Mike Watt: The Secondman's Middle Stand
http://www.redmusic.com/streams/MikeWat ... Tubing.ram
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mike watt + the secondmen on Tour:
9/17 San Francisco, CA Bottom Of The Hill
9/18 Sacramento, CA The Blue Lamp
9/19 Portland, OR Berbati's Pan
9/20 Vancouver, BC Media Club
9/21 Seattle, WA Crocodile Cafe or The Hideaway
9/22 Spokane, WA B-side
9/23 Boise, ID Neurolux
9/24 Salt Lake City, UT Ego's
9/25 Denver, CO Bluebird Theatre
9/26 Lincoln, NE Knickerbockers
9/27 Kansas City, MO Grand Emporium
9/28 Columbia, MO Mojo's
9/29 St. Louis, MO Blueberry Hill
9/30 Iowa City, IA Gabe's Oasis
10/01 Minneapolis, MN 7th Street Entry
10/02 Madison, WS High Noon Saloon
10/03 Milwaukee, WI Shank Hall
10/04 Grand Rapids, MI Intersection
10/05 Indianpalois, IN The Patio
10/06 Champaign, IL High Dive
10/07 Chicago, IL Double Door
10/08 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
10/10 Toronto, ON The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern
10/11 Montreal, PQ Mile End Cultural Centre
10/13 Albany, NY Valentine's
10/14 New York, NY TBA (CMJ Music Marathon)
10/15 Morgantown, WV 123 Pleasant Street
10/16 Lexington, KY The Dame
10/18 Nashville, TN The End
10/19 Cincinnati, OH 20th Century Theatre
10/21 Pittsburgh, PA 31st Street Pub
10/22 Washington, DC The Black Cat
10/23 Brooklyn, NY South Paw
10/24 Hoboken, NJ Maxwell's
10/25 Northampton, MA Iron Horse Music Hall
10/27 Cambridge, MA T.T. the Bear's
10/28 New York, NY Mercury Lounge
10/29 Philadelphia, PA The Kyber
10/30 Baltimore, MD Ottobar
10/31 Chapel Hill, NC Local 56
11/01 Atlanta, GA The E.A.R.L.
11/02 Jacksonville, FL Jack Rabbits
11/04 Orlando, FL Will's Pub
11/05 Tampa, FL Orpheum
11/06 Tallahassee, FL The Beta Bar'
11/07 Birmingham, AL The Nick
11/10 Houston, TX Rudyard's Pub
11/11 Austin, TX Stubb's Bar-B-Que (inside Room)
11/12 Dallas, TX Gypsy Tea Room
11/14 Fayetteville, AR Dickson Theatre
11/15 Oklahoma City, OK VZD's
11/16 Lubbock, TX TBA
11/17 Albuquerque, NM Launchpad
11/18 El Paso, TX The T' Lounge
11/19 Tucson, AZ tba
11/20 Tempe, AZ Big Fish Pub
The Secondman's Middle Stand the first watt solo outing to be recorded San Pedro, California, watt's home-base since childhood (he was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, on December 20, 1957), and first to be recorded with a bass (watt), organ (Pete Mazich), and drums (Jerry Trebotic) line-up (three!). (Mazich and Petra Haden both contribute back-up singing to Watt's salty growl: three singers). The album chronicles a critical illness, medical treatment and subsequent course of recovery he underwent in 2000.
"I'm a person who's influenced a lot by what I read," says watt, a normally voracious devourer of literature who found himself with even more time than usual to spend both reading and contemplating big questions when, in 2000, he became critically ill with a fever lasting 38 days, its climax an abscess bursting in his perineum. During his recuperation, Watt poured over all kinds of books ranging from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to Margaret Cheney's "Tesla: Man Out of Time," a biography of the eccentric enigmatic 19th century inventor, probably best-known for discovering the rotating magnetic field that gives rise to alternating currents, who favored numbers divisible by three.
Watt also used his recovery period to re-read Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy," which is divided into three sections: "Inferno," "Purgatorio," and "Paradiso." Both "Purgatorio" and "Paradiso" are divided into 33 cantos ("Inferno" has 34) with each section divided into groups of 3 lines called tercets.
There are nine songs on The Secondman's Middle Stand and, like Dante's "Divine Comedy," watt's new album is the saga of a pilgrim going through his own inferno ("boilin' blazes," "puked to high heaven," "burstedman") and purgatory ("tied a reed 'round my waist," "pissbags and tubing," "beltsandedman") before experiencing a reconnect to paradise ("the angels gate," "pluckin', pedalin' and paddlin'," "pelicanman"). "That sickness hellride was definitely memorable," Watt confesses. "It took so much from me, I figured I could take a record from it. It's a journey, like being on the raft with Jim (from "Huckleberry Finn"), going down the river, or being with Virgil (author of 'The Aeneid') and Beatrice (Dante's dead love) and going through those crazy things. There's something to be said for being a pilgrim, you keep moving. I'm in the middle of my life. I'm definitely not a beginner and, hopefully, I'm not at the end of the road. The cliché is 'last stand,' but I just couldn't see it being my 'last stand.' Another reason I took to paralleling Dante's 'Comedy,' he wrote that in the middle of his life too. When I read it again, after the sickness, in my 40s, I saw it as a kind of vehicle for him to talk about the intense stuff in his life."
