If true punk rock had any sort of hierarchy, singer-bassist Mike Watt would probably be its Johnny Cash. Often overlooked, Watt is one of rock music's finest spokesmen and punk rock's legendary Man in Flannel. Watt has crossed musical boundaries dozens of times since he, D. Boon, and George Hurley made the Reactionaries (their first band) into the Minutemen and changed punk rock's long-term possibilities forever. Unfortunately, the history-in-the-making that was the Minutemen died on a dusty highway when D. Boon perished in an automobile crash. Yet Watt came to grips with the steep challenge D. Boon had left behind -- not only for Watt and Hurley, but for rock and roll itself -- that of continuously striving to reach one's ultimate potential. Watt has remained true to that quest. Between a host of bands (fIREHOSE, Branyon, the Maddonabes, etc.) in which he has thumped out basslines to every stylistic genre, and several ambitious solo albums (1995's alt-rock all-star affair, Ball-Hog or Tugboat?
and 1997's Contemplating the Engine Room
), Watt has proven himself to be the blue-collar everyman that his music has always suggested. More recently, Watt has suffered a life-threatening bout of rampant infection in his perineum that left him laid up for several months. This time off, spent in hospitals and convalescent beds, has spawned Watt's recent life-celebrating gigs -- which he has not-so-affectionately dubbed the "Enough with the Piss Bag Tour." Taking to the road with a taut jam band in guitarist Tom Watson and drummer Vince Meghrouni, Watt is getting his health and his bass chops back the only way he knows how -- by getting in the van and taking his spiel to the people.