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Exclusive Interview: A Conversation with Mike Watt

Punk rock legend, Mike Watt of Minutemen, hops on a Skype session to chat with us about DIY culture, 1980's punk, and his experience within the San Pedro scene.


Photo by: Spenser Judd


Okay, so just you know, Mike Watt is a bassist's bassist. He knows how to bust out a groove and glue together a song or scene with his sense of rhythm and sheer rawness. He's like the Les Claypool of the 1980's punk rock scene or better yet, he's the Mike Watt of the 80s punk scene. Known for his involvement with Minutemen, The Missingmen, and other projects, Watt is as DIY as it gets. Even if these names don't ring a bell, you've probably heard "Corona" by Minutemen, it's the Jackass theme song. So yeah, Watt is a legend by all means. He helped pave the way for so many punks over the years and he still has that intense energy whenever you catch him live.

A few months back, I sent it down to Long Beach to catch Meatbodies play at Alex's Bar and was pleasantly surprised to find out Mike Watt & the Secondmen were on the bill. I saw them for the first time back in 2017 at Dirty Penny Fest on the come-up of a bad acid trip. Their unique style of punk rock, rockabilly, and bluesy funk instantly triggered that LSD to kick in a bit too quickly... Haha, so I had to step out of the show before their set was up.

I'm glad I had this new opportunity to see them again without the acid fuckin' with my mind because their stage presence is unrivaled. Each member tunes into the other's grooves, perfectly riffing off each other's instruments where the songs melt into each other seamlessly. Their set at Alex's Bar was a cozy clash of energy that made me feel right at home.

After the set, I was geeked up from the onslaught onstage and wanted to know more about the artists behind the music, so I made it a mission to get ahold of Mike to chat more about his take on DIY culture and the current state of underground music. Here's what he had to say...


Mike: So you wanted to talk about zines?

Spenser: Yeah, we started making our zine earlier this year.

Mike: Spenser, zines were so important in the old days. Yeah, they were like the fabric like you weren’t gonna wait around for Rolling Stone or whatever bullshit to validate or whatever, you know. They were just shills for the record companies they were propped up by, so here in SoCal our big one was Slash and Flipside, there were two of ‘em. They were all over the country and they were like the fabric, I mean it was more than just a zine. This was how Chuck Dukowski got his first circuit going that we toured, actually I still tour on this mother fucker 40 years later.

Spenser: No way

Mike: Yeah, the guy running the zine, his band would probably be opening up, we’d conk at his pad, we’d find the venue. Yeah, zines were a huge fabric in our scene.

Spenser: That’s beautiful, I was inspired early on by BYO and what Youth Brigade was doing.

Mike: Oh yeah, D. Boon put out