Down With The Bass: Punk Rock Legend Rolls Into Athens

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Punk rock legend Mike Watt will be stopping through Athens on his North American tour Monday night, Oct. 22 at The Union Bar and Grill.

Best known as the bassist in the 1980s hardcore punk band Minutemen, as well as stints with 1990s act fIREHOSE and the reformed Stooges, Watt is now touring in support of his fourth solo album, Hyphenated-Man.

This 41-date tour, titled "2nd Heapin’ Helpin’ of 3rd Opera U.S. Tour 2012," features the talents of guitarist Tom Watson, drummer Raul Morales and Watt himself on "thunderbroom."

Watt says his new album is particularly special because it has no standard narrative.

"It’s actually one song with 30 parts," he said. "'No standard narrative' means all 30 parts are in the now, right in the moment. I am a middle-aged punk rocker talking about his life right now."

Based in San Pedro, Calif., Watt’s tour dates have him playing a different city every night for a month. One might think that would be tiring for anyone, but Watt chalks up his schedule to his rocker lifestyle.

"Tour is a one-hundred percent mission for me. I try as hard as I can," he said. "I’ve done it this way for over 30 years. When you ain't playing, you're paying…I find it a very happening tradition. I conk in The Boat before I go on stage if I can."

"The Boat" (pictured right) is the pet name Watt gave to his Ford Econoline e-350 van that takes him cross-country.

"The Boat is the center of my touring universe," he explained. "How can I work the towns without The Boat? I got to get me and my men there. I get to see parts that ain't my Pedro town. It’s a very important part of tour. God bless The Boat."

Apart from the tour, Watt is excited that the documentary We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen is now available for streaming on Netflix.

"'Jam Econo' means not letting material stuff get in the way of trying to express yourself the best you can with what you have," he said. "It might make people think if people like us could make a band, then maybe they could too."

Finally, Watt expressed his excitement to be visiting Athens for the first time.

"It’s always a trip the first time for a town because we have no idea. I don't let other opinions make up my mind for me. I like first-hand experiences and even then I forever try to keep an open mind," he said. "I promise to play my brains out and I know my men will, too. I'm so grateful for your town having us aboard, truly."

Watt's show on Monday will be preceded by a special reunion performance of former Athens band The Makebelieves. Tickets are available at Haffa's Records.

You can learn more about Mike Watt’s tour by following his diary at www.mikewatt.com.