The Show: Wednesday, April 10, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T

By Ken Shimamoto

A Dante-reading punk-rock pioneer now in his mid-forties, bassist-vocalist-songwriter Mike Watt hews to no orthodoxy.

His original band, the Minutemen, were SoCal punks who, with Husker Du and the Replacements, laid out the template for Amerindie rock. Their signature album, 1984’s Double Nickels on the Dime, had the anarchic feel of Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica, substituting populist polemics for the Captain’s cranky ecological rants.

The death of his childhood friend and front Minuteman D. Boon in a 1985 highway accident knocked Watt for a loop, but he and drummer George Hurley soldiered on in another trio, fIREHOSE. Watt’s first solo project, 1994’s Ball-Hog or Tugboat?, had a cast of players that read like a “who’s who” of alt-rockdom; it deftly blended the Minutemen’s spiky experimentalism with more lyrical material. His next release, 1997’s Contemplating the Engine Room, was a “punk-rock opera” with a story based on both the Minutemen’s history and his dad’s naval service.

In between his own recordings and tours, Watt’s also played with Porno for Pyros, ex-Dinosaur Jr. frontman J. Mascis the improv band Banyan, and the two-bass duo Dos (with ex-Black Flag bassist Kira Roessler), among others. A busy guy. Later this month, he’ll appear at the Coachella Festival in California with the reunited Iggy and the Stooges.

On his current “The Cord That Spun Its Own Top” tour, Watt performs with, of all things, an organ trio and previews material from his next c.d., The Secondman’s Middle Stand — another concept album based on a near-fatal illness he suffered in 2000. His music has never been less than interesting, and the new lineup’s bound to surprise.

Sat at Club Clearview, 2528 Elm St, Dallas. 214-939-0077.


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