Thursday , May 26 2022

In the Studio With Mike Watt

Mike Watt – legendary bassist with the Minutemen, fIREHOSE, solo artist, and philosopher of the indie way (see interview here) – is ensconsed in our mutual ancestral home of San Pedro, California, working on a new album.

He sends this word:

    I just have the singing and the mixing to go. diary here.

    I’m the producer, bass operator, spieler and song writer. it’s called “the secondman’s middle stand” and it’s being recorded at karma studio, here in pedro.

Here’s his most recent diary entry:

    oh man, I woke up yesterday w/a head full of congestion – damn. I had the worst nightmares too, total delirium – the kind I usually get when sickness is on me, shit. now I’ve usually noticed that three days before symptoms come on is where I probably was infected and that puts me at that studio in clawson, mi – where I did the stooges session. aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrgggggggghhhhh. being w/the ashetons and iggy all before that means I would’ve been sick earlier if it was them so I’m pretty sure it was there. damn. how many things are going are going to try and sandbag this record? guess it all makes sense if you think about what the whole things about anyways, huh? life is a trip. anyway, I went to the studio and told michael about my condition (it was ‘pert-near impossible not to notice anyway) and we decided to can the session and continue the next day, monday. oh well. I went back to my pad and konked for the rest of the day big time. never leaving the deck and blankies except to take on soup and piss.

    I popped at 3:30 this morning and feel weak but much better than yesterday. I make myself oatmeal and go down to catch the sunrise at land’s end. I’m bundled up good, even though it might seem crazy to do this in such a state, I still need my inspiration. yesterday I told michael we were recording today no matter what – if this is the hand life has dealt me then so be it. I come in at twelve and I do fourteen takes of “puked to high heaven” – prettty intense hot flashes and head rushes, especially in the choruses. then I deal w/this delivery guy who’s brought the stuff michael wanted to rent to help us w/the mix – reverbs and such. I have to go home and get a check cuz these clowns did not have it together for me beforehand. oh brother, it’d be a total waste to expend any energy writing about this outfit so I won’t except to say no referals or repeat business from this goof on bass regarding them ever! life continues to bring me butt-loads of laughs.

    I’m wondering where pete is cuz I wanted him to do his parts. I call him and he says he’s sick too! aahhh! well, come on down pete – this is our fate. he comes and starts to do his parts but I gotta bail cuz petra haden is going to sing w/us too and I have to get her. she passed the written part of the exam but she doesn’t have a driver’s license yet. I know, trippy – especially in l.a. but that just way things worked out for her. she’s a righteous lady though and will help me much w/her great voice. I drive up and get her in the boat at her sister tanya’s in downton l.a. and get us both back to the studio by 3:30 pm.

    I listen to what pete recorded and it’s all wrong! well, not all but the second line for sure – he missing the interval I did. I’ll have him “learn” it by hearing petra do it – her ear is so good, it’s like a hot knife through butter to show her anything cuz singing is just so natural to her. what I need is her singing “puked to high heaven” twentyseven times. not like they’re in a row but that’s the total amount of what she has to do for the tune. michael decides to use the blueberry mic on her. she sounds great. it’s easy for pete to re-do his part, he only has to just follow along.

    then we do the choruses for “boilin’ blazes” and I have her try two different harmonies, one a third and one an octave down from the fifth. she does great. I have her do “puked to high heaven” again, trying to get her to push a little more air so it kind of has that feel of holy rollers at a revival meeting. again, she does great. we chow some at jolly burrito while michael and helperman mike set up for “pissbags and tubing,” the one I want to get next. I get a taco carnitas while petra has a burrito. she thinks the chili sauce will help her singing. it helps me and I also fish out the garlic cloves from the sauce bowl to intesify it.

    we get back and I have petra in the booth and pete out in the studio room w/myself in the control room w/michael. my spiel is just to keep everyone in time. I have pete doing the third and petra doing the fifth. we have a good time nailing these and by the time we’re done, it’s ‘pert-near seven. jer shows up to see how things are, been more than a week since I last seen him so that’s neat. I thank everyone and then roll back up to downtown l.a. a drop petra off at her sister’s. she’s like pete in the way she’s asking me about how to write songs, how to write lyrics – trippy how these talented people haven’t done as much in these areas as someone as crude as myself. I have much respect for them and know if they have encouragement, they’ll do great. this is one of the goals of why I play anyway – to help uplift people and make them feel good about creating too, right along w/me. I think we all have the potential, just life puts in trippy places at trippy times and it’s a mindblow how it all gets connected. I think about this much on my way back to pedro but have to konk quick after reaching my pad cuz there is still sickness weighing on me and I must relent. I try to call pete but get only machine. I do get a hold of jer and say it was good to see him. then a quick talk w/my pool man friend tony and soon I’m out.

Check out the whole thing here. Rock on Mike, can’t wait to hear it.

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected],, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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