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Mike Watt to Release Book, Albums, Piss Bag

Catherine Lewis reports:
Legendary bassist Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE) writes about what he knows in his first book, Spiels of a Minuteman, which will jam econo on bookstore shelves this week. The punk rock hero's latest history lesson includes all Minutemen lyrics, Watt's diary from the band's 1983 European tour with Black Flag, and Raymond Pettibon's cover art from the Minutemen records. Mershed by French Canadian publisher L'Oie de Cravan, Spiels of a Minuteman also features forwards by Joe Carducci, Richard Meltzer, and Thurston Moore. Montréal's Salla Rossa will be holding a release party for the book this Saturday, during which Watt will play Minutemen songs with Chris Burns, Will Glass, Sylvain Côté, and Jackie Gallant.

L'Oie de Cravan founder Benoît Chaput approached Watt about the possibility of doing a book three years ago, based in part on his longtime fascination with Minutemen lyrics, like those from "Self-referenced": "How can I believe in books when my heart lies to me? I'm full of shit!" Quoth Chaput: "Mike Watt is alive, grounded with bass, flying with words; he knows about Joyce and he knows about the Germs. The complexity of this man is the poem I would like people to read." Whatever, guy. We just think Watt plays a mean thunderbroom.

For his part, Watt jumped at the opportunity to pay tribute to his old friend and Minuteman guitarist, D. Boon, who was killed in a car accident 17 years ago. As Watt told Pitchfork News, "[The book] would have folks think about D. Boon, which is very important for me. I don't want folks to ever forget him. Without him, I surely wouldn't be the man in the van with a bass in his hand."

So, what else is new with Watt? Well, he's working on three new records: his fourth Dos LP with Kira (his ex-wife, and former member of the seminal Black Flag), which consists of just the dos of them playing bass, and the lady of the house on vocals; a third album for Banyan, featuring Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction, Porno for Pyros) and Nels Cline; and lastly a record with his trio The Secondmen, entitled The Secondman's Middle Stand. The Secondmen LP will be a "concept album" of sorts, about the so-called "piss bag" illness which nearly killed Watt three years ago, and is detailed all-too-graphically on his "Hoot Page" website. Watt is also teaming with Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore for a song on the second Tom Rapp/Pearls Before Swine tribute compilation, which currently does not have a release date.

Watt is expected to launch his 50th tour (count 'em, fifty) this April and May with the Secondmen, throughout the U.S. and Canada. Exact dates and locations have not yet been announced. And, finally, for those of you still in shock that Watt is appearing in the video for Good Charlotte's "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous", along with Kyle Gass (Tenacious D) and Chris Kirkpatrick (N'Sync), we are here to sadly announce to you that the rumors are, in fact, true. Hey, a man's gotta piss.

.: Pitchfork Review: Mike Watt: Contemplating the Engine Room
.: Mike Watt's Hoot Page:
.: Mike Watt's Piss Bag Illness story:
.: L'Oie de Cravan:
.: Originally published: 10 January 2003
.: Items mentioned above on Contemplating the Engine Room (Mike Watt, 1997).