And while, the "Middle Stand" refers to Watt's mid-life journey, the "Secondman" in the album's title pays punning tribute to the Minutemen, the groundbreaking (three piece) post-punk band formed in 1979 by Watt and his best friend and comrade in arms, the late D. Boon. After four years of watching the tour van odometer flip over to zeros, the Minutemen came to an end on December 23, 1985 when a tragic van accident took D. Boon's life. Watt retreated from music after the loss, though not for long. An avid Ohio-based Minutemen fan named Ed Crawford found Watt's number in the phone book and announced that he was moving to San Pedro to start a new band with Watt and drummer George Hurley. Watt conceded, and the trio launched fIREHOSE in June 1986, going on to create five studio albums, a live EP, indulging in seven-and-a-half years of non-stop econo-touring (without ever taking label tour support). fIREHOSE signed to Columbia Records, who released the group's final two albums before their break-up on January 12, 1994.
In 1995, Columbia Records released the first Mike Watt solo album, ball-hog or tugboat?. The album enlisted no less than 48 different participants including members of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, the Beastie Boys, Soul Asylum, the Lemonheads, and the Screaming Trees. In fact, the tour line-up for watt's first solo outing included Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder on vocals, the Germ's Pat Smear on guitar, and Nirvana's David Grohl on drums, with Grohl's then-new group, the Foo Fighters, in the support slot. After two years of touring, watt trimmed his caravan back to a three-man team and recorded his 1997 follow-up, the punk opera contemplating the engine room. The thematic effort revolved around three seamen in the engine room of a naval vessel, in sum creating a powerful metaphor for the Minutemen and their road lives in "the boat" (the group's name for their tour van).
In addition to his primary efforts, Watt 's yearnings for creative output have resulted in numerous side projects. In 2003, Watt was recruited by Iggy Pop to play bass in the reformed Stooges both onstage and in the studio (recording is underway for what may emerge as the first new Stooges album since the early 70's'). And that's in addition to the double bass duo dos with ex-Black Flag bassist Kira Roessler, playing bass for Perry Farrell's Porno for Pyros on tour and in the studio, and recorded three albums with Banyan, an experimental alt-jazz project with Pyro member Steve Perkins. Watt also formed Wylde Rattz with the Stooges' Ron Asheton, Mudhoney's Mark Arm, and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Steve Shelley to cover the Stooges' classic "TV Eye" for the soundtrack to the Todd Haynes film "Velvet Goldmine," and then recorded an entire album, yet to be released.
Watt's ongoing list of side bands includes Li'l Pit, hellride (also featuring Perkins - Stooges-inspired takes on Coltrane repertoire), the madonnabes, pair of pliers, and the original Punk Rock Karaoke with Greg Hetson of Bad Religion and Eric Melvin of NOFX. In 2001, he went on the road playing bass for "the fog," backing up long time friend j mascis. Our man in Pedro also stays busy with a weekly web radio program, the "watt from pedro show," and his own website, www.hootpage.com, both of which provide outlets for his many political interests, including the fight against FCC regulations on low power FM stations and web radio channels.
In 2002, Montreal's L'Oie de Cravan, published watt's Spiels of a minuteman/ Spiels d'un minuteman. Lyrics of mike watt for the minutemen, watt, black flag/minutemen watt's 1983 tour diary. Introduction by watt. Foreword by Joe Carducci and Richard Meltzer. Postword by Thurston Moore. All images made by Raymond Pettibon for the minuteman records are included. The whole book is bilingual english/french. 130 pages, format 61/2 x 61/2 inches, Limited edition of a 1000 with silkscreened cover by Simon Bossé, followed by a second revised edition of 2000.
But there is a thread that connects all of Watt's concerns. "Art and music mirrors nature in a lot of ways," Watt says. "Nature's a lot about resonances and cycles and rhythms. Nature has no ethics or morality. Neither does music. It operates on a level where words aren't. There's always going to be a hankering to get connections on a non-word level. Can we have ideas that don't have words for them? You can't know anything, you can only believe. The way you describe what you believe is a prison. Music is a way to get around that. In the comedy, Dante is talking about free will and all these things, bizarre things, big big questions. The mind's going to float, the mind's going to wander. The whole idea of journeys and stuff is such a metaphor for the way the mind is in life. The whole dilemma of what is the mind and what is the brain. One is conscious of the other, a total mystery in total flux. Good art touches on that stuff. I think that the brain/mind connect is every heavier than life/death. Free will, behavior, culture, memory, hopes, all based on this big crux on the connection of the brain and the mind. And music plays on this tooŠ."
watt spent part of the summer touring with dos - his bass duo with former Black Flag bassist Kira Roessler - and playing bass with the reunited Iggy & The Stooges. mike watt + the second men will undertake the usual extensive, grueling headlining North American tour September 3 through November 6, under the banner "El Mar Cura Todo."
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