Night-clubbers are in for a musical Hellride when veteran bass guitar daredevil Mike Watt gets on board with Jane’s Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins and Porno for Pyros guitarist Peter DiStefano.
The band Hellride is scheduled to perform on Friday, January 14th, at 14 Below, 1348 14th St., Santa Monica. Tickets are $12. Ages 21 and older are admitted.
The show starts at 8 p.m., and opening acts include Silver Needle, Underwater City People and Perils of Being.
Hellride is Watt and friends’ tribute to The Stooges, the influential late-1960s/early-1970s band fronted by Iggy Pop, that is most often credited as the main influence of the punk movement that followed.
Due to his loyalty and interest as a Stooge fan and his befriending/collaborating musically with Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton, Watt was asked to play bass on the string of Stooges reunion concerts, the first reunions of the band in 30 years.
But Watt’s recent affiliation with the legendary Stooges is only the latest splash in the bucket of his 25 year tenure making independent and edgy music.
Watt has both a lingo and a bass sound all his own, a kind of comical counterculture conscious of the common man. He doesn’t play bass, he “works the thud staff.” No luxury coaches on tour with Watt. He hops in the “boat” (his van) and “jams econo.” He lives in “Pedro,” (San Pedro) the working class port city in south Los Angeles County.
Watt first became known for his anomalous early ’80s punk band The Minutemen, which released albums on the South Bay bastion of independent punk music at the time, SST Records, which was run by members of Black Flag.
Unlike the speedy, distorted hardcore sounds of many of the band’s contemporaries, The Minutemen added free-form jazz, spoken word and experimentation to the punk melange.
Watt became known for his distinctive melodic bass lines and guitarist/vocalist D. Boon’s minimal and jangly chords would leave much room for Watt’s low end thud.
The band’s career came to a tragic end on December 22nd, 1985. Just as the popularity and influence of The Minutemen had been growing, vocalist/guitarist D. Boon was killed in a car wreck.
Watt and Minutemen drummer George Hurley went through a depressed hiatus after the death of their close friend, but had a musical resurrection upon being approached by avid fan Ed Crawford with a proposition to form a band.
Hence was born fIREHOSE, which led to a contract with Columbia Records and more national acclaim.
The shaggy, flannel-touting Watt earned endless accolades from the Seattle groups like Nirvana, which came to define the rock sounds of the 1990s, boosting his stature to influential elder statesmen of alternative rock.
Knowing the affection towards Watt that the bands that broke in the 1990s had, its no surprise that his collaborators in Hellride include members of Lollapalooza favorites Jane’s Addiction and Porno for Pyros, both headed by 1990s alternative rock icon Perry Farrell.
He also did a Hellride East performance in New York with Dinosaur Jr. frontman J. Mascis.
Once fIREHOUSE disbanded in the early 1990s, Watt, released acclaimed solo albums Ball-Hog or Tugboat in 1995 and Contemplating the Engine Room in 1997.
A testament to Watt’s admiration among musicians, Ball-Hog or Tugboat featured an astounding 48 different participants including members of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, the Beastie Boys, Soul Asylum, the Lemonheads, and the Screaming Trees. The tour line-up for Watt’s first solo outing included Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder on vocals, The Germ’s Pat Smear on guitar, and Nirvana’s David Grohl on drums. Grohl’s then-new group, the Foo Fighters, delivered their very first live performances in the support slot.
Through the 1990s and to the present day, Watt sprouted a number of side projects to feed his hyperactive musical drive.
Watt performs with a guitar-less bass, bass and drums combo called called Dos with ex-Black Flag bassist Kira Roessler. Among his more tongue-in-cheek projects, he’s had a Madonna tribute band (The Madonnabes) and a punk rock karaoke band.
Watt joined the Wylde Rattz with the Stooges’ Ron Asheton, Mudhoney’s Mark Arm, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Steve Shelley to cover the Stooges’ “TV Eye” for the soundtrack to the Todd Haynes film Velvet Goldmine.
Watt’s third solo album, The Secondman’s Middle Stand, an album of five-minute jams chock full of bass scales and caustic phrases, was released last year by Sony Music Entertainment.
Hellride drummer Stephen Perkins was back in the studio with Jane’s Addiction and producers Brian Virtue and Bob Ezrin in 2003 for a reunion album titled Strays. More recently, Perkins has been playing in a band called Panic Channel, with some of his Jane’s Addiction cohorts.
Information, (310) 451-5040.