Witness the genius and evolution of this astonishingly prolific and joyously diverse bass master; Michael David Watt. You never know where this cat is coming from – he can play farther out than any other bassist I’ve heard, or he can groove in the pocket akin to the studio era icons. The tones Mike conjures from a wide array of instruments ranges from no lows to no highs to midrange perfection to fuzzed out madness and all the variations in between.
With the legendary Minutemen, Mr. Watt was a feverish proponent of punk and free jazz – to my ears his brilliance on the band’s masterpiece Double Nickels on the Dime (1984) evokes comparison to his peer Jamaaladeen Tacuma as heard with (and without) Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time. In the fIREHOSE trio Mike streamlined his bass artistry to support band-mate Ed Crawford’s pop inclinations along with his own growth as a songwriter as evidenced on the amazing collections If’n (1987) and Fromohio (1989). On his terrific solo bow Ball-Hog or Tugboat (1995), Watt was supported by a veritable who’s who roster of alt-rock superstars including Eddie Vedder, Flea, Frank Black, Dave Grohl, Henry Rollins, Pat Smear, Evan Dando, Dave Pirner, J. Mascis, and Lee Renaldo – all of whom were at the top of their respective game that year.
His work with Pornos for Pyros (Good God’s Urge, 1996) and the revamped Stooges on The Weirdness (2007) and Ready to Die (2013), and scores of collaborations and cameos with such wide ranging artists as Rickie Lee Jones to Kelly Clarkson illustrate Watt as a master at enhancing any situation that arises.