New Year Trouble For Mike Watt

Whadaya expect for a guy who has this kind of relationship with his instrument.

The month of January turned out to be one aborted gig after another

for bassist extraordinaire Mike Watt. As reported earlier in Addicted To Noise,

Porno For Pyros told the former Minuteman and fIREHOSE leader that they

wouldn't need his "thunderbroom" services for a spring tour because they'd

canned the outing. Now Watt tells us that he also had to postpone a recording

session with Thurston Moore, during which the pair were scheduled to lay down a

version of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" for an upcoming compilation on the

Kill Rock Stars label.

The trouble began as 1996 was drawing to a close and

Watt's '82 Nissan was totaled in a hit and run accident outside his house.

"I've lost three vehicles to hit and runs like that, where you just walk out an

find it destroyed." says Watt. He adds wistfully, "I loved that little

fuckin' truck, too, but you just gotta let it go."

As a result of the

accident, Watt had to drive his touring van instead, but not before insuring

it, which he couldn't do over the New Year's holiday. Then the van, too,

dropped out of commission. "It rained real hard here and I got my van stuck up

in the mud at the practice pad. I had to wait till it dried out. It almost

rolled over." By the time Watt was mobile again, Moore had to leave California

before they could work on "Giant Steps."

By all indications, Feb. looks to be better. Watt heads to

New York to take part in the Knitting Factory anniversary extravaganza on the

Feb. 19, and he plans to regroup with Moore while he's there.

During his

stay, Watt will also record four songs with former Stooge Ron Ashton for a new

Don Fleming movie called Velvet Goldmine. "The band is a fictitious band

in the movie," says Watt, "Sort of like that movie Backbeat...It's like

a fake Stooges, Alice Cooper, MC5 band. And I get to play bass!"

After the

New York gig, Watt will begin practicing with Nels Cline and Steve Hodges to

record his second solo album, Contemplating the Engine Room, in April.

Engine Room is slated to hit the streets in August. April will also see

Higher Octave's release of the album by the Banyan project, featuring Watt,

Cline, Porno's Stephen Perkins, and Money Mark Nashita.

One of the good

things to come from all of Watt's hassles this past month is that he is now

primed to hit the road again in September. "I hadn't been in the van for a

year," he says, "because of touring with Porno. Man, sitting all high with the

steering wheel in my hand--it felt really good. I can't wait to tour again on

my own."