnotizing everybody, but really, the guy on that stage doesn't have the world by the balls or the tail — he's there by the audience's whim, they have the power. They put him there, they can take him out. I wish they'd realize that they have a low esteem, confidence problem about that. They think its all being run by marionette people — but only if they let that happen.
Watt Mike quotes
I actually do think that these kids are smarter than we were in the '70s. It's funny how people call them lame or slackers or whatever, but I don't think so. They know they're getting hustled, they feel it in their gut. But they don't know how to articulate it. And that problem is the reason why punk came into being the first place.
Watt
hurts I have are my fault but I'm sure gonna learn from it and hopefully anyone reading this will too. the lesson: stay aware on a bicycle and look up the road in front of you at all times to make sure you can deal w/what's coming and the condition of the road you're gonna be rolling down!
Watt Mike
The 'minute' meant more like minute … Like we were small compared to a big arena rock band. And the other reason for the name — I had a bunch of names on a paper, and D. Boon picked that one. He liked it because there was some right-wing group who used the name. We thought, we'll call ourselves the same thing — there goes their power! It'll dilute it and confuse things.
Mike Watt
Making a record for Columbia is kind of like using a phone from AT&T — as long as they don't jump on the line and tell me what to say, I won't hang up.




Mike Watt quotes
Navy housing is like tract homes. ... All the houses look the same. Everybody's pop was the same rank. There's a lot of negative to the military — like, most of it. But one good thing was I lived with all kinds of people, as far as ethnic background or whatever. Because the navy was integrated. That was kind of neat. And with everybody's pop being chiefs, you could see that no one was above or below anyone else. You know how neighborhoods get all caught up in different things? Well, in the military you're not like that. You're all together. So I will say that was one positive thing that came out of it.
Mike Watt
I have a little name. That's why people can remember it.
